Differences between Immigration Lawyers & Consultants

Immigration Consultant vs Immigration Lawyer: What is the difference?

Immigrating to a new country can be a stressful and complicated process. Having an expert to guide you is always an advisable approach. 


If you are in the process of immigrating to Canada, you might have started looking for an advisor to help, and this has led you to come across immigration lawyers and consultants. 


You might be wondering, should you hire an immigration lawyer or consultant? What is the difference between the two and what can they offer you? 


We will break it down and hopefully after reading this, you will have a better understanding.

Immigration Consultant vs Immigration Lawyer

What is an Immigration Consultant?

An immigration consultant is an individual who has obtained a one-year certification and is a licenced member under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC)

A consultant’s membership number can can be verified at the College’s website. Consultants are monitored by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants and are periodically audited. 


CICC was designed to serve the interests of clients of licensed immigration consultants. Its main goal is to protect immigration and citizenship clients and strengthen the integrity of the consulting industry.

Immigration Consultant

Are immigration consultants lawyers?

Consultants are not lawyers. They do not have a law degree, but they are required to hold a bachelor’s degree, and we find most have a degree in a social science field such as criminology or political science.

Immigration Consultant

What is an Immigration Lawyer?

An immigration lawyer must complete law school, pass the bar exam, and become a member of a provincial Law Society. 


Lawyers practicing immigration law typically do not specialize in immigration law at school as most Canadian law schools offer just one or two classes in this field. 


The immigration knowledge lawyers possess is mostly from experience, whereas immigration consultants gain knowledge through both experience and specialized study. Immigration lawyers do not have a CICC number and are not regulated by the CICC, their practices are governed by provincial law societies.

Immigration Lawyer

Differences between Immigration Lawyers & Consultants


Immigration Consultants and Lawyers can offer identical related to immigration and citizenship services, apart from representing the client at a federal court. Consultants can represent a client to the appeal tribunal level if there is an issue with an application.


If you’re in a situation where you have a complicated case that may go before the federal courts of Canada, you should look at hiring a lawyer. 


However, 99% of immigration cases do not fall under this category. Something else to consider is that not all immigration lawyers want to take on complicated cases. 


At Canada By Choice  we work with a network of lawyers, and should your case fall into that 1%, we can guide you in procuring a lawyer. We also find immigration law firms employ consultants to work in their firms, and most of the time you will be dealing with the consultant and not the lawyer you hired.
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What is the difference between the two in cost?

It really depends; typically consultants tend to be cheaper, but you should do your due diligence and research the market to see what fits your budget. Once you find either a consultant or lawyer that fits your budget, research their reviews and try to find testimonials to verify their service. Make sure they can provide what your situation requires. At the end of the day, it is like shopping for anything else: you want the best service at the most competitive price.
Immigration Consultant

Final thoughts

There is no major difference in Canada between immigration consultants and lawyers. The main differences is that lawyers offer federal court representation where consultants do not. 

Lawyers may try to market themselves as experts and frown upon consultants, but the reality is that both provide the same service. When choosing between the two, you should look at their expertise and experience. 

Not all lawyers or consultants are experts at every immigration program; some might develop niches in Express Entry or Family Sponsorships as examples. 

It is your future. Choose a professional you are most comfortable with that meets your immigration needs. Complete a consultation, inquire about their services and experience, and read testimonials.
Express Entry
The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

About Us


Canada By Choice is a Canadian Immigration Firm based in Windsor, Ontario. Founded in 2007, Canada By Choice Immigration is widely considered one of the most respected immigration firms in our region. We have earned our reputation as a World Class firm by providing dedication and personalized service to each and every unique case before us.


Verify our Membership number here. Membership number: R530015

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