The immigration process: a new business?

When it comes to move to another country, people must take into account the expenses that are required in order to follow the process in a legal way. Many countries apply fees to most, if not all, the papers and procedures required in order to be granted a temporary or permanent residence. But can we consider this a new kind of business for governments and people offering consulting services?

Many people every year try to find a better opportunity in another country for many reasons, which can be economical, political or even of pleasure. However, the process of moving abroad can be very expensive and frustrating. The various types of visas offered to foreign citizens are countless and they apply to different kind of situations. The costs vary according to the country and the various immigration programs offered, and some countries charge high fees, probably to discourage immigration from the lower classes, to avoid the risk of having public charges in their territory.

Most countries also require various documents to identify the applicant as well as check if they are good citizens and most likely to live a peaceful life in the country of destination. All immigration processes require the applicants to show a police certificate from the country of residence/birth, no matter if the applicant is going to stay temporarily or for a longer period/permanently.
In addition to police certificates and other kind of documents required in the process, translations are required in countries where the language is different. Translations are not always offered by the local public offices, and most of the time people are required to find a certified translator, which are, in some cases, really expensive and profiteering of the situation.

Last, but not least, countries like the USA require a medical check to applicants for permanent residence, which must be done in a recognized medical center. These centers apply higher fees than other local doctors, therefore this adds to the expense to the process. The medical check fee is non-refundable, no matter if the applicant is granted a visa or had their application rejected.

The cost of immigration does not only involve visas though, many people ask for immigration help and consultancy to an immigration lawyer or agency, which is responsible for taking care of the bureaucracy for the applicant as well as giving information on how to apply for a job and the rights one is granted with the residence permit they are applying to. In the latest years, many new agencies and attorneys specialized in immigration services and immigration law started in different countries. India is one of the countries with the most number of these kinds of businesses in the world, yet immigration from there is very common, especially to countries like Canada.
Although many people do not know about them, these kinds of consultancy services are also offered in many destination countries, and they offer their services for a smaller charge or even for free to newcomers. A good example could be the YMCA in North America: most foreigners believe this is only a sport organization, but it also offers various social services to immigrants in Canada and the USA.
Another example could be “Settlement.org” which is a Canadian organization which offers these kinds of services to newcomers to Ontario. They give information about how to settle in the new country both online and in their local office.

Why is then immigration this expensive? Why do countries charge high fees to visa applicants? The visa process is most of the time complicated, and there is no guarantee of being accepted into the country of application, which means that the money spent by applicants are only going to inflate others’ pockets, in majority when a visa gets rejected, and the applicant must apply and go through the entire process again.

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