BY: DELLIA RISMAY
Are you or someone you know trying to make Canada your new home? You’re not alone. Ever since First Nations communities co-habited with European settlers, Canada has been a land of immigration. According to the City of Toronto’s official website, between 2001 and 2006, 1,109,980 immigrants were welcomed to Canada, and of those, about a quarter (267,855) arrived in Toronto. And there are some pretty great draws to officially becoming a Canadian, like universal healthcare, and living in a country where the head of government does not engage in Twitter tirades. There are also the uniquely Canadian things you have to get used to; our love of maple syrup, our fascination with hockey, our strange affinity for the word ‘sorry’. But before you can officially add those Canadian quirks to your own personal list of quirks, you have to go through a process that often brings dread to those who are familiar with it: filling out immigration forms. Luckily, Travidocs is here to help.
Created by Richard Brown, Travidocs is your easy, cost-effective guide to getting through those piles of immigration paperwork. When Richard moved to Canada from his homeland of Jamaica, he found that it was difficult to get the help and support he needed in order for his immigration process to go through smoothly. “I’m an immigrant, and I saw that there was a huge disconnect between representatives and their clients. So, I wanted to bring that back and bridge the gap and make sure clients get the best services,” says Richard. He has a passion for all things immigration and wants to help families considering either temporary or permanent residency to achieve their goals. At Travidocs, Richard and his team help people with a variety of immigration needs, whether you’re looking to apply for citizenship, renew your permanent residency, or get a visa—whether it be a visitor’s visa, a working visa, or a student visa.
The philosophy at Travidocs is to provide a low-cost service that guides its clients through applications. “We tell our clients what to do, rather than paying us to do it,” Richard says. “We give the forms, we put it up, and that’s it.” The beauty of the service is that it is an online platform: you simply log on to travidocs.com, select what kind of application you’re interested in, register with an email address or a social media account (such as Facebook), verify a few quick details about yourself, and you’re registered. After the registration process, you are taken through an initial assessment, where you’re asked questions like what country you are applying from, your country of citizenship (this should be the country your passport is issued from), and whether or not you are in a common law union. From there, you’ll be asked more questions such as what languages you are proficient in, your education, and your employment background. Depending on what kind of application you are doing, the online form may generate more detailed questions.
However, just because Travidocs is an online service, don’t think that means there’s never any personal contact with a staff member. After clients get their visas, they receive a welcoming message, and for visitor’s visas, a brief guide that has suggestions on interesting places to go to. But Richard still remembers the story of one particular family he reached out to. “There was a family, […] the parents were here for a birthday party, which was more of a surprise party. One of the parents, the mom, her sister I think was from Brazil, and they haven’t seen each other for thirty years, so she came here. So, the family used Travidocs to do the visitor’s visa for those visiting. They were eligible so they got their visa. They sent us an email after the fact with the family at the birthday party. That was amazing,” he recounts.
Though Travidocs receives submissions from a variety of applicants, Richard says there’s one demographic that steadily uses the service: international students. With the abundance of world-class post-secondary institutions in the GTA, this comes as no surprise. Richard explains that because of the nature of Travidocs, students are drawn towards it. “It’s cost-effective, and as they’re applying for school, they need to get their visa and paperwork done,” he says. The fact that everything is done digitally also makes it an attractive service for students to use; all correspondence is given to clients via the website’s dashboard. Individuals from Trinidad, India, Guyana, and Jamaica also make up a rather large portion of their clientele. Bearing this in mind, Travidocs connects these clients with staff members who are also from the Caribbean and South America. “That’s just to show we are very dedicated to making sure the talent that we utilize is from our community,” Richard explains.
When you use Travidocs, not only can you rest assured that you are dealing with someone who has been through exactly what you are going through, but you can also rest easy knowing the staff is fully qualified to handle your file. Richard is an award-winning graduate of Humber College, where he studied immigration consultation and is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant or RCIC for short. This means he is a legally authorized representative and has been specially trained to deal with Canadian immigration law.
If yourself or one of your loved ones is planning to go through the immigration process soon, Richard has some advice for you. He stresses how important it is to ensure the correct information is being used to fill out the online forms, as that is the information that will be used on the application. Richard also says that patience is key, and how important it is to not put all of your eggs in one basket. “Immigration never goes along very fast…I think the most important thing for people to know is that it’s a 50/50 chance for everything,” Richard says. However, it is definitely worth the try. “Just take the jump.”