Immigrating to a new country is a major decision for immigrants, and choosing the right immigration attorney or immigration agent is very crucial, whether it for studying abroad, working abroad, doing business abroad, or moving permanently to a new country.
Before hiring an immigration lawyer, you must decide whether you need an immigration consultant at all. Some countries have a very straightforward migration process and easy-to-understand immigration rules.
Also, the immigration department of most countries are very friendly, whether you are immigrating to the UK, US, Canada, the Middle East, Australia or New Zealand.
It is always useful to have a chat with an immigration officer of the country you are migrating to. Some countries have a very helpful website with plenty of information. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a very extensive website which can be very valuable.
Familiarise yourself with the immigration rules and processes on these websites. Complete online assessment forms to see whether you qualify for a student visa or work visa or permanent residency. Find out all the documents that will be required for getting a visa.
If your case is straightforward, you may not need an immigration lawyer who are very expensive to hire. The money saved can be very useful during the initial stages of settlement.
Of course, you may get overwhelmed by the immigration documentation, processes and the uncertainty involved in your visa application being processed. This can be very stressful and you may want to hire a competent immigration attorney.
Here are a few tips that will help you find a good immigration lawyer, whether you are in the US (Miami, Atlanta, California), Canada, India, New Zealand or Australia.
1. References: Ask your friends and family who may have used an immigration consultant/attorney. You will be surprised to know how many people would have stories to share about their immigration lawyer.
2. If this does not help, then look up the yellow pages and contact a few immigration attorneys near you. Ask them for references, and speak to their past client to know what their experience. Ask a few immigration lawyers about their experience with your type of case. Find out how many years they have been helping immigrants.
3. Make sure the attorney is registered with a relevant industry body or legal establishment. Most countries require immigration lawyers to be registered with a government governing body. Speak to the immigration department of the country you want to migrate to. They can guide you about the registration and legislative requirements of that country for immigration attorneys. They may even be able to point you to the official website of the governing body.
4. Money: Find out the fees of a few immigration lawyers. Remember, just because an immigration agent is more expensive, does not mean he is good. At the same time, the cheapest immigration agent may not have the expertise for your work. But you must shop around. Find out the terms of payment too.
5. Attitude: Find out the working style of the immigration attorney. It is important that you feel comfortable working with this agent.
6. Finally, find out what the immigration lawyer is promising. If he sounds too good to be true, he probably is. Don’t get carried away by unrealistic promises – whether it is about the success of your case or the time frames. In fact, that is a dead give away of a fraudulent immigration lawyer. As they say in the law circle, Buyer Beware.