I am frequently asked this question by potential clients.

In fact, the CIC website states that you don’t need to hire an immigration representative, and that you can get all the forms and information that you need for free on their website. “If you follow the instructions in the application guide, you should be able to fill out the forms and submit them on your own”, so goes CIC on their website.

Well, Ms. Ni Mingjue found out the tough way why hiring an immigration lawyer to handle her application would have saved her a lot of time, money, and problems.

Ms. Ni graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in June 2012. Between June and August 2012, she encountered numerous problems and difficulties making an online application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), including making the fee payment.

She called the CIC Call Centre, and was advised to mail in her fee receipt. Unfortunately, CIC rejected her application in September 2012 as it does not recognise an online filing followed by mailing the fee receipt.

On the advice of the CIC Call Centre again, Ms. Ni applied to restore her status and for the PGWP in October 2012. It wasn’t until May 2013 when she received a letter from CIC dated 24 April 2013 refusing her application because she had failed to apply for the PGWP within 90 days of graduation.

On the application for Judicial Review (this time with the assistance of a lawyer) which was only heard on 21 July 2014, the Federal Court quashed the immigration officer’s decision and referred it back for re-determination.

What would have been a fairly simple procedure to extend her status in Canada on graduation in June 2012 on a PGWP turned out to be a long drawn process with the Federal Court making its decision only in July 2014.

This is a good example of why you need to hire an immigration lawyer in the first place.