Before we deal with the nitty-gritty of the profession called immigration consultant, we should first apprise ourselves of the purpose of an immigration consultant. An immigration consultant is a certified professional who possesses the knowledge of the processes and procedures involved in the filing of immigration documents.
It is an immigration consultant who supervises much of the related paperwork on behalf of the clients, from drafting documents, preparing document packages to maintain formal correspondences with the immigration authorities. Thus, the responsibilities of an immigration consultant are critically important in a matter which concerns not only the client but also the countries intertwined in this whole thing.
It must have already become apparent that it takes more than managerial skills to become an immigration consultant, and this is applicable to the freelance community, which people consider not very competitive. The freelance community is characterized by cut-throat competition brewed by millions of participants, and the degree has only augmented with the advent of digitalisation.
If even still, you want to become a freelance immigration consultant, there are a couple of pointers you should be told before kick starting the journey to the making of a freelancer. In this article, we shall discuss four major points involved, and you must take due note of each and every one of them.
1. Job Requirements for becoming a freelance immigration consultant
Before we touch this issue in detail, let it be put up clearly that the job requirements may vary with the country in question, so you will have to personally look into its respective rules and requirements. Here under this head, we shall give away a general answer to the question: How to become an immigration consultant?
- The first and foremost thing is to secure the minimum educational qualification—a high school diploma or, in the case of India, qualification of 10+2 –from a recognized school.
- Once you have followed the aforesaid point, it is time to get a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in the field of business, communications or foreign language.
- The requirement of a Bachelor’s degree is to make you eligible for a law degree. In many countries, universities run a five-year law program which will enable you to forego the Bachelor’s degree requirement mentioned above.
- Now the most fundamental point of research is looking up on the question: whether the country allows immigration advising? This is important because a couple of countries don’t allow, and you may have to move to another country if the country of residence or study does not allow it.
- Get certifications in a foreign language. It is recommended that you opt for courses which teach you most commonly spoken languages across the world, most notably Spanish, German, French, and Mandarin. These certifications will help you hugely in getting preference over other applicants for the job.
- Formal education is good, but training is even better. You will have enrolled yourself to various immigration law courses to appreciate the field thoroughly; however, if you cannot put knowledge to practical use, there is no point at all. Work closely with experienced immigration consultants and learn the tricks of the profession.
Why is this important? It is important because the second most important thing in the resume is experience, and if you don’t have any, your resume will be immediately tossed into the dustbin.
- Oh, by the way, you will have to check whether the country where you wish to work as an immigration consultant requires a license. For example, in India, license is mandatory for consultants advising on immigration to New Zealand, with effect from 2010.
2. Skills needed to become a freelance immigration consultant
- Robust communication skills: Communication skills are principal to the success of a freelance immigration consultant. You will have to hone your listening skills so that you can offer a workable advice on a myriad of issues intricately connected with immigration.
- Research and analytical skills: There is a lot of research and analysis needed in immigration: contacting embassy officials, attorneys, government offices, and clients regularly, drafting the immigration documents, etc. All these activities require extensive research and analysis so as to minimize procedural hassles in clearances.
- Work ethic: It is important to stick by the Code of Conduct enforceable in the country of work. What more, you must maintain integrity and honesty throughout your interaction with officials, colleagues, and clients.
- Time Management: There is a humungous amount of paperwork involved in immigration such as coordination with clients in different time zones, and this requires adequate distribution of time in accordance with priorities. Time management will alleviate workload and consequential pressure and contribute to work efficiency.
- Mental endurance: As mentioned above, there is a hell lot of pressure involved in getting the paperwork done, and this requires from the consultant the ability to endure the effects.
3. Work opportunities for a freelance immigration consultant
All you need is a license and you can start working without the need to associate with any consultancy. You can work from home or your own office, whatever feels comfortable to you and start freelancing.
In order to keep in touch with jobs, you can make the best use of popular freelance websites such as freelance.com, upwork.com, worknhire.com, and linkedin.com. All you are required to do is to create an account, update a portfolio of relevant skills and submit applications. Keep in one mind one really important thing: draft the proposal (which is usually attached with the application) carefully and with due consideration state what makes you suitable for the job.
4. Pay scale of the freelance immigration consultant
The pay scale of an immigration consultant depends upon global factors such as the country of residence of the client, the experience and educational qualifications of the consultant, background of the client, the current immigration laws of the concerned country and whatnot.
If you have a lot of experience and exemplary educational qualification, you can pocket as much as Rs. 50,000 and beyond without much negotiations. This will, however, be not the case with rookie immigration consultants fresh in the world of immigration and of course, freelancing.