Canada is often referred to as a mosaic because of the sheer amount of people that immigrate to Canada to start a new life. Many Canadians believe that having immigrants strengthens Canada by exposing Canadians to other cultures. Toronto, in particular, is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, as 51.5% of the residents belong to a visible minority. With so many new immigrants to the city, immigration lawyers in Toronto are a necessity. Keep reading on how you can find the best immigration lawyer in Toronto!
Find The Best Immigration Lawyer In Toronto
Why Should You Immigrate To Toronto?
So, you may be considering immigrating to Toronto as you have heard about how multicultural it is. The good news is that there are plenty of other great reasons to immigrate to Toronto, here are some of the top ones!
Toronto is an economic hotspot
As Toronto is such a big city with over 2.5 million people, there are constantly jobs being created. Toronto is the business and financial capital of Canada. Thus, there are plenty of office jobs in finance, technology, business, law firms and more that immigrants can apply to.
Toronto’s highest paying industry is actually technology, as Toronto is the fourth largest tech hub for technology talent in North America. There are over 90,000 people working in technology in Toronto alone, and tech-focused jobs are constantly being created for big companies such as Google, Microsoft and Shopify. Business and finance come in at a close second for the highest paying industries in Toronto.
If you don’t have experience in those fields or are looking for a different career, there are plenty of jobs in fields such as hospitality and tourism. These are good jobs for new immigrants to have as it can be a good way to get to know the city and to meet people. You will constantly be socializing with new people from all over the city and maybe all over the world in these fields. Your immigration lawyer will be able to guide you in when you can legally work in Toronto after your arrival.
Toronto has plenty of neighbourhoods to settle in
Another benefit of immigrating to Toronto is that despite being a populated city, there is plenty of space and a variety of neighbourhoods to settle in. If you like living in a big city, living in Downtown Toronto is a great option for you to be in the heart of the action.
If you enjoy the amenities of a big city, but don’t want to be exactly in the heart of it, living in one of Toronto’s many residential neighbourhoods is a great option. Public Transport provided by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is everywhere in Toronto, so even if you are a bit further out in areas such as Scarborough or Etobicoke, you are still well-connected to the city.
Toronto also has a lot of ethnic neighbourhoods. There is a great Chinatown neighbourhood as most major cities have, but there are also neighbourhoods called Greektown, Little Italy, Korea Town, Portugal Village, Little India and more. You don’t have to be of that particular ethnicity to live in any of those neighbourhoods, as Toronto values multi-culturalism, but if you are from a specific ethnicity, you may find immigrating to a new country easier if the area is celebrating your culture. If you’re interested in Toronto real estate, remember to get in touch with a Toronto real estate agent and mortgage broker!
Toronto has a low crime rate
Despite being a big city with a big population, the crime rate in Toronto is fairly low. This can attract many new immigrants who may be seeking refuge or asylum, as they have recently left dangerous situations. Nobody wants to leave a country full of crime or danger to move to a new city full of danger as well.
The crime rate in Toronto has been continuously lowering every year; Toronto is actually the fourth safest major city in the world according to a 2017 study by The Economist, following only London, Tokyo and Seoul. This makes Toronto the safest major city in North America. So, new immigrants with families can feel safe and comfortable here.
Toronto has great amenities
Lastly, Toronto has great amenities in terms of entertainment and overall opportunities to either meet new people, start a new career or attend a great school. Toronto has some of the best post-secondary institutions in both North America and the world. Notably, the University of Toronto is the number one school in Canada and the twentieth school in the world. There are also plenty of great public elementary schools and high schools if you are planning on raising children in the city.
You won’t struggle to find something to do in Toronto, even if you live there your entire life. There are plenty of fun tourist attractions such as the CN tower, Ripley’s aquarium and the Art Gallery of Ontario. As Toronto also features Lake Ontario, there are some great beaches and lakeshore areas to walk or cycle around. There is also an island called Toronto Island where people can take a short boat ride across to for the day to walk or cycle around, have a picnic or just relax on the beach.
Meeting people in the city is extremely easy as well as Canadians are known to be friendly. Many people in Toronto may also be in a similar situation to yours as in 2016, almost half of the population were immigrants. Toronto is thus multicultural and can be super warm and accepting, so you can feel at home in the city.
Why Work With A Toronto Immigration Lawyer?
Everyone knows what a lawyer is, whether you have had to work with one before or you’ve just seen them on television and in movies. Being a lawyer is quite a popular profession with over 130,000 registered lawyers in Canada, but why is an immigration lawyer, in particular, an important specialization?
An immigration lawyer helps people who are having difficulty dealing with immigration requirements. As the requirements to immigrate to Canada become more complicated, an immigration lawyer can help make the process easier. They can provide advice and guidance for visa applications, citizenship, naturalization, deportation issues and employment advice for non-citizens.
When you think of a lawyer, you likely think of a person defending a person’s case in court. An immigration lawyer, however, does not spend much time in court. They typically act as a mediator between their clients and immigration authorities. As most new immigrants have never had to deal with immigration services, having an experienced immigration lawyer to mediate can make the situation much less stressful.
Hiring an immigration lawyer in Toronto is helpful as they will help you to interpret the law, explain your rights and guide you through every step of the immigration process. As they have to go to school for three to four years and pass the bar exam to become a lawyer, they are extremely knowledgeable. As immigration lawyers specialize in their practice, they are the best source of knowledge for any immigration laws. They will know what you can and cannot do when moving to Canada and will be able to advise you as such.
Working with an immigration lawyer is especially helpful for those who are not confident in their English skills. Learning English as a second language is hard enough; trying to learn legal jargon as well can be hard and complicated. Finding an immigration lawyer who speaks both your native language and English will help to better understand what is going on throughout your application process.
Similarly, the application process for immigrating to Canada can be long and slow. If you are missing a document or filled out something incorrectly, this will set your application back even further. An immigration lawyer will help you through every step of the application process, ensuring that all of your documents and paperwork are included and filled in properly. They have plenty of experience with the application process, so no mistakes will be made.
Working with an immigration lawyer will also help you save plenty of time. Instead of spending hours or even days researching immigration laws and trying to find all of the application forms and documents necessary, an immigration lawyer will be there to explain everything to you. An immigration lawyer can explain legal jargon in layman’s terms, ensuring that you understand the process and can proceed.
Lastly, working with an immigration lawyer can benefit those who have applied for immigration previously and been denied or those who have been deported but want to return to Canada. These situations are not uncommon, but they can be confusing to the person trying to immigrate. An immigration lawyer will help determine why an application was denied and help rectify it with a new application. Similarly, deportation is not always permanent, so an immigration lawyer can help advise the deportee on potentially reapplying to immigrate.
Choosing The Best Immigration Lawyer In Toronto
As immigrating is a big step and will end up changing your life, working with the best immigration lawyer in Toronto that you can trust is extremely important. With so many immigration lawyers to choose from, however, it can be hard to find the right one. Here are some tips to follow when choosing an immigration lawyer.
1. Talk to your family and friends
If someone in your family or social group has already immigrated to Canada or knows someone who has immigrated to Canada, talking to them is a good first step. If they have worked with an immigration lawyer, you may be able to just work with the same one. This ensures that your immigration lawyer is not only trustworthy but successful.
2. Search online for an immigration lawyer
If you don’t know anyone who has worked with an immigration lawyer before, you will just have to search for one yourself. Using the form we have included at the top of this article will help lower the need for searching yourself. Fill it out, and an immigration lawyer in Toronto will reach out to you instead! If you want to continue searching while you wait, you can look online. When you’re searching online, ensure that you are putting in specific search terms. For example, if you need an immigration lawyer that speaks a specific language, include that. So, your search may look like this: “Spanish-speaking immigration lawyers in Toronto.” The more specific you do your search, the easier it will be to narrow down your list of potential candidates.
3. Find a lawyer who specializes in immigration law
Many lawyers take on different types of law, especially when they’re just starting out. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the saying “Jack of all trades and master of none” may fit here. If a lawyer practices different types of law while also practicing immigration law, they will not be an expert in any. Immigration laws are always changing, and you need to find a lawyer who is up to date and is an expert in immigration law to ensure you have the best chance possible.
4. You get what you pay for
Immigrating to a new country is expensive, even without paying for a lawyer’s fees. Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing a lawyer, the most expensive ones tend to be the best as they have a lot of experience under their belt. Some “factory firms” will take on a client, but delegate their case to consultants, assistants or paralegals rather than deal with it themselves. This saves the firm money as they can take on multiple clients at a time. In turn, this means that with a factory firm, you will not be getting personal, experienced attention. “Shopping around” for an immigration lawyer within your budget that also has good experience is encouraged.
5. Meet with or research multiple immigration lawyers
Part of “shopping around” for the best immigration lawyer in Toronto for you consists of meeting with multiple immigration lawyers. Though you may not be able to meet with them in person as they are likely in Canada and you will not be yet, you can reach out to a variety of immigration lawyers via email or phone. They will likely not be available for a free chat, so you will need to book a consultation with them instead. A consultation can be expensive though, anywhere from $150 to $600 for a 15 to 20-minute meeting. If this is not a fee you can afford, researching them or using our included form to get a trustworthy immigration lawyer to contact you instead is the next best way to find an immigration lawyer and get to know them. Clients of the immigration lawyer will likely have left reviews of them on their website, Google Maps or even Yelp. If you can, reach out to past clients to get their personal take on working with the immigration lawyer.
6. Check if your potential immigration lawyer is licensed
Once you have talked to or researched a few immigration lawyers, the next best step to take is to check if the immigration lawyer is licensed to practice immigration law in Canada. Immigration consultants must be a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. Similarly, all lawyers must be a member of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society. Paralegals in Ontario only must be members of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Members of these councils and societies are all public knowledge. Any individual looking to hire an immigration lawyer should first check to see if the lawyer is a member of these groups. If they are not in good standing, you should not use their services. Even if they were previously an experienced immigration lawyer, you should only work with a current, licensed immigration lawyer.
7. Understand the difference between an immigration lawyer and an immigration consultant
We have only been discussing what an immigration lawyer is, not an immigration consultant. In Canada, a person can become an immigration consultant by completing a course and an exam to receive a certification. This can be done typically within a year. An immigration lawyer, on the other hand, needs to attend law school for three years and pass the bar exam to become a lawyer. Many law programs also require that students already have an undergraduate degree, but immigration consultants don’t have the same requirement. This means that immigration lawyers typically have much more schooling and experience practicing law. As immigration consultants are not lawyers, they cannot represent you in court if need be, only immigration lawyers can. While an immigration consultant may be good for some people, some of the biggest cases of fraud and misrepresentation come from immigration consultants. As the stakes are high when trying to immigrate to Canada, it is best not to risk your case and just work with an immigration lawyer who you know is experienced.
8. Discuss fees and conditions beforehand
Discussing money and fees you will be responsible for can be an awkward conversation, but it needs to happen. A lawyer will typically give their client a retainer agreement to sign. This is a contract that describes the fees and services they perform. Before you sign this agreement, make sure you read it carefully. If there is something you disagree with or something you need clarification on, ask your lawyer before signing. Once you sign, you agree to their terms, and they cannot be changed.
Questions You Can Ask Your Toronto Immigration Lawyer
Once you’ve spent your time researching and finding the best immigration lawyer in Toronto for you, what comes next? In your initial meeting, you should get all your questions out to ensure you know what will happen next. This is the time for both you and your immigration lawyer to get to know each other better to work together effectively. Here are some questions you should ask your immigration lawyer if you don’t already know the answers.
What is my process for becoming a Canadian citizen?
We’ve already discussed the many different avenues an individual can take to become a Canadian citizen, so your situation may be different than your mom’s or sister’s. Once you explain your situation and what you want to move to Canada for, your immigration lawyer will be able to better explain what avenue you will take to become a citizen. Be it via sponsorship, a work visa or maybe a student visa. Your immigration lawyer should also explain that you need to first be a permanent resident in Canada for at least three years before you can even apply for citizenship, so you should factor this into your future plans.
If you don’t already know, ask who is representing you
If you signed on to work with a law firm, you might not know which immigration lawyer is representing you specifically. You may have an initial meeting with one lawyer, but find out later that is not the lawyer who will be representing you. It’s okay to ask who will be representing you so you can direct your questions towards them instead as they will know your case the best. If you are working with a law firm and you are not comfortable with the immigration lawyer they assigned you, it is also okay to ask for another one.
Ask your immigration lawyer how often you will talk
Your immigration lawyer will be dealing with multiple clients at once, likely in situations similar to your own. As immigration applications can take months, even years, you may not hear from your immigration lawyer very often. So when you first meet them, ask them how often they will contact you and if they are okay with you contacting them within their hours. If it makes you more comfortable, you could suggest weekly or monthly updates from your immigration lawyer to ensure you are kept in the loop.
Create an estimated timeline with your immigration lawyer
As your immigration lawyer has likely worked with plenty of clients with similar cases to yours, they should know a rough timeline for how long your application will take to be processed. Although it’s just an estimate, creating a timeline for yourself will help you to better plan your future and your potential move. You can also ask your immigration lawyer how likely they think it is that your case will be successful. They will not be able to give you a definite answer as every case is different, but they can probably gauge the success of your application based on others they have processed. Just remember to not be discouraged, your immigration lawyer will do everything they can to help you successfully immigrate and become a Canadian citizen in Toronto if that’s your end goal.