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Where can I get legal advice and help with a problem about immigration status in Canada?
Immigration law is complicated. If you don't know the law, it's easy to make a mistake.
Some mistakes can cause serious problems. For example, you might not be able to stay in Canada or bring family members here to join you.
Sometimes friends or family members try to help. But it's important to get help from someone who is:
- trained and knows the law
- authorized to give you the legal help you need
- honest and trustworthy
Choosing a legal advisor
Lawyers, paralegals, and registered consultants or advisors must follow rules about being honest and doing a good job.
And if they break the rules that apply to them, they can lose their licence to practice their profession.
When you're looking for someone to help with an immigration matter, avoid anyone who:
- tells you to lie or withhold information from or
- suggests that you use false documents
- asks you to sign a blank form or something that you don't understand
The government has useful tips for choosing an immigration or citizenship representative. And the Next Steps have more information to help you.
If you need help or advice about making a refugee claim, see Legal Aid Ontario’s Services for refugee claimants.
Getting help to avoid or solve certain problems
Many people have legal problems because of differences in the information given to Canadian authorities at different times.
Information stays in government records and can be used against you.
A legal advisor can help you:
- solve problems that you may have because of mistakes made in the past when giving information
- avoid mistakes that can cause problems for you in the future
The information that can be used against you includes what you give each time you:
- talk to immigration authorities, on the phone or in person
- fill out a form and give it to immigration authorities
- give documents to immigration authorities for use as evidence in an application or at a hearing
- give evidence at a hearing
Immigration authorities include people who work for: