Immigration

Carvajal enjoying satellite office in Colombia

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

Toronto immigration lawyer Andrew Carvajal says he’s made great progress opening a satellite office in Colombia to serve those interested in emigrating to Canada.

Carvajal, partner with Desloges Law Group, opened the office in his native Colombia as a way of reaching out more directly to clients and building trust.

“Unfortunately, unlicensed immigration consultants have defrauded many people here,” he says. “So, trust is an issue.”

By hosting seminars and travelling to meet people, Carvajal says he’s building his brand as a fully qualified Canadian immigration lawyer with the knowledge and the infrastructure of a Toronto office.

“It’s been going really well,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “The plan was to come down and establish the office — and partly to avoid winter in Canada. I will be back in Toronto for spring, summer and early fall before returning to Colombia.”

Carvajal says much of his time has been spent travelling and meeting people face-to-face.

“It’s helpful because there’s a fear of fraud. It seems there’s a story in Canada every week here about someone being defrauded, even by licensed immigration consultants — that’s why people appear eager to meet us,” he says.

While many referrals were from former and current clients, they’re now coming from the meetings and seminars he’s been hosting, and that’s a giant step forward, Carvajal says.

“They’re also hearing about us on social media. Of course, thanks to technology, I have my regular flow of work for clients in our office in Toronto that I can handle down here as well.”

He had hoped to work in some other Latin American countries but hasn’t made it to Peru or Ecuador, yet. And while he’s been to Mexico in the past, it also remains on his to-do list.

“We are attracting all kinds of people,” Carvajal says. “Some are students who want to go to Canada for a university program, while others are professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. And then there are those with post-secondary education or skills such as cooks or tradespeople.”

Entrepreneurs, looking to expand operations to reach new markets in Canada, also make up many of his prospective clients, he adds.

“However, I think the most common thing I hear is that they want to raise their kids in Canada,” Carvajal says. “They tell me they’re doing OK, but it’s difficult, even for professionals, to make ends meet here. They really want to move so their children can embrace the opportunities Canada can offer.”

He says all of them are aware of our potentially brutal Canadian winters and they still want to come.

“I think understanding winter is always theoretical until you actually get to Canada and experience one,” says Carvajal.

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