Are Canadian Immigration Consultants Worth It? Part 3

How Do I Find a Good Canadian Immigration Consultant?

It’s important to feel confident in the Immigration Consultant (RCIC) you choose when investing in this type of support. You may be working with this person for a while (months or years) and finding a good fit is important.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing an immigration consultant:

1. Qualifications

  • First and foremost, is the person you’re hiring authorized to provide Canadian immigration legal advice? Make sure you verify the status of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant before you hire them. Lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society and notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec are also authorized to provide immigration legal services.
  • International student recruiters and foreign worker recruiters are not authorized to provide immigration legal advice unless they’re also one of the professionals listed above.
  • Unfortunately, there are many people (usually outside Canada) who illegally provide immigration advice and services for a fee. They’re often referred to as “ghost consultants” but don’t be fooled – these people are not immigration consultants at all! If they are not one of the professionals listed in the first point, do not hire them or pay them any fees!
Be aware of all the risks

2. Specialization

  • Ask questions about the amount of experience your consultant has in the program to which you’re applying, their success rate, and if they’ve managed similar cases to yours.
  • Does the immigration consultant have experience in your specific industry, if you’re an employer or worker?
  • If you have past refusals, a criminal record, medical condition or other unique situation, has your consultant successfully helped other clients overcome similar situations in the past? Ask how they would approach your case (in a paid consultation, of course, because RCICs have made significant investments to build their knowledge base and expertise in niche areas).

3. Expertise

  • How many years of experience does your immigration consultant have. The Dunning-Kreuger effect is significant in this industry; you simply don’t know what you don’t know. Consultants with more years of experience have been exposed to a wider variety of situations and challenges that help shape the strategies and recommendations they make.
  • Does your immigration consultant work for a firm with multiple RCICs? Multiple RCICs working together may have more exposure to and experience with a wider variety of situations that might help your immigration consultant develop the strongest strategy for you. It also means you have the power of a collective body of resources and knowledge to serve you as best as possible.
  • Don’t be mistaken – we are not suggesting that solo practitioners and newer RCICs aren’t qualified to help you! RCICs are, generally, a very supportive profession committed to the success of our collective clients (you – the person or organization navigating Canadian immigration systems and programs!). Ask your immigration consultant about their network and mentors.

4. Business Process

  • This might seem like an odd one – why would you care what systems and processes your immigration consultant has in place. Trust us – it’s important! Ask your immigration consultant about the tools they use to track the progress on your case, the systems they have in place to monitor deadlines and the standard operating procedures they’ve established to ensure you have the best customer experience possible. These are all essential to your success.
  • Immigration consultants collect a significant amount of personal data which could be used in malicious ways if compromised or stolen. Ask your immigration consultant how they protect your data.

5. Marketing and Sales Tactics

  • Avoid any immigration consultant who promises results, suggests your application will get priority processing if it’s represented by them or accepts payment upon approval (this is illegal). In fact, run the opposite direction at the suggestion of any of the above.
  • Be skeptical if an immigration consultant says they can make the process easy, quick, or stress-free. An excellent immigration consultant will be committed to setting realistic expectations, not overpromising and even be willing to say what you might not want to hear. There are a lot of factors outside the control of your immigration consultant (the rules, the process, the timeline, the decision) and a productive relationship with your immigration consultant depends on honesty, transparency, and setting realistic expectations.
    • You’ll notice in Parts 1 and 2 of this blog, we mention that immigration consultants can make your journey easier, faster and less stressful. This is true – but no one can guarantee it will be easy, stress-free or that your application will receive priority processing if you hire an immigration consultant.
  • Avoid fear mongering. Don’t let an immigration consultant scare you into hiring them. There are plenty of immigration consultants out there focused on attracting their ideal customers, the ones who choose to hire them because they are confident the immigration consultant can bring significant value to their lives.

6. Gut Feeling

  • At the end of the day, do you feel like your immigration consultant is the best person to help you reach your goals? Do you feel like you’re going to receive more value than your monetary investment? Does the person seem like someone who is trustworthy, transparent, honest, empathetic, and caring? Your instinct is a powerful thing – follow it! Even if it means choosing an immigration consultant that isn’t the cheapest – if it feels right, it’s probably worth it!

So, is it actually worth hiring a Canadian Immigration Consultant?

It’s totally up to you to decide what’s worth your investment or not. Immigration consultants can help you navigate your Canadian immigration journey with more ease, greater success and less stress. RCICs offer immense value by bringing clarity to the process and requirements, providing personalized and strategic advice, and explaining how the systems and processes work in practice.

Immigration consultants have experience, knowledge and insights that can help you reach your immigration goals. Think about it like a recipe: you might have no problem finding the list of ingredients yourself but, without the steps, it’s unlikely you’re going to create something Gordon Ramsay approved. An RCIC can help you assemble the ingredients and create a culinary masterpiece (aka a thorough and well-prepared application that is poised for success), avoiding Ramsay’s wrath (aka reducing your risk of refusal!).

Written on March 5, 2024 by Brooke Finlay

Read Part 1 of this series and learn more about who is an RCIC and for what reasons you should consider working with one.

Part 2, “How Much Does a Canadian Immigration Consultant Cost?” is available HERE