In the new year of 2017, we found out that it was possible to get a Canadian Permanent Residency without having worked or lived in Canada before. As all prospective immigrants, we were super ecstatic and could not wait to find out more.
We logged onto the CIC website, and for some reason, call it height of enthusiasm, we were too impatient to sit through and understand the process. It all felt too overwhelming.
This is where we made one of the biggest mistakes of our immigration journey. We signed up with a consultant.
Canada PR Consultant Wants Money
Immigration is a HUGE business opportunity. People are ready to pay lakhs of rupees or thousands of dollars for “Information”.
Since this is an official Govt. process, and there are so many rules and requirements, most folk think it easier to simply outsource the task to an agency, hoping that by trading cash they could score a prestigious permanent residency.
Less effort on the consultants part, but higher payouts. The margin is fantastic. Plus, the demand for immigration isn’t every going to reduce.
In the past, many consultants have misused their position to swindle people out of their money by either wrongfully hoarding their application credentials, or charging them heavily without delivering any results.
But thankfully, the Federal Govt. has since taken many steps to ensure that consultants going forward are certified by ICCRC.
I’d like to believe that there are some great consultancies out there really meaning to help people. But the fact still exists that owing to this massive demand, it’s easy for consultants to make quick money.
Here’s our experience of meeting a particularly unhelpful one:
Free Assessment By Agent Is a Mindwash
The first time you meet a consultancy, they will offer to do a “Free Assessment” of your profile to let you know what your chances are. So we went through the same. After taking a highly professional online survey on a Salesforce CRM system, we were sent some email confirmations and elaborate print outs of the assessment.
Following this, we were asked to wait for an immigration consultant, who would explain the entire process to us and let us know what our chances are. Our consultant came in shortly later, and we moved to a professional meeting space.
We started with pleasantries, talked a little bit about our background, and motivations. And then our consultant took us through the entire process in about 5 mins. The entire thing from eligibility to PR in a lightning fast 10 min sermon. I guess this is where we were at fault.
With no research of our own, we simply blinked and nodded along. As the consultant continued with her sales pitch, we were completely bought into it. For whatever reason, my wife and I decided to simply go with it.
Signing Agent Contract is a Trap
When we agreed to sign up, we were presented with a legal contract that had many many pages of information on how we were sharing information for sake of immigration, and the agency is not responsible for the outcome.
No refunds. No tiered payments. This should have thrown up red flags, but we thought nothing of it at the time.
We made the lump sum payment, signed a legal notarized contract, and began our process.
This is where the agency said someone would be contacting soon to begin the process. A week went by and nothing. We had to call them back to understand what was happening. They apologized and said their consultant would reach out. Turns out that it was someone based out of a different city.
Throughout the process, he was our only point of contact. He would begin by giving us information via phone and email and started giving us directions on what needed to be done.
We began realizing that all the documentation work was something we had to do on our own, and the consultant would only advise us remotely.
It wasn’t until things started looking funny that we actually sat down and understood the process. It suddenly became clear to us that the outcome of our PR application heavily depended on how much we score in IELTS and how our credential assessment would go.
This gave us sleepless nights considering how much money we had already spent, and how less informed we were.
This is important because at that time, the cut-offs were the highest they had been. And we had to score the absolute highest to get an invite. One of the worst feelings you could have on your PR journey is this sense of uncertainty when the process is so little known.
We eventually took a call to have my wife take an IELTS too to maximize our scores, and finally got our ITA. This was the time again when we were told that the consultant would stop helping us after ITA as we needed to pay additional fees for the documentation.
Burnt by our last experience, we decided to do this by ourselves. Spent some time on the website meticulously understood the process, looked at other people’s experiences online and got everything done on time. And that’s our biggest learning from the process.
If you could spend only a little time to understand the process then this is best done by yourself.
If you have a complex case, and your immigration options are not so clear, you can consider reaching out to an authorized ICCRC certified consultant. But be sure to vet them thoroughly, and only proceed if your case absolutely needs professional help.