In fact, this email is so crucial to my ability to practice immigration law that I forwarded it to all of my staff, saved it in our firm’s electronic address book, and printed it for inclusion in the binder that sits on my desk right by my telephone. Yet, the truth is that this email makes me feel like I am a silent partner in a bit of a deception being perpetrated on the public by CIC. Let me explain. Citizenship and Immigration Canada clearly takes great public pride in the amount of information and resources it provides to the public through its website and call centre. CIC boasts that all the forms and information that you need to apply for a visa are available for free on this website. The public is told that The Government of Canada treats everyone equally, whether they use a representative or not.
CIC advises that if you choose to hire a representative, your application will not be given special attention by the immigration officer. I hate answering these questions since doing other people’s immigration work is how I make my living. People would be justified in being skeptical about my answers to these questions. But the truth is all the information you need is not really out there and, yes, in many cases a Immigration Law Office of Ronen Kurzfeld or consultant’s involvement can spell the difference between success, delay, or abject failure. The information at cic.gc.ca is general in nature and cannot possibly contemplate the infinite factual scenarios that applicants might present when applying. Furthermore, the agents at the call centre cannot and do not provide callers with legal advice. It is simply not in their mandate to do so. Instead, they give general information on the CIC lines of business provide case specific information, and accept orders for CIC publications and application kits.
In other words, they can’t tell you what you ‘should’ do when confronted with obstacles or strategic decisions to make. Also, if you encounter a problem that needs to be escalated, which is not uncommon, you will find precious little information on the CIC website as to where to direct your complaint or question. The correspondence contains the email address for every Canadian visa post overseas and the names and email addresses of the immigration program managers at each of those offices. It tells us how, and to whom, to direct case-specific enquiries to the Case Management Branch in Ottawa and when and how to follow up if we do not receive a timely reply. It provides instructions on how to direct communications relating to quality of service complaints, situations involving possible misconduct or malfeasance of immigration officers, procedures, operational and selection policy, and processing times and levels.