The benefits of hiring an immigration lawyer

By Rob Lamberti, Contributor

Using a lawyer instead of an immigration consultant increases the likelihood of success in visa applications, says Pickering family and immigration lawyer Angela Princewill.

“There are fantastic consultants, no doubt, but going through the rigorous process of law school, the courts and years of analytical training and thinking, makes a huge difference in the way lawyers approach a problem,” says Princewill, principal of AP Lawyers.

She tells that lawyers can argue cases at the Federal Court level and beyond, whereas consultants are limited to tribunals.

“We hear from the judges, and we’re the ones who are shaping some of these decisions,” says Princewill. “I feel there are many factors that contribute to our success, including education and the legal analysis skills that we’ve developed over many years.”

A recent Toronto Star story outlines a survey which shows that lawyers are more successful in the application process.

“Because lawyers are able to practise in every aspect of immigration law — as opposed to consultants — our firm starts with the end in mind,” Princewill says. “We have dealt with hearings at the federal court and the appeals level, so we know how to analyze case law.”

That experience remains at the back of a lawyer’s mind even while preparing what seems to be “a simple application,” she says.

“We know how critical not dotting that ‘i’ can be,” Princewill says.

And, she says, clients have access to a lawyer’s entire office, with all its experience when applying for entry to Canada.

Princewill says if an application has errors, her firm works on it as long as it takes to have it properly prepared.

“Part of the reason we have such a high success rate is because we’ve analyzed cases that have been rejected,” she says. “That’s how seriously we take our obligations.”

Hiring a lawyer is essential for more difficult cases, like when a criminal record is involved or when someone has been previously denied, says Princewill.

“That’s where our training would come in,” she says. “The way a lawyer's mind looks at a problem is entirely different than most. I work with consultants, and I work with lawyers, and I see the difference.

“With that backdrop in mind, it sets the way we approach the process, and that is why we have the end in our sights. Knowing a case could go all the way to the Federal Court, you are aware, from the very first step, that you need to cross your t’s and dot those i’s.”

It may cost more to hire a lawyer but Princewill argues the expense is well worth it.

“What’s the cost of a refusal worth to you?” she asks, adding applicants could lose valuable time and possible job placements if a student visa is denied.

“That could cost more than any legal fees,” says Princewill.

“The consequences can be more significant when it involves family. Overcoming a refusal is possible, but it could take two to three years. What is it worth to you to have your family join you in Canada?”

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