Why hiring the services of an immigration lawyer in India is always more prudent than hiring the services of an immigration consultant or agent in India?
When it comes to advice for immigration, visa, and foreign travel, most Indian citizens resort to consulting their travel agents and, more recently, to immigration and student visa consultants. These professionals are not regulated and licensed in India. However, they may be associated with some professional association that does not regulate them.
This has resulted in a large number of immigration and visa frauds in India which we hear and read regularly in print and online media. As per the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement in the Parliament, the Indian government officially receives two complaints per day related to immigration and visa fraud.
It is interesting to note that though Indian citizens spend almost US$17 billion (Rs. 132,832 crores) annually on foreign education and travel, the Indian government has yet to take any concrete steps to regulate travel, immigration, and visa agents. This is a big disservice to unsuspecting citizens who become easy prey for unscrupulous visa agents and consultants because there is no professional or legal entity to hold them accountable.
Hence it is important that every person decides whether it is sensible to seek counsel from an immigration lawyer in India or from an immigration/visa consultant.
Here are some important facts that will help you decide:
- In India, only Indian lawyers are allowed to dispense advice on legal matters, including immigration and visa.
- Lawyers are regulated by law and regulatory bodies and are required to maintain high ethical standards.
- Only experienced immigration lawyers in India have the necessary knowledge of Indian and foreign laws that govern the terms and conditions of immigration and visa of another country.
- Immigration is a legal matter related to the pertaining acts and rules of the respective country. Hence lawyers specializing in immigration of a particular country are most suitable to provide counsel. They are also authorized to represent foreign nationals.
- All information and documents belonging to an individual and/or company are protected by a confidentiality agreement between the client and the lawyer.
- Travel agents, student visa agents and immigration consultants are not regulated in India. Hence, in case of fraud, the only recourse available is to file a police complaint.
- When you hire an US immigration lawyer, he/she will always act in your best interests because there is no commission or share involved from a third party.
- On the other hand, student visa agents and immigration consultants may not act in your best interests as they get a commission from the fees you paid to a foreign education institute, from the project you invested in for EB-5 investor visa, or from a real estate deal in case of for residency and citizenship by investment. Hence they will always try to influence your decision.
- Most immigration consultants and agents in India consult immigration lawyers in India or US immigration attorney in India when matters become complex and complicated.
- The immigration departments of different countries give credence to legal opinions provided by lawyers only.
- If you are looking for a job offer or work visa in a foreign country, always consult foreign recruitment agents who are licensed by the Ministry of External Affairs.
- The data published by the Government of Canada shows that cases filed by immigration lawyers have a higher success rate than cases filed by immigration consultants.
- As per the Supreme Court of India’s judgment dated March 2018, foreign immigration lawyers are not allowed to open an office or visit India frequently to promote their practice. Hence in the event, you wish to hire the services of a foreign immigration lawyer, you should do it with the help of an Indian lawyer who can protect your rights.
Read the Supreme Court of India’s judgment here | Read RBI Notification here