Five quick tips from an immigration lawyer

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You already owe Lorne Waldman $500 in fees just by glancing at his photo

So you come over from Old Blighty, check out Toronto and think, “Hmmm, think I could make a go of this.”

Next steps? Probably legal advice.

Lorne Waldman, Founder, Waldman & Associates, graciously pencilled us in for five minutes to give a few tips on hiring an immigration lawyer.

What are the pros of using an immigration lawyer?

Not as simple as it seems. If you hire a good immigration lawyer he or she can help you through the labyrinth and find ways to qualify for permanent residence status. But I have seen cases where lawyers or consultants have given bad advice and made things worse.

It also depends on the complexity of the person’s situation. If the person has a good job in Canada and can easily qualify he or she may not need a lawyer. The major con of hiring a lawyer is the expense.

Realistically, what are the costs involved and are there programs or subsidies to help with this?

The cost depends on the lawyer and the work being done. I have seen lawyers charge thousands to do a permanent resident application. Some lawyers charge by the hour and the hourly fee will usually be in the hundreds of dollars.

In immigration matters many charge a block fee which will often be in the thousands for a permanent resident application.

Legal aid will cover some types of applications — applications for refugee status and some humanitarian applications … but most services are not covered by legal aid.

What are the top mistakes immigrants make in their application process that they should avoid?

The number one mistake is that they provide inaccurate information. This can lead to the person being rejected for misrepresentation.

The second biggest mistake is filing an incomplete application. If they do then the application will be returned.

Do you have any tips to speed up the immigration process?

Make sure you qualify under whatever program you are applying. File a complete application and make sure all the information is accurate. Do not file anything that is misleading or wrong.

Are immigrants to Toronto getting a fair chance to improve their life, for example, job opportunities?

No. There are many obstacles for immigrants, especially those in the professions who often find it difficult to get licensed in their professions.

Thank you, Lorne, some honest answers there. As always, Brits in Toronto recommends getting good legal advice in whatever course of action you may decide to take.

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