Alex – Canadian Immigration Advisor

Alex Khadempour is a licensed immigration advisor based in Canada. He is the Managing Director of CICS Immigration Consulting Inc. and has been serving the immigration industry since 2007.

Alex’s family came from Iran and immigrated to Canada in 1986. Building a new life in Canada was not easy, even for Alex’s family. His journey to becoming an immigration advisor started when his father, who left for Dubai to sustain their life in Canada, started creating relationships with fellow foreigners by engaging in conversations about immigration processes. These simple discussions made his father decide to go back to Vancouver and start his immigration firm.

Alex studied Graphics Animation, which seems far from his career now, worked with his father on marketing their immigration firm. His decision to commit to being an immigration advisor was encouraged when his father offered him a job in his immigration firm.

With the increase of interest that people worldwide are giving towards immigrating to Canada, it is certainly not easy to be qualified for a visa in Canada. In this episode, Alex described the competition around Canada’s immigration system as very challenging and demanding. 

Alex talks about the point system in qualifying for a visa in Canada, the costs of immigrating, and even gave numerous tips that will significantly help those who plan to enter Canada. As an immigration advisor as well as an immigrant, Alex looks at his profession as a great platform to reach out to people and help them build a new life in a new country.

Get in touch with Alex

CICS Website

LinkedIn

Email

Listen to the podcast

You can listen and subscribe to this show on Apple PodcastDeezerStitcher, Google PodcastSpotify, YouTube, and Radio Public.

Be on the show

 If you want to be on this show, you can visit emigrantslife.com/yourstory 

Support the podcast

The best way to support the show is to give us a review on Apple Podcast or Podchaser; it’s free and it will help the show growing and reach more people.

 

Thanks for listening!

Daniel De Biasi

Get in touch with Alex

CICS Website

LinkedIn

Email

 

Listen to the podcast

You can listen and subscribe to this show on Apple PodcastDeezerStitcher, Google PodcastSpotify, YouTube, and Radio Public.

Be on the show

 If you want to be on this show, you can visit emigrantslife.com/yourstory 

Support the podcast

The best way to support the show is to give us a review on Apple Podcast or Podchaser; it’s free and it will help the show growing and reach more people.

 

Thanks for listening!

Daniel De Biasi

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Show Notes

  • Requirements to become an immigration consultant [3:41]
  • The reason he chose to be an immigration consultant [4:55]
  • Immigrating to Canada [6:33]
  • Working with his father’s immigration firm [10:11]
  • Being hooked with the immigration industry [11:12]
  • The difficulty of being an immigration advisor [13:54]
  • Importance of having an immigration advisor [15:29]
  • Finding the right immigration advisor [17:27]
  • ICCRC (Licensed Immigration Lawyers) [18:15]
  • Reasons why people fail the immigration process [19:42]
  • Express entry [20:30]
  • The point system around the Canadian immigration system [23:25]
  • Canada’s demand for foreign skilled workers [25:19]
  • Canada’s competitive economy [27:02]
  • Shifting of countries [27:02]
  • Canada’s approach toward immigrants [29:01]
  • The crucial part of planning to immigrate to Canada [30:20]
  • Advantage of being an international student in Canada [32:06]
  • The essentials to qualify for a Canadian visa [33:31]
  • Express Entry pool [34:09]
  • Finding the right person to help with the immigration process [37:11]
  • Costs of applying for Express Entry [38:29]
  • Advice for immigrating to Canada [39:54]
  • Planning for a permanent residency [42:39]
  • More tips for immigrating to Canada [45:10]
 

Links

Alex 0:01

You find a lot of people are like, Oh, I'm at a point in my life that I'm ready to emigrate. And, you know, they say, Okay, well, I'm ready. I have a good career. I've saved up some money. I've got a young family now and I move to Canada, then they get all excited. And unfortunately, sometimes I have to break the bad news to them. I feel like you should be in Canada but our immigration system is so competitive. If you lose just a few points, then you just don't have a chance.

Daniel 0:31

Hi, everyone, and welcome to Episode number 21 of the Emigrant's Life podcast, where we share stories of people left their country to chase a better life. I'm Daniel De Biasi. And this episode is a bit different. As you probably know, the goal of this podcast is not just sharing inspiring stories of immigrants. It's also to provide you with tips and resources if you're planning to move to a new country. This week, I'm thrilled to have a a Canadian immigration adviser on the show. Alex helped me to get my work permit when I moved to Canada. To giving you a bit of context, I came to Canada in 2018 on a working holiday visa. If you come from Italy, you only allowed to work for up to six months. So when I finally found a job and a sponsor, I started to apply for a work permit. In the past, I did all my application myself. So I tried to do the same here in Canada. But I found it impossible to navigate through all the information I found on the internet. I contacted some immigration advisor, and their prices were between $5,900 to $6,000 for the same application, I finally found a lawyer who was doing it for a reasonable price. In the middle of the application, the lawyer I found disappeared, leaving me with things to get sorted and forms to fill out. I managed to get the first application sorted and I was invited to apply for the work permit. I tried once again to apply on my own, but couldn't find the right information. I called immigration multiple times to figure out what to do, but they never gave me the right information. They told me the only way to apply for a work permit was to leave the country. It was at that point, my girlfriend at the time found Alex with a chat over Skype and two weeks later, I had my work permit. The old process start from finish took me about five months. And a few weeks ago I received on PR my partner residency here for Canada. Before moving to my conversation with Alex, consider subscribe to the show and it will be great if you could give us a review on Apple podcasts or pod chaser. Thank you. And now please enjoy my conversation with Alex.

Hi, Alex. Thanks for being on the show.

Alex 2:28

Hey, Daniel. Good to be here.

Daniel 2:31

I'm excited as I've been trying to get you on the show for a while now.

Alex 2:35

Yeah, no, we've we cross paths a while ago, going back and forth. And I'm glad that we could finally make the time.

Daniel 2:43

Yeah, yeah. And I'm super excited to have you on the show. So let's start a little bit with your your background. And so how long have you been an immigration advisor consultant?

Alex 2:55

Well, time flies. Really the only way to keep track of how long I've been doing this is to start thinking about when my son was born, which was in 2007. And that's when I got my license as well. But I've been in the industry for for a little bit longer than that. I was was fortunate. I had some great mentors around me, who've been in the industry for a while. And yes, it's since 2007 I got my license and I've time has flown by quickly.

Daniel 3:28

Sweet awesome. And so what's the requirement to become an immigration consultant? Can anybody become an immigration consultant? You know, you have to go to schools. So what's the path to become an immigration consultant?

Alex 3:41

What though there are four major requirements: you have to be a citizen or permanent resident number one, I have to write a language test and and those who who are going through the immigration program, they're familiar with CLB nine that you need to get in your IELTS test or CELTA test, and this is CLB, nine out of 12. And then you have to also do an immigration program at one of 10 schools in Canada, for example, you know University of British Columbia offers this program. And when you finish the program, you need to write an exam.

Daniel 4:17

And after the exam you will be available to you can just start your own company can you start becoming an immigration advisor right away? You need to have a?

Alex 4:25

Yes you get your license. And you can either start your own company which many consultants do or join another company as well.

Daniel 4:34

So you don't have to do anytime to be an apprentice?

Alex 4:36

Apprentice. Yeah, I mean, you should do some of you are supposed to do a little bit of internship during the program that you're taking at school. So there's six months that you need to do an internship at an immigration consulting firm or with a lawyer.

Daniel 4:51

Okay. And so why did you decide to become an immigration consultant?

Alex 4:55

Yeah, that's let me if I may, I'm gonna go a little further back for some context. So my family immigrated from Iran to Vancouver, Canada, in 1986, I was 10 and my only reference to the place we were immigrating to was a brochure that I got, that we got from the only person my father knew in Vancouver, his former professor who had moved from England to Canada a few years back. The brochure was for Expo 86, I don't know if you know, Expo they have it, I think almost every year, different location. So from Expo 86, in Vancouver, and when I saw the brochure in Iran, I was just mesmerized by the photos of the SkyTrain in a beautiful, lush, kind of futuristic city, that trees, ocean mountain, everywhere. Also remember seeing science world, the globe, in the photos as well. And everything just kind of look very futuristic and clean and green. And, and, and you got to remember, there was no internet to jump on to back then to see, you know what the world was like what that location you're going to was like. So the expectations we had was was something that we could only imagine, which is based on that brochure. So it was kind of exciting and frightening, at the same time to be making this really a life changing move. And once we moved to Canada, just like many other new immigrants to Canada, challenges were felt right away, in many ways, we had to kind of leave everything behind and rebuild a life in our new home. We had a new language culture a new, we had to rebuild new connections with people. So that comfort level that we had back home in Iran was no longer apparent. And the comfortable and stable career that my parents had back in Iran was, was no longer in our new home. My father, who has this PhD in, in biochemistry, managed to find work in his field, but nothing was really stable, especially during the late 80s, early 90s, when the economy in Canada wasn't doing well. During that time, there was a lot of cuts in health care, hospitals were being merged. And unfortunately, my father's position was one of the first casualties of these cuts. But my father is very resilient. In order to to financially support his family, he decided to take a position as a professor in Dubai at a university in Dubai. And while us, the family we stayed back in Canada, and when he was there, there was a there was an enormous interest by mostly educated professional experts working in Dubai, who were at a stage where they were looking for a permanent home. These are people from India, Pakistan, quite a number of people from Europe, Iran who are working in in Dubai during that time. So, so my father during his time off from university, he started helping people with their immigration to Canada with with his own background and Canadian immigration, his own experience and his background in research. He found this just a little side project that he started doing as as easy and he really enjoyed it. And despite the the financial incentives from his job at the university in Dubai, it felt really unnatural for for him to be so far away from us when for so long. My then after maybe it was a year and a half, two years, my parents saw the interest in immigration as an opportunity. And so they took another big step in their lives and decided to leave academia behind and become self employed. So my father moved back to Canada, moved to Vancouver again and started an immigration firm. And as a doctor in the Middle East, you have this automatic credibility mix that with the network that he had created in Iran, in Dubai, he had somewhat unintentionally branded himself and he had he had a good stream of clientele from the beginning. And during those early years of his company in the in the mid mid 80s, in mid 90s sorry, during the during the Michael Jordan years. I don't know if you if you're old enough to remember Michael Jordan years.

Daniel 9:55

I was born in 1986. Just to give you a reference.

Alex 9:57

Okay, thank you.

Daniel 9:58

I do remember Michael Jordan,

Alex 10:00

You do remember Michael Jordan? Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, I was I was actually taken back by that documentary on Netflix. I don't know if you got a chance to see that the Michael Jordan documentary?

Daniel 10:10

No, I haven't.

Alex 10:11

Yeah, it's, it's really good. But yeah, so I worked with him periodically during that time. Usually, between school I did a lot of marketing with for him with its graphics. Because that was my background, I took graphics animation at Vancouver film school, and also worked as a case manager as well as on application. So here and there I kind of work with them. And then, in the early 2000s, with my then girlfriend, now wife, I went to Japan, and we spent four years working, traveling and then around there. And I did some teaching and managing English school and English department on a small college. And all while not not knowing that this experience that I was having would be a big part of my path to what I'm doing right now. So in 2006, it was time to come home for for my wife and our my girlfriend at the time. So we came home, I got married, and my father offered me for me to work with them. The idea was for me to just work with them for a short period of time, while I kind of figured out what I was going to do back in North America back in Canada. And but a couple of couple of years later, I was I was totally hooked. It wasn't just the immigration part of it that I was hooked on, but also kind of the being a part of nurturing this business that had my that my father had created over over a decade ago. And, yeah, I learned a lot. You know, I'm still thankful that my parents made this decision to immigrate to Canada to give me and my siblings, this platform that we have. A platform that we wouldn't have if he had stayed back in Iran. And it's a great feeling to be a part of someone else's journey to reach this platform. Also, like the kind of the flexibility of being able to spend time with my family working remotely, which which, which is kind of expedited during this covid 19 pandemic, I was already kind of working remotely before that. But, you know, since we had to go home, everything went online. And I was rarely meeting people at the office. I mean, I still go to the office at least once a week. But it seems that people are a lot more after the pandemic a lot more comfortable in meeting online and my my staff, they're doing everything, all the work online as well. And an overall nice time has gone by just really kind of enjoyed the whole package, you know, being immigration solvent, the whole package of running a business and, of course, doing immigration. And helping people come to Canada.

Daniel 13:10

Do you think the fact that you come from an immigrant family and in the immigrant background, gives you more sympathy about like people that try to get into Canada?

Alex 13:21

100% huge part, like I had no idea, you know, growing up that this was such a big part of this would be such a big part of my life. But definitely I mean that that empathy, the sense in having experienced something like that, and especially as you get older, you kind of look back and reflect on on these types of experiences these big, big experiences in your life, and it has had a huge, huge impact on how I see people and I deal with people and and I, you know, there's a little bit of stress involved in this job. Because when I when somebody asks me a question, and potentially the answer to that question could change someone's life you know, you know, if somebody makes a mistake, this could end their application. So there's a little bit of anxiety that is an excitement to that as well. And knowing that some of these questions that are being asked how important they are and how important it is to have the right answer. And thankfully, because of my father's the base that he created for this company, which is all based on research, and doing things, right. So far, it's been pretty good.

Daniel 14:39

Yeah, yeah, as I said, it's you say you're right, because some people treat us treats a case like a number. And as you said, like we are not just a number of different decision he that immigration makes change completely can change completely our lives, can send us back to our country or can give us an opportunity to start a new life in a new country. So it's it definitely immigration is it's a life changing experience, it could change completely your life.

Alex 15:08

Mm hmm. Certainly for sure. Yeah. And it's, it's, it feels rewarding. Knowing that, you know, you are being part of that.

Daniel 15:18

Yeah, no, totally, totally. I thought what the question that maybe most people asked, so why people should hire an immigration adviser and not doing the process themselves?

Alex 15:29

Well, my recommendation is always do research. You know, and this is, this is what we do. You know, we do a lot of research, we keep up to date. But there's a lot of information online. I mean, I'm sure you know, you wouldn't when you were doing your process, you started your process. There's so much unlimited amount of information online, which is good. But it could be bad as well, good, because it's information. Bad because you have to figure out which ones are wrong or outdated. And if, of course, if you don't, if you still don't quite understand what's in front of you. Then go see an immigration professional, who is authorized to give immigration advice. And make sure to do your homework, and to do research on the company, or the lawyer, the consultant that you want to work with. Because there are some there are a lot of good consultants and lawyers out there. But at the same time, unfortunately, there are some who are, who don't have all the information that you need. So make sure you do some some research first. It's very important. I mean, I meet I meet a lot of people who have received bad advice. And, you know, it's not everybody knows all the answers. Sometimes I'm across I come, I come across that. Someone asks me a question. I'm not quite 100%. Sure. So I say, hey, just wait, I'll get back to you with an email, just to make sure just to be 100% sure, that the answer I'm giving you is right. So yeah, just just be honest about it, and make sure that every single answer that I'm giving I feel 100% confident about.

Daniel 17:12

So how do you find the right immigration adviser? Is there anything that people should be aware of? Because at the time my girlfriend actually found you on the internet? I don't know what she was looking for. But we've been pretty lucky. But how can people find the right immigration advisor?

Alex 17:27

Yeah, I mean, not all the best lawyers and consultants are online, but many of them are. So start with a research online, look at Google reviews. Go look at Yelp. And start with that. And then ask your your friends who have gone through the same thing. You know, do you have a lawyer consultants and see what they say. So referrals, others online referrals, or through people that you know, that's the way to go start with that, give them a call, see how you feel, maybe just do one session, if you need more than one session, do one sessions, see what your gut feeling says. And if your gut feeling says this person knows what they're talking about, then chances are they know what they're talking about.

Daniel 18:10

Is there any qualification which we should be aware of on the website?

Alex 18:15

Well, if you are, if you are, if you want to represent somebody or give advice to somebody on Canadian immigration, you must either be a lawyer or a licensed consultants in Canada, that is, so there are so make sure that if they're licensed consultant, they have to be part of ICCRC. So that's what you should be looking at. And I know if you're a lawyer, I mean, you should be licensed there and look for that and make sure you ask questions beforehand. Just straight out. Are you licensed? Are you authorized to work in Canadian immigration? That's the first question you should ask anybody who you're going to be dealing with.

Daniel 18:55

So a lawyer needs to be an immigration lawyer or this can be a general lawyer.

Alex 19:00

Well, I mean, lawyers, they start off by just being a general lawyer, and then sometimes they kind of specialized and go towards a specific field, that industry. So there are some lawyers that kind of do it all. I would, I would be aware of that. Because immigration itself is such a huge, huge market, there's so much information you need to know and I would say definitely go with a lawyer who specializes or of course, with immigration consultant, which is, you know, the whole business, the whole work is is on Canadian immigration.

Daniel 19:35

So in your experience, what's the most common reason people fail the application?

Alex 19:42

Usually, I mean, the biggest reason I would say probably is it's just unfortunate not qualified. Canadian immigration is, I mean, we do per capita, we do bring a lot of people into Canada each year. I mean, for a population we it's almost 1% of our population comes into Canada each year, for example, 2019, 340,000 permanent residents were accepted into Canada. Out of this 240,000 permanent residents 60% came in through one of the Skilled Worker programs. So that's, that's a big percentage as majority of our immigrants are coming in skilled workers, and compared to other Western countries, Canada allows in the most number of immigrants, and most number of skilled workers. And majority of them, as you probably know, they come in through this very intense competitive system called Express Entry, which is a point based system. So first, you need to step number one, you need to qualify and meet a minimum qualification. And then once you do, then you go into a pool. And you compete with other people who have met the minimum qualification. And at the end, you have, for example, in the Express Entry pool, out of 150,000 people, only about seven to 9000 people get selected each month, that's only 5% of people who meet that minimum qualification. So if you're not able to maximize your score, in, in one of these categories, you just don't have a chance. So you find a lot of people are like, Oh, good, I'm at a point in my life that I'm ready to emigrate. Usually that, you know, the coming from majority of immigrants are coming from coming from developing countries, of course. And, you know, they say, Okay, I'm ready, I have a good career, I've saved up some money, I've got a young family now and move to Canada, then they get all excited. And unfortunately, sometimes I have to break the bad news to them. Yeah, I mean, I feel like you should be in Canada. But our immigration system is so competitive that at the end, if you are more than two to three years above the because up to 29, you get maximum points in age, if you're 33. Or over, you just lose too many points in age. And it's so competitive that you cannot afford to lose any points, you have to maximize your points in each of these categories, age, education, language, and work experience. And if you lose just a few points, then you just don't have a chance. So the biggest reason is, unfortunately, a lot of a lot of people are just not qualified. The second biggest reason I would say it's probably inconsistency in information. You've gone through the application, there's a lot of questions that are asked, and sometimes the same question asked is asked repeatedly in different ways. So you got to make sure that the information you're putting in there is consistent with previous information that you've put down, potentially how to work permit application in the past, make sure that the information in putting in your permanent residency application is similar to or same as the information who put you put down in your work permit application, because that's what the immigration officer will do. They'll dig your background, they'll try to find a consistency. And so that's definitely the biggest second biggest reason why people fail and going forward,

Daniel 23:07

Because going back to the point system, the point system, correct me if I'm wrong, but that changes every time. thatchanges depend on the applicants. Because it can be you can be lucky and your opponents, let's call it opponent that apply on the same time they got lower score, or you can be unfortunate and apply when there's like a geniuses applies at the same time as you. So every time you apply every every month, the score, the minimum score is different, right?

Alex 23:35

That minimum threshold that we have, it does fluctuate, it does go up and down. Especially at the beginning, there was a lot more fluctuation a lot more up and down, but not right now. It's kind of plateaued, it's going up and down around 470 points. So that has been that has become a little bit more consistent. But somebody who's going to qualify at 470, and they haven't had any Canadian work experience. They need to have a Master's, their language score has to be, you know, almost perfect. They have to be under 31 years old. Otherwise, you really don't have a chance, especially in the past couple of years, we've had a huge wave of Americans moving up to Canada or wanting to move up to Canada, not just Americans, but also for nationals in the US. These are workers, students that have moved to the US wanting to eventually become a permanent resident in the US now they see no future for themselves because of a kind of a failing immigration system. And so what are they doing now? They're going for the next option, which is Canada. So there's a huge wave of people coming out from the US either whether American citizens or foreign nationals, and that has driven the the competition up for sure.

Daniel 24:55

Yeah. So I was talking about with another person on on this podcast, and she was telling me that so many company in the US because the immigration law are changing, and there's so many restriction to hire people from abroad. So many companies in the US are moving that headquarter into Canada because it's easier for them to hire the best people from all over the world. Do you see that?

Alex 25:19

That's a that's a really good question. And yeah, that's, that's for sure. I mean, just to give you an idea, last couple months, we have signed with seven companies, American companies that want to move up to the US to move up to Canada from the US. And yeah, one of the biggest reasons is that, especially tech companies, tech firms, they rely on foreign workers, they just don't, there aren't enough skilled technology workers in western in the Western countries. So there's a big reliance on foreign skilled workers from coming in. So now these guys don't have a chance to either can't go into the US or this takes a really long time to get into the US, or they just don't see a future. So they say, well, we're no longer interested in us. So what are they doing to opening up offices here, Toronto, and Vancouver, both have been booming. In the past few years, as far as the technology sector goes. Even engineering firms are opening up offices over here. And so that has made definitely made a huge difference, the fact that foreign workers in the US have no personal future in the US.

Daniel 26:35

Totally, I mean, it's crazy thinking that you can get the best of the best only from your own country. It's crazy. And company knows that. So if you want the best of the best in, in what you're doing, you need to look everywhere, not just in your own country. So um, yeah, I'm happy that Canada is out being those people and being those industry. And so it definitely helps Canadian economy. And definitely, people are quite happy to move to Canada as well.

Alex 27:02

Yeah, there's a there's a shift happening, there's a transition. Like I said earlier, in the past, it was all about the US. And we even had Canadians move down to the US. So after graduating, these are again, I'm mostly talking about people in the tech industry, they will graduate and move down to Silicon Valley. Two reasons number one more jobs. Number two, salary salary is much higher in the US, especially when it comes to technology and engineering. But there is definitely a transition happening. For example, as you know, Amazon is opening up another office in Vancouver, it's gonna be another 10,000 people that are going to be hired, this is creating competition, and competition creates an increase in salary. So it's not just a security of, you know, financial security, it's also environmental security, political security. And when I say environmental security, I mean, people will see Canada as a place you know, as we keep moving towards global warming. We see a lot of people wanting to move to Canada, just because they're feeling it in their own countries. How it's getting so hot and, and dry. And and so they see Canada as a good destination when it comes to environmental security.

Daniel 28:15

Another thing people look to for Canada, because in the US, there's a big stigma around immigration about immigrants. Immigrants are not seen that well, especially immigrants from a specific country. So I even asked this question to other other people on this podcast. Like, why would you stay in a country where you're not feel welcome? And they're usually the answer is because there's the opportunity they have in the US. But if those opportunities to start to popping up in other countries like Canada more, which are more friendly with immigrants, I'm pretty sure people start deciding to move to a better country where they feel more welcome. and Canada is definitely more welcomed in many agriculture compared especially compared to the US.

Alex 29:01

Yeah, I would, I would agree with you. I mean, I'm not in the States. So this is all mostly secondhand information. But this is the big one of the biggest reasons yeah, for sure that I hear from people who are in the states that are wanting to move to Canada. And you know, what, when when somebody just like, you know, just like my family when we first moved to Canada, I mean, we had a lot less information about Canada back then. But you kind of get this image in your head of what the country is going to be like, you know, the image that's that's been created through watching movies, hearing a story here and there and but then once you move to the country, reality hits, and unfortunately in the states and not everywhere, but some places in the States. People definitely feel that the environment the people around them are not as welcoming as, as they are in Canada. Me Canada has its own problems. Don't get me wrong. But definitely there's more. I mean, even if you look at the polls that research, Canadians a lot more accepting and positive about immigration.

Daniel 30:11

Yeah, absolutely. So if somebody decided to move to Canada, he wants to move to Canada, where people should start when thinking to immigrate to Canada?

Alex 30:20

Research, research, research, I mean, that's the first step you got to take. But then of course, you need to filter through that research. So you know, you don't have to find them, consultant or lawyer and stick with them from the beginning, just set up a time do like a 30 minute chat, just just to have an information session, to see what is, you know, the blueprints in front of you? what's in front of you, as far as immigration goes? Once you have a better understanding, then you can gauge. Okay, how much help do I need? Do I need from start to finish? Or do I need, you know, 30 minutes here, one hour here, as I go along towards immigration towards the my end goal, which is usually permanent residency in Canada. So everybody's different. Everybody has different budget as well. So you got to be wary of that. Make sure you have the money, make sure you, you know, ask these types of questions right at the beginning. So you have understanding how much it's going to cost? Don't be afraid to get a second opinion. You know, don't just stick with one person, call around and make sure that all the questions that you have. So number one, does the person have enough knowledge about the path that I'm taking? Number two, will my budget work with the person that I'm working with? So you got to take all those into consideration before you make a final decision to go forward with someone to represent your application? If that's if that's what you need.

Daniel 31:44

But another question I like to ask you, because I had a feeling from people from the people I talked to that the easiest path to move to Canada, maybe to move to any country is to go into school in the country. The paths are easy, because you started if you study there, you might get more points because you studied in that country, is that correct?

Alex 32:06

For sure. Any kind of experience you gain in Canada, whether it's through study or work has a huge effect and your qualifications to immigrate. So this is why for example, going back to 2019, again, we had 600,000 foreign students in Canada, and they're not just here to study there, the majority of our here are going to school, because the regular path, as I mentioned earlier, so competitive and so difficult. So the coming to Canada, going to school and investing really, in their education and their immigration at the same time. Going to school studying finishing school, that adds points if they're coming in as a skilled worker that adds to their points because they have graduated in Canada. But note not only that, once you graduate from most post secondary education, most but post secondary schools, you then receive what's called a postgraduate work permit, which is an open work permit allows you to work for any company in anywhere in Canada. And then through that work permit, you can gain work experience in Canada and get even more points, which is really now it's needed more than ever due to the huge competition that we have. So for sure, yeah. coming to Canada as a student is a is a big step that many take.

Daniel 33:23

Awesome. And what kind of like roadblocks people usually find and what people should be aware of?

Alex 33:31

Yeah, definitely the biggest roadblock would be finding a program that they're qualified for. Back to the competition, it's highly competitive. And also finding something you know, if somebody comes to me who is over 35 years old, we have to get creative, we can just take him through the usual paths, like for example, express entry. Is that the program that you came in through if I may ask you?

Daniel 33:56

Um, I don't think so. I don't think I had enough points, I think was the through the

Alex 34:01

BCPNP.

Daniel 34:03

Exactly. Yes, that one.

Alex 34:04

But BCPNP with Express Entry, wasn't it?

Daniel 34:07

You know what? I'm not sure.

Alex 34:09

Okay. Yeah, it's been a while since we did the application, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was because you got your you started going forward quicker. So anyway, yeah. So first you get into the Express Entry pool, then you go to the province, and then eventually you hit PR, but it is you have to become creative. And you have to see whether or not you can we can help the person coming through a non conventional path like like just express entry, which is only based on your merit. So how do you do that? Sometimes somebody contacts me and says, Alex, I want to move to Canada. This person is 36 years old. And I say okay, well, unfortunately, just based on your marriage, you know, you have high education, you have a high language but unfortunately lose 20 points in age. So what you need to do is either complete Canada as a student, or invest into Canada and open up an office, so there are some people who have, for example, a parent's company outside of Canada. And what we do is we help them open up an office in Canada, get get them a special type of work permit to come and run this company. And because of that special work permit, they receive a lot of extra points that makes up with the points lost in age. So yeah, I mean, sometimes, you know, not not every every case is unique to itself. And you kind of have to look at, you know, what's the best path? And unfortunately, because of the competition, the most conventional paths are not always the answer. Yeah,

Daniel 35:37

You're right. Even even my case, I, the lawyer higher, they spend quite a few times trying to figure out the right path for me, because there are so many different paths I tried to do research myself was like, so overwhelming. I couldn't figure out what this is. My situation was and even then, in Canada, every province is different. Every province got different requirements and different programs. So even that was like a so overwhelming, and this person put me on the right path to to actually get my, my work permit and my PR later.

Alex 36:08

Right, right. Yeah. So remember that, when when you contacted us, you mentioned that your partner found us but how did you find your first just to kind of flip this around? How did you find your first representative?

Daniel 36:21

So its the lawyer that my company that the company I work for they use sometimes. So when I found you was in the process that I saw it was approved by BC from the British Columbia entity, government, I don't know what you call it. But then I had to apply for a work permit in for Canada for to the national international government. But even then, I was trying to call the immigration ask the questions out to apply. And every time we'll do it give me a different different answer. I got to the point where I didn't know what to do. They told me I have to leave Canada, I have to move either back to Italy or move to New Zealand to apply for for work permit because you can't fly within Canada. And that's when I reached out to you. So you know, just go to the border, and they will give you a visa. So that's right. It was so easy, but nobody could tell me that over the phone.

Alex 37:10

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, it's there's definitely value in that finding the right person to to go forward with. But like you said, I mean, you got to take, like we talked about, we need to take so many different things into consideration. Well, first of all, is this the right person second budget? Because not everybody has. And you talked about the fluctuation and the budget as well. Why is why does somebody charge 1500 and other person charges six to $7,000. So you got to look at the fine print? Exactly what are they? What are they going to be doing? So if we're representing for example, if somebody were there from start to finish, and we don't charge hourly, in the middle, we do like a package deal. And our fees are not competitive with other people. Because we have someone we rely on, we don't look at other prices, what we do is we look at the average number of hours that we work on an application and based on that we create our prices. And so look at all the fine prints, make sure there aren't any surprises when you're selecting the person that you want to work with. And, and yeah, ask around research and look at the background.

Daniel 38:17

And speaking of prices, I don't know if you want to be open and say roughly how much it would cost to it's called a normal application in general, what's the day average cost for for an application?

Alex 38:29

Yeah, so the most common way would be to come in through through the Express Entry System, which has itself to different stages, stage number one is to submit an Express Entry profile. And then stage number two is to once you select it, and once you're invited, then you have to go through what's called the permanent residency application. So we actually end up doing two agreements, because it's not guaranteed you're going to be selected from the pool, we do first agreement for single person 1500. That's for the first application. And then once the person is invited to apply, then for the second application, which is a bigger application, more comprehensive charge 1500 times two, so 3000. So all together 4500 from start to finish, for the Express Entry path. Now if you throw in other stuff, like for example, going through the province, which is a separate application itself, then it's going to cost 1500 dollars more. So it really depends on what path you take. But if you want representation, I would say you should definitely consider minimum 3500 but I've seen it go as high as 1015 $20,000 for basically what I just described right now.

Daniel 39:44

Oh, wow. That's a big difference. Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. And what advice would you give to somebody that wants to immigrate to Canada?

Alex 39:54

Be ready. That's the most important thing, especially if you're already in Canada, so you have a lot of people who are in Canada, and then they decide that, oh, maybe Canada is a place that I can call home for at least for a long time. So they want to go through permanency but don't wait until towards the end of your work permit to try to figure out what to do and what's in front of you. Make sure that you have a blueprint in front of you, and learn about not only the path, one path, but also ask and say, Okay, well, if this doesn't work, is there an option B? Is there an option C, because even never know what life is gonna throw you. So let's say you have a job, and you're coming in through an employer? What if, what if the company folds suddenly, or things don't work out between you and the company, because that application is reliant on an employer. If the employer cannot go forward anymore, for whatever reason, then your application is done, you got to be ready for that? Is there an option B, option C that you can kind of move to? So definitely make sure that you apply, start learning as far as what's in front of you early. And then and then make sure that you're ready for the unexpected. You know, that could be a pandemic that happens, you never know.

Daniel 41:13

Yeah, totally. Another thing that I like to ask, you might know the answer, but I wanted to ask you anyway. Because when I I applied for my work permit, one of the requirements force, I had to apply for the PR as well, because they want me to prove that I was actually planning to stay longer, not just for a few years at once I want I should pay to stay longer. So I had to apply for the PR. But it wasn't a requirement. I don't think I would have applied because the process was so consuming. Okay, emotionally, it was like every obstacle, they put in a way that makes you feel like you're not welcome. They don't want you to stay in the country. So that feeling of bit not being worked on. At that point for like, why should I stay even longer if you guys want me I just gonna stay here for a bit longer figure out if you want to stay or not like a in a few years time. But if you ask me right now to apply for the PR, I would, I wouldn't probably going through it because the feeling ahead because I don't feel welcome here. But now looking back, that was actually pretty lucky they apply for the PR at that point, because now I just got my PR here in Canada, especially now that going through the pandemic, my visa expiring in a few months. So I feel pretty lucky. My question is, should people apply to the PR, if they have the opportunity, even though they're not secured? They're not like, hundred percent secure, they're gonna stay in the country that the country is the country they want to spend the rest of their life in or not?

Alex 42:39

Yeah, that's Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, majority of people who who come to me they want to stay here permanently. But there are the occasional people. And they're like, well, I just want a few more years in Canada. That's it. I mean, I'm not looking that far ahead. I just want I just want to make sure that I continue this job for another year, another two years. But the thing is, you know, you're here as a temporary residents and temporary resident has an end date. And every time you you know, you're close to that you have to figure out how to extend it. And it's not that simple. So yeah, it's definitely a good idea to look at permanent residency, even if you don't see yourself living here. Who knows that might happen in the future, as you gain more experience in Canada, but dad go for go for permanent residency, you don't have to deal with, you know, figuring out, okay, how do I extend my next work permit? So it is a little bit daunting, it can be a little bit frustrating, it can be a little bit, sometimes even confusing. But it's it's a step that will prevent a lot of negatives in the future.

Daniel 43:41

Yeah, yeah. Another question, because when I was trying to get my work permit, I came across other people in the same situation from different countries. And their experience was very similar to mine, very frustrating. And they told me that some of the people they knew they just went back to their own country, because they were just like, so fed up with all the process, and it was so hard to get a visa, they were just like, so fed up that they decided to move back to Canada. My question is, so when people should stop trying to get a permit?

Alex 44:16

You know, sometimes again, look at second opinion, just to be sure. So just don't rely on one person's answer. If somebody doesn't have any more answers for you, as far as you know, the path forward, get a second opinion, potentially a third opinion, just to make sure there's nothing in front of you. But sometimes that's the truth. Unfortunately, there is no no path to stay here permanently. Unless, unless you take a drastic measurement and find a Canadian partner. Then the story changes.

Daniel 44:46

Yeah, that was one little bit of recommendation I had let's just get married.

Alex 44:49

Get married. Yeah, yeah. And no, I don't know how many times I've said this, but I've said yeah, not to put you on the spot. But have you considered getting married with you know with your long term girlfriend or boyfriend? So that does happen for sure. Yeah.

Daniel 45:04

Um, so Alex, any tips that you could provide to the listeners?

Alex 45:10

Yeah. So I touched on some of these throughout the conversation, but definitely do your research. You know, put into time, whenever you do any type of pretty much anything in life, don't just depend on one person that you've spoken to do some research online, make sure you have a base. And then you find somebody who is informative, who knows the stuff and then ask them a lot of questions. Like I said, Option A, option B, option C. And then if your situation is complicated, maybe maybe a little more unique, then get a second opinion as well.

Daniel 45:48

Awesome. So thanks. Thanks, Alex, for for taking the time to do this, like introduction of yourself. There will be more episodes in the future with you. Maybe you can answer the question from directly from from the listeners. And, yeah, thank you. Thank you very much for your time.

Alex 46:05

I appreciate it Daniel. It was pit chatting with you. And we'll probably continue this in the future.

Daniel 46:10

Totally. In the meantime, if people wants to reach out to you, where the best way to find you?

Alex 46:18

I mean, good old email. You can email me at alex@cicsimmigration, or just google search CICS, immigration, and I'm sure you'll find a link

Daniel 46:29

Sweet. I will also put all the links and everything in the show notes for people that wants to reach out to you and so you can find the right place. Awesome. Thank you. Thank you very much, Alex.

Alex 46:39

Alright. It was a pleasure. Thank you very much. Have a great day.

Daniel 46:44

Thank you. You too. Bye.

Alex 46:46

Bye. Bye.

Daniel 46:48

Thank you so much for tuning in this week. I hope you enjoy this episode and you found useful information about moving to Canada. Alex and I will do more episodes like this one in the future. He will keep us updated on the immigration world and answer your questions. Right now I'm working on adding an easy way for you to submit your questions. But the meantime you can reach out to us via social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit, or email me directly. My email is daniel@emigrantslife.com. If you want to support the show, you can share this episode or you can leave us a review. And if you want to be my next guest, you can visit emigrantslife.com/yourstory. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you in your next one. Ciao.

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