Detour to Canada

Should You Hire an Agency or Take the DIY Route? Here are the Pros and Cons of Each

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So, you’re almost ready to start your PR application to Canada. But then somebody told you, “Don’t hire an agency! Just do everything on your own and you’ll save money.”

Should you listen to them? Is it true that you can do your PR application on your own and without the help of an agency? 

In this post, I’m going to answer this question by giving you the pros and cons of hiring an agency and taking the DIY route to your Express Entry PR application to Canada. And then, after reading this, you decide.

Hiring an Agency vs DIY to Canada

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Now, the answers to my questions above are both NO and YES. 

Yes, you can indeed do your PR application without hiring an agency. All the information you need is available on the Government of Canada’s website. IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) even says that you don’t need to hire a representative (agency or consultant) for your application. One of my friends, Jo Anne (now a permanent resident here in Canada), did everything on her own, and here’s her story

But… no, don’t just listen to anyone who tells you to do it by yourself. You need to know first if DIY works best for you. Or, if hiring an agency is actually the better option.

In our Facebook group, Explore Your Ways to Canada, Jo Anne said, “I am a single applicant so it was a pretty straightforward application. I did tons of research about the whole process and decided that I can do it on my own (with the help of my consultant – Google)”.

She also shared the pros and cons of taking the DIY Express Entry route.

 

Pros and Cons of Taking the DIY Route 

PROS

  • You’ll save a lot of money since you don’t have to pay consultancy fees. You can use this money for other costs or reserve it for your pocket money instead.
  • You are in full control of the whole application process. You have the free hand to collect, prepare and review the required documents at your convenient time. You don’t have to worry that the agency might make a mistake or miss a submission as you have to do everything by yourself. In all honesty, as a bit of a control freak, I don’t think I can trust anybody with my PR application, so I opted for DIY. 
  • The ultimate satisfaction when you finally get your PR visa knowing that you did everything on your own (best feeling ever). By the time you receive your PR, you know so much about the Express Entry process, and you can help others too!

CONS

  • It will take a huge amount of time, resources, and effort on your part. Reviewing the process, collecting and preparing all the required documents, making sure all information you submit is correct and accurate can be OVERWHELMING for a lot of people. I have to handle a lot of admin and paperwork for mine, imagine if it’s for the whole family. One mistake is TOO many for the immigration process, so you have to be really careful. 
  • Immigrations laws change from time to time. You have to keep up with the changes/updates and be on top of everything. You can always check the IRCC website for more info. 

Jo Anne’s advice is to invest plenty of time in knowing and learning about the process. “The Express Entry system is not rocket science. If your experience and profile are clear and you are confident that you can do it on your own, go ahead with DIY application and save that $,” she added.

 

Pros and Cons of Hiring an Agency

Now, let’s find out the pros and cons of hiring an agency. Since we hired an agency ourselves, let me share my thoughts this time. 

Just an important note before you go on. 

Not all agencies or consultants are made the same. Some are authorized to charge you for a fee in exchange for immigration advice and services, while others are not. Be careful of these unauthorized ones, because IRCC has a warning that they won’t deal with them. If they find out that you’re using an unauthorized agency or consultant, they might return or refuse your application. You can read here for more details. If you want to check if the agency you plan to hire is legit, check here for a self-assessment questionnaire.

Now, let’s say you’re dealing with authorized consultants or agencies. Again, some are excellent at their jobs while others are just so-so. That means the pros I listed here are just generally-speaking.

So, if you decide to hire an agency based on these pros, find out first if they are are authorized to represent you. Second is to make sure to find one that’s good at doing their jobs. 

Let’s now go to the pros and cons of hiring an agency. 

PROS 

  • You will be guided properly by a professional on the PR application process, and on which immigration program best fits you based on your qualifications. 
  • You feel at ease knowing that an immigration expert is helping you, plus the fact that someone can double-check your documents and ensure correctness.
  • You don’t need to spend so much time doing your own research. If you’ve already tried reading IRCC’s website about immigrating to Canada, believe me… you’ll get info-overload! 
  • They are experts on the immigration process so they know most of the rules and they can explain them to you properly (so you don’t have to second-guess what it actually means).
  • Some situations are complicated, so hiring an agency will help you better on what to do since what you’ll find online doesn’t apply to everyone.

Again, this is generally-speaking because not all agencies or consultants do an excellent job. 

CONS 

  • Additional expenses since agencies charge professional fees (and it’s a lot of money, which is reasonable considering their skills and expertise).
  • There’s a middle-man between you and the immigration office, so there’s a potential delay in communication. Unless your agency responds in a time-efficient manner (and depending on the agency you choose, sometimes it might take days before you receive an important email from the immigration office. So it’s important to choose your agency wisely, preferably through recommendations).

 

Extra notes about hiring agency

If you chose an agency or a consultant who is efficient and prompt, then you’re lucky because your application process will hopefully be smooth (or close to it). You’ll be able to comply with all the requirements and submit them on time with fewer to no mistakes. Sometimes, mistakes can cost you more than what you could have spent if only you hired an agency.

It’s also important to note that agencies are there to assist you in your application, and NOT to guarantee that you will get a PR visa. The decision will come from Canada, and hiring an agency won’t give you a higher CRS score. 

Perhaps, peace of mind? 

But other than that, agencies are not to be blamed if you don’t get a PR visa especially if you complied accordingly and on time (unless there’s really a mistake on their part).

If you’re wondering which agency we hired on our PR application, here’s my post about them along with my honest review of their service. I also gave some tips when choosing and hiring an agency. 

Now, if you ask me, did we regret hiring an agency? If I’m going to look back and imagine ourselves doing a DIY PR application, I’m not sure how that’s going to work. My husband and I were busy with so many things back then. So perhaps at that time, hiring an agency was the better option for us. But personally, I might have considered doing it DIY.

 

So, To Hire or To DIY?

Now that we’ve given you the pros and cons of hiring an agency versus taking the DIY route, the decision is now yours to make. But feel free to continue asking around, because after all, this is a big decision to make. 

We’re talking here about your future. 

The question to ask yourself is: would you rather save time on your PR application? Or would you rather save money?

Just remember that whether you hire an agency or take the DIY route, it won’t affect your chances of getting a PR visa to Canada. IRCC will give you points based on your credentials. So hiring an agency won’t give you an edge.

And please don’t believe anyone when they say, “we have connections from IRCC”. It doesn’t work that way, or at least, that’s what IRCC says. 

Hope this post helps you decide. 

This post has been checked by Grammarly
Kevin and Kris

About the author:

JK Legaspi is a permanent resident of Canada since 2018. She and her family lives in the beautiful Niagara Region. As the founder of Detour To Canada, she aims to help aspiring and future immigrants reach their Canadian dreams by sharing her family’s own immigration and newcomer story. 

Do you have some questions about immigrating to Canada? Join our Facebook group, “Explore Your Ways to Canada” to ask your questions and meet other immigrants.

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