There is one thing about me: when I get obsessed about something, I become a fan girl. I research everything I can about it. I follow blogs and forums about it. I write about it. And should anyone make the mistake (haha 😀 ) of asking me anything related to the topic, I have all my charts and graphs, PowerPoint slides and Excel sheets all prepared, ready to have an in-depth discussion and analysis of said topic, any time.
Everybody already knows about my obsession with The Lord of the Rings (and that includes The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, HoME, and all other Middle-Earth things), Agatha Christie novels (yes, I am total fan of the “little grey cells” and “studying human nature”), and of course baking (Great British Bake-Off, anyone? 🙂 )
But in the past 7 months, something else had joined this list.
That’s right: Immigration to Canada.
So much so, that I have become an unofficial consultant to a countless number people in the past few months, who are looking to make that leap of faith and move to Canada.
As an IELTS trainer, 99% of the students I get are looking to write the IELTS exam so they can immigrate to Canada. The funny thing is, they know they need IELTS and also that they need to apply online for Express Entry, but beyond that, they know very little. Many times, they were completely clueless regarding the process of getting their educational certificates evaluated, about getting a police certificate, about if their job was regulated in Canada or not, just to name a few things.
The biggest lack of knowledge, though, was about the CRS score and the PNP programs offered by the 9 provinces and the 3 territories in Canada. Hardly any of them realised that, 1. Sometimes they just didn’t have enough points to qualify for a direct ITA, and 2. that they could (and really should) apply for a PNP program if possible so their scores are boosted and they receive the ITA that they are after.
And so I have found myself, in these past months, sharing my knowledge and guiding these hopeful dreamers to help them achieve their Great Canadian Dream – through my blog, in person, and through the CanadaVisa forum, as much as I can.
Of course, here in Dubai, there are many Immigration Consulting companies, and there are many more all across the UAE, and the world. And they are very popular. And some of them are very helpful too.
At the beginning of our Maple Leaf Journey, I had also considered doing my application through a consultant. Z and I had even gone to an Immigration Consultancy and had an assessment done (which we had to pay for, by the way) to see if we were eligible for Express Entry (although I already knew we were).
But almost as soon as we did the assessment, I realised that, frankly, everything they said they would be doing for me, I would have to do myself, and I could do myself. And by doing it myself, I would save a whole lot of money (the company we went to charged 12000 AED for the entire process). Money which, believe me, you SO need throughout your application process for various other things they don’t mention during the initial consultation – like DHL and printing costs, and other miscellaneous costs – and also for the costs they do mention, like the PR application processing fee, the RPRFs, and your IELTS and ECA.
So why in the world would I want to pay an extra 12000 AED to have someone tell me things I can simply find out myself?
Again, though, that’s just me.
I’ve known people who say they went with a consultant because they didn’t want the headache of filling in forms and gathering documents, and they are happy to pay the consultant’s (somewhat exorbitant) fees for that. In our case, this was not an option.
But in the end, the choice is yours.
If you want to avoid the headache and leave it in someone else’s hands, and can afford the consultancy fee, then by all means go for it. Not all consultancies are sharks. Some are very good at what they do, and they are with you until the day you land in Canada and gain your PR status. And for those who feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of processes and procedures and documents, a consultancy might be the best option. Just make sure that you choose a consultancy that will work for you and not to fill their pockets.
But if you are like me, and prefer working at your own pace and with your own research and resources, then I will say right now, that it is entirely possible. Yes, it is a lot of hard work. Yes, it can be a headache. Yes, you will be frustrated. Yes, you may even wonder if it’s even worth at all.
But, there are many sources out there to guide and help you – Google, blogs, videos, forums, and most importantly, people who have already gone through this process – and if you stick to it, you too can be well on your way to achieving your very own Maple Leaf Journey.