If you’re looking for legal advice and help with your immigration procedure, you will either go to an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant. You’re probably wondering if you even need one and, if yes, what is the difference between the two.
To simplify things, there are two types of professionals who are qualified and allowed to represent you in front of the immigration authorities. Immigrations lawyers and licenced immigration consultants are your go-to. The government mandates private organizations, such as provincial law societies to regulate the legal profession and provide licenses to lawyers. Each province will have its own separate provincial lawyer regulating body.
Whereas immigration consultants are regulated by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). CICC is a private organisation that has been mandated by the Council to regulate immigration consultants.
Both the occupation and titles, an immigration lawyer and immigration consultant are licensed and self-regulated, with oversight by the government. In this article, you will understand what an immigration lawyer and immigration consultant do exactly. So, let’s get started!
What is an immigrant consultant?
Immigration consultants are legally authorised to represent you. They study a one-year course that specialises in immigration law. With the certification of said course, they can start practising this as a profession. To be eligible for this course, the applicant should have finished their undergraduate degree (the stream of their undergraduate degree does not hold importance). Immigration consultants can help ease your immigration process and make it much more convenient without complications.
Having discussed all the training that immigration consultants go through, they are well-versed with the language and can help you figure out your immigration status step by step.
What Is An Immigrant Lawyer?
To begin with, immigrant lawyers are attorneys of the law that studied in law school. This means that their knowledge and expertise are not limited to the boundaries of immigrant/migration law. Having said this, some immigration lawyers may have an upper hand in assisting you with your immigration process with their skills and experience.
Keeping their undergraduate studies and law school experience aside, they also serve as interns in immigration law offices. They serve in immigration law offices to sharpen their skills that can prove valuable if they decide to specialise in fields like immigration law. If your case is under judicial review, your immigration lawyer can represent you in court.
If an immigration consultant is representing you, they can only take you up to the appeal tribunal level (such as the Immigration Refugee Board).
So, what is the difference between an immigration consultant and an immigration lawyer?
Very evidently, the main difference between the two professional titles is education. Immigration lawyers go through rigorous training before they obtain their licenses. A three-year law degree has to be secured often with serving time as an articled clerk in an immigration law office. To enter law school and be a part of it, you need to have finished your undergraduate degree. This shows us how much effort it takes to become a lawyer. A total of roughly seven years are spent by an individual who targets to become an immigration lawyer.
On the other hand, an immigration consultant typically has less requirements to fulfill. They must finish a college program for the span of 6 months or one year, and they need not serve as an articled clerk in an immigration law office.
It is safe to say, after close consideration, as a group immigration lawyers would possess more education and may possess more experience, knowledge than immigration consultants, particularly those immigraton lawyers who have studied this niche in-depth and who have a better understanding of the law.
Chaudhary Law office has an experienced immigration lawyers in Toronto. If this move is stressing you out and you feel overwhelmed, book yourself a free consultation and take some steam off!