Applying for permanent residency in Canada: seeking help/advice
June 16, 2016 5:11 PM   Subscribe

I recently had to move to Canada for work, and now I need to apply for permanent residency. Even though my employer got me legal help, I'm totally overwhelmed. Are there any services or professionals, or even just good books or websites, designed to help people navigate this process in an efficient way?

I recently had to move to Canada for work, and now I need to apply for permanent residency. My employer has provided me with lawyers, so at least I don't have to pay the legal fees. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed by all errands, labor, paperwork, etc. involved with the immigration process.

I started to wonder: are there any services or professionals, or even just good websites, designed to help people navigate this process in an efficient way? My lawyer's office just sends me massive, undigested emails without giving me much guidance about particulars: for instance, they say I need to take one of two language tests (CELPIP or IELTS), but they don't tell me if there are any important differences between the two tests, or which is best. So I wonder if there are any services or resources that can help me with this information. I also wonder if there are any estimates available anywhere to help me figure out the amount of time I might have to spend before all this is resolved: I think I would feel less overwhelmed if I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it's very very far off.

I'd be willing to spend real money to hand some of this stuff off to someone else, if such a service exists. Or is it just that my employer's lawyers are extremely hands-off, and that other lawyers might be more helpful or directive in getting me through this process? I know that immigration is always challenging and difficult, but I'd be interested in any thoughts or advice at all about how to make it a little bit less of a struggle. Thanks for any advice you all have.
posted by lotf629 to Law & Government (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you located? There are specific non-profit agencies, funded by the federal government, that provide services to immigrants. For example, SUCCESS in Vancouver will likely help with the paperwork. In Victoria my wife as a matter of fact got some step-by-step help from ICA to complete some complicated paperwork to do with a PR card.

I used to volunteer at a similar organization as a job coach, and I know for a fact that orgs like SUCCESS and ICA are located in nearly every Canadian city. So if you let us know your location I can do a search and come up with an example.
posted by My Dad at 6:30 PM on June 16, 2016

You can also book a one-time consultation for $250 with an immigration lawyer who can help fill in the blanks. I would recommend going to a mid-tier full-service retail law firm for this, rather than an immigration specialist.
posted by My Dad at 6:32 PM on June 16, 2016

In some cases your lawyer might not be providing more information because the answers you're looking for don't exist - for example, there is no advantage of one English test over the other. They both test your verbal and written proficiency and are not weighted differently in the evaluation.

I have now worked a couple people through the Canadian immigration process and watched countless others go through it. Unless your case is particularly complicated or your English makes the forms difficult to navigate, lawyers often add little value, and some are pretty awful.

While they aren't official opinions I actually find immigration forums such as this one to be the most helpful since people tend to share tips they've gotten from lawyers.
posted by scrute at 7:04 PM on June 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

You asked about professionals and services - just wanted to drop in to recommend that you definitely avoid immigration consultants. They often charge more (sometimes way more) than immigration lawyers but are far less regulated.
posted by lookoutbelow at 8:43 PM on June 16, 2016

Regarding the IELTS vs CELPIP, I haven't taken the latter, but the first was really easy and actually rather fun if you're a proficient English speaker/reader/writer.
posted by peacheater at 5:21 AM on June 17, 2016

Thanks, everyone! These answers were really helpful. I appreciate all the advice and information.
posted by lotf629 at 3:08 PM on June 28, 2016

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