When I checked my inbox this morning I discovered a pretty critical e-mail from an organization of immigration specialists which I belong to.
In truth, this e-mail is so important to my potential to practice immigration law that I forwarded it to all of my employees, saved it in our firm’s electronic address book, and printed it for inclusion in the binder that sits on my desk appropriate by my phone.
But, the truth is that this e-mail tends to make me really feel like I am a silent companion in a bit of a deception becoming perpetrated on the public by CIC. Let me clarify.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada clearly requires fantastic public pride in the quantity of information and facts and sources it gives to the public by way of its web-site and get in touch with centre. CIC boasts that “All the types and information and facts that you require to apply for a visa are accessible for absolutely free on this web-site.”
As a result, it really is no wonder that in the website’s FAQ, the answer to the query: “Do I require an immigration representative to support me apply?” is a “no.”
The public is told that “The Government of Canada treats everybody equally, whether or not they use a representative or not.”
Will your case be processed far more rapidly if you employ a representative? CIC advises that “If you select to employ a representative, your application will not be provided particular consideration by the immigration officer.”
Is this actually accurate? Is all the information and facts you require actually out there? Do you require a lawyer? Would it make any distinction if you have one particular? Place a further way: are folks who are employing lawyers and consultants to deal with their immigration applications just throwing away their income?
I hate answering these inquiries considering that carrying out other people’s immigration operate is how I make my living. Men and women would be justified in becoming sceptical about my answers to these inquiries.
But the truth is “all the information and facts you require” is not actually out there and, yes, in lots of circumstances a lawyer or consultant’s involvement can spell the distinction among accomplishment, delay, or abject failure.
The information and facts at cic.gc.ca is common in nature and can not possibly contemplate the infinite factual scenarios that applicants may well present when applying. Moreover, the agents at the get in touch with centre can not and do not present callers with legal suggestions. It is just not in their mandate to do so. Alternatively, they give “common information and facts on the CIC lines of enterprise… present case particular information and facts, and accept orders for CIC publications and application kits.”
In other words, they can not inform you what you ‘should’ do when confronted with obstacles or strategic choices to make.
Also, if you encounter a trouble that requires to be escalated, which is not uncommon, you will uncover valuable tiny information and facts on the CIC web-site as to exactly where to direct your complaint or query.
Not so with immigration specialists.
The e-mail I received this morning is an update of CIC’s protocol on how immigration specialists must direct their queries. The correspondence includes the e-mail address for each and every Canadian visa post overseas and the names and e-mail addresses of the immigration system managers at each and every of these offices. It tells us how, and to whom, to direct case-particular enquiries to the Case Management Branch in Ottawa and when and how to adhere to up if we do not acquire a timely reply. It gives guidelines on how to direct communications relating to excellent of service complaints, scenarios involving doable misconduct or malfeasance of immigration officers, procedures, operational and choice policy, and processing occasions and levels.
To my know-how, this information and facts is not shared with members of the public. CIC’s failure to publicise this information and facts does not reflect preferential remedy for these who are represented. Alternatively, it is just an acknowledgement that immigration specialists do, and have constantly, played a important part in producing an overburdened and below-resourced system function at all (if not function effectively).
Sharing this information and facts with the public would outcome in an avalanche of correspondence becoming directed at senior officials who are spread out so thinly that they could under no circumstances get any other operate accomplished.
It is accurate that, except in exceptional and deserving circumstances, hiring a lawyer or consultant can not get an application moved from the back of the line to the front of the line. Also, an officer will not approve an applicant who is not certified just mainly because he or she is represented. Nevertheless, it is also accurate that an truthful and seasoned representative will not clog up the technique by submitting an application that just will not fly.
Moreover, specialists who specialize in this region know the procedure and know how to steer clear of errors that lead to delays. They know how to sift by way of mounds of convoluted details and effectively and convincingly document and present the salient ones in order to establish the basis for the approval of the application rapidly and effectively.
CIC does not like to acknowledge the constructive part lawyers and consultants play in producing its bureaucracy operate for the public. It is loath to see us as partners in delivering the immigration strategy it is provided annually by Canada’s immigration minister of the day.
That is ok… this morning’s e-mail is all the acknowledgement I require.