Many prospective visa applicants have asked why they need a South African immigration lawyer to prepare their visa application. Understandably, applicants often want to know what additional benefits they stand to gain if they engage the services of a professional South African immigration lawyer in preference to a migration agent or consultant – or if they prepare their own South African visa application.
So what are the differences between these and what do they mean for your prospects of making a successful application?
Key Differences between Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents
In South Africa, any individual or firm providing immigration advice or assistance must be a registered service provider. Migration practitioners are regulated by the guidelines and policies of this authority. This is the case for both South African migration agents and South African lawyers who practise immigration law.
The most obvious difference between migration lawyers and migration agents is the level of training and regulation that applies to each.
Training and Experience
Many prospective visa applicants are unaware of the significant difference in legal training undertaken by South African immigration lawyers as compared to non-lawyer migration agents.
Migration agents are not required to complete anywhere near this level of training or undertake any practical legal work, beyond the scope of their migration studies, before they are permitted to offer their services to the public.
South African Visas and the laws that govern them
Obtaining your visa is a matter of law, so a full understanding of the law and how it applies to your circumstances is of vital importance in preparing and submitting a quality immigration visa application.
South African immigration law can be complex, and it is continually evolving. Lawyers are often required to analyse, interpret and apply the legislation, case law and government policy on a daily basis. Immigration lawyers are skilled in working with this kind of complexity as a result of their legal training and experience.
A further important distinction between immigration lawyers and Migration Agents relates to the preparation of legal submissions. When it comes to preparing high-quality legal submissions to accompany your visa application, a lawyers training and experience is an invaluable asset towards the potential success of your application.
A well prepared legal submission will ensure that each of the visa criteria required for your visa grant is properly addressed and supported by appropriate documentation.
Getting Your South African Visa Application Right the First Time
Everyone hopes that their visa application is done right the first time. However, There are many instances where Applicants have wasted time, effort and money pursuing avoidable legal proceedings in South African courts. Had these applicants received appropriate legal advice and the benefit of a well-considered migration strategy at the outset, their pathway would have been less difficult and costly.
Benefits of using an immigration lawyer
They know the process inside out:
Any good quality immigration lawyer would have been through the visa application process countless times. They will know exactly what is required, what you have to do, and what paperwork you need to provide to support your visa application. This will save you countless hours of worry.
They are respected professionals:
When the immigration department looks at your visa application, they will immediately recognise that it has been compiled by an immigration lawyer. This will instantly improve your standing in their eyes, and will immensely boost your chances of having your application approved.
They will take care of the entire process, including any problems:
An immigration lawyer will take care of any issues that may arise during the visa application process without you having to worry. During the application process, there will be questions thrown back and forwards between you and the immigration department, requests for additional documents or evidence supporting your application, and many other queries that need to be dealt with. An immigration lawyer will deal with all of these quickly and professionally.
They simplify the complexities of immigration law:
Since immigration law is so complex, it can often be extremely hard for the average person to understand exactly what they need to do. An immigration lawyer will simplify this for you, answering any questions that you may have while ensuring that you are left feeling comfortable and understanding the entire process.