FAQs – Canadian Visa & Immigration Law
Working With Us
It’s important to us that our clients hire us with the full knowledge of what they are getting. We want you to understand how our consultation structures, fees, retainer agreements, and client communication, and technological supports work. Here are answers to some of the questions you likely have about what it’s like to work with us..
Retaining the right immigration lawyer is a big decision and we want you to be confident in your choice of us. If, after exploring our website and reviewing our client testimonials, you feel we may be the right law firm for you, we recommend that you book an initial consultation with us.
We offer two initial consultation option, at which we discuss your immigration goals and issues, provide guidance, and present options, timelines, and expected fees.
- A thirty minute consultation for a fee of $100 + HST;
- A sixty minute consultation for a fee of $200 + HST.
After you book a consultation, we ask you to complete a brief online questionnaire designed to enable us to better understand your situation and your options.
Consultations are held in person, over the phone, as well as via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other video conferencing platforms, depending on our clients’ location, preference, and public health orders.
In most cases the cost of the consultation is credited towards the total cost of the legal fees.
We excel at complex immigration matters: that’s what sets us apart from most Canadian immigration practitioners. We’d still recommend that we start with an initial consultation. In complex matters, a client may benefit from an opinion letter setting out the key issues and potential outcomes. We prepare opinion letters on a flat fee basis, which we would discuss at your initial consultation.
We know our clients don’t like surprises. Frankly, neither do we. We provide services on an hourly as well as a flat fee basis.
A flat fee retainer means that a client pays a fixed fee for the service. We present this fee to you up-front at the initial consultation, and this fee will not increase.
An hourly fee retainer means that the client pays strictly for the time spent on his file. If a file takes two hours to complete, you pay for two hours. If it takes ten hours, you pay for ten. Our hourly fee varies depending on which of our lawyers or consultants is working with you.
We disclose all of our fees in detail during our initial consultation.
Absolutely. We offer both full and limited scope retainer options. Our clients can choose to have our firm handle every relevant aspect of the matter, or to just provide guidance as needed.
For example, on Express Entry related matters, a client may choose to be responsible for the completion and submission of the permanent residence application while we provide high—level guidance by reviewing the application, drafting employment letters, and answering questions related to the application process. We charge for this limited scope retainer on an hourly basis.
On a full retainer basis, in which we complete the entire application (with input from the client), we typically charge a flat fee.
Yes. A retainer agreement protects both you and us, and sets out our mutual obligations. It sets out the scope of our work, the nature of the engagement, and our fees.
The retainer agreement typically provides for an advance transfer of funds to be held in our trust account. These funds, which are intended to cover the fees of your immigration matter, are referred to as a retainer or a trust deposit. They are held in the trust account until we complete our work for you. The operation of the trust account as well as all other aspects of a lawyer’s practice are strictly regulated by the Law Society Of Ontario.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept most forms of payment including:
- Interac email transfer
- VISA, MASTERCARD
- Direct Deposit
We are client-focused and we know how important your immigration application, review or appeal is to you. We make every effort to make sure you know what’s happening every step of the way.
After we are retained, we usually provide you with access to a secure client portal.
The portal allows us to streamline the application preparation process, and to serve you in a more cost-effective way. It eliminates unnecessary and time-consuming emails for document collection. It also provides you with real-time updates.
We use technology to enhance our clients’ experience and reduce time and cost spent on routine matters, while we focus our efforts on preparing applications to the highest possible standard.
After submitting your application, we continue to stay in touch and provide Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada with any relevant updates. We notify you if additional information is required. If necessary, we provide post-approval guidance (for example, what documents should the dependent of a non-visa exempt work permit holder present at the port of entry).
Even though the file is managed via the portal, you can reach out to the lawyer handling the application at any time. We are here to help you, and we take that commitment very seriously.
Yes. We’ve been privileged to work with businesses and individuals from all six inhabited continents. We have particular expertise in US immigration matters, as well as in the challenges unique to immigrants from Latin America, India, and the former-Soviet republics.
Our staff provides support in English, Spanish, Russian, and Cantonese. We have established relationships with translators to ensure clarity in communication with all our clients, whatever their native language is.
Yes, we do. We work with entrepreneurs, employers, and business owners for whom immigration applications, whether their own or their workers, need to be a strategic part of their business goals. We have a reputation for a big picture approach. And, as business owners ourselves, we know what’s at stake for you.
For entrepreneurs who already have a business footprint in Canada, we are conveniently located in downtown Toronto, at the center of the Canadian financial and business sectors.
Find out more about our Corporate Immigration and Entrepreneur practice areas.
Pathways To Permanent Residence
There are many pathways to permanent residence and Canadian citizenship. Many immigrants come to Canada on temporary visas, through pre-arranged employment or as students. Both temporary residents and non-residents can apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry and Provincial Nominee Programs.
Completing the Express Entry program is, for many people, the first step to coming to Canada as a skilled immigrant. If you’re eligible, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will:
- place you in a pool with others who are also eligible
- give you a score and rank you using several factors
- invite you to apply to be a permanent resident of Canada
To find out if you’re eligible for the program, you can complete a 15-minute eligibility questionnaire on the IRCC website [link “questionnaire” to https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/submit-profile.html].
Or, we can discuss your qualifications during our initial consultation.
Please note: completing an online Express Entry profile doesn’t guarantee that IRCC will invite you to apply for permanent residence. It’s a competitive process, and a carefully prepared application can be the difference between success and rejection.
Find out more about Express Entry.
Provincial Nominee Programs [link to our page on PNP] are currently the fastest growing pathway to immigrating to Canada as a skilled worker. Uniquely tailored to each province’s economic needs, they allow provinces to nominate individuals for immigration.
While a PNP may be the right path for you, it’s important to know that it’s not less competitive to get permanent residency through a PNP. Once you receive a provincial nomination certificate, the permanent residence application is processed by the IRCC on the federal level. At this stage, the adjudicating officer will evaluate the applicant’s ability to become economically established in Canada as well as the intention to reside within the province/ territory that nominated them.
Again, it’s critical to present your case carefully to the decision-makers.
Find out more about the Provincial Nominee Programs.
Yes, you can but this is not necessarily advisable or necessary. Let’s talk about which path is best for you.
Canada’s Express Entry immigration system ranks candidates according to their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores. Only candidates with high scores receive invitations to apply for permanent resident status. If you are concerned that your CRS score is too low, there are several ways to boost it, including improving your language skills, taking an education program, or acquiring more Canadian work experience.
Temporary work permits are renewable under certain circumstances. In dire situations, you may be able to apply for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Let’s discuss your situation and identify your most effective options.
Find out more about H&C and TRP Applications.
Getting a student visa to obtain a post-secondary degree in Canada can serve as an effective first step towards Canadian permanent residency. The process begins with applying to and being accepted into a legitimate Canadian post-secondary institution. You must then successfully complete your program of studies. After graduation, you may apply for a post-graduation work permit, which lets you legally work in Canada for three years. After this period, there are several pathways open to you, including the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program.
The process isn’t fail-proof and it can be bumpy. Let us guide you through the process and set you up for success.
Find out more about our services for Students.
Yes, we do. We work with clients seeking refugee protection. We also have a lot of experience with applications based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Find out more about H&C and TRP Applications.
Yes, we do. One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is to reunite families as quickly as possible. A carefully prepared application maximizes the chances of approval and reduces processing times. Let’s work together so you can be together sooner.
Find out more about our Family Reunification Services.
We want to be 100% honest with you: maybe. Immigration applications may be rejected because they are incorrectly filled, because applicants or their consultants make mistakes, or because they fail to present your unique case persuasively. As immigration lawyers and dedicated advocates, we know how to present and appeal your case effectively.
But, as every reputable immigration lawyer will tell you, not all cases are appealable and not all applications are approvable. In many cases of rejected applications, we can help. If we can’t, we will honestly discuss your options with you.
Find out more about Immigration Litigation.
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