I’ll never forget the summer of 2019 because it was the summer I decided to quit practicing Canadian immigration law.
As I think back on it now, I had a pretty good professional life back then. I was living in Toronto and had built up a remote, niche law firm working almost exclusively with tech companies. I would help them with Global Talent Stream LMIAs and work permits, intra-company transfers, Express Entry and a few other types of applications.
I had great clients, referrals coming in and good systems in place to help me get the work done.
But there was one thing I couldn’t get over. One thing that kept me up at night and made me sick to think about when I woke up in the morning.
Now for those who don’t know, immigration applications are comprised of two types of documents: forms to fill out, and supporting documents (copies of passports, medical exams, etc.). Pretty simple stuff, but when you start helping dozens or hundreds of clients per year, it means you end up having to fill in and review a LOT of forms.
More specifically for me, since I was doing a lot of corporate immigration, it meant a lot of work permit applications. And a lot of work permit applications meant a lot of filling out and reviewing what is called IMM 1295 – the primary work permit application form. Keep in mind that the form itself is not very complex. It’s about 5 pages of questions covering a wide variety of information about the person applying for the work permit: personal information, contact information, work history, passport details, that kind of stuff.
Not rocket science, but the repetition is what drove me crazy. Let me take a quick step back to explain.
My name is Josh and I’m an immigration lawyer based in Toronto. I don’t practice immigration anymore, but in order to become a lawyer I went through a lot:
Suffice to say, it isn’t a walk in the park to become a lawyer and one of the main reasons I first decided to become one is to be able to use my brain to solve complex problems and use creativity and intelligence to help people in need.
While I was still doing a lot of those things, I was also spending a lot of time filling in and reviewing forms. Copy/pasting their info onto forms. Checking the spelling of the clients name. Comparing their answers on the forms to the supporting documents they sent to me.
Not exactly what I had hoped to be doing with my fancy degree and 7+ years of post-secondary education…
And on top of that, it’s not exactly how a law firm owner wants to be spending their time. In the legal world time = money, so the more time I spent on copy/pasting onto forms and other mundane tasks, the less time I could spend on marketing, sales, customer service and other valuable activities.
Trust me, I tried looking for solutions to my problem. There had to be tools out there that would make it easy to have these forms filled out automatically, and maybe even cross-check the data for me. There had to be a platform out there, built by Canadian immigration professionals, that took all of the manual tasks out of the process so we could focus on the important stuff.
But there wasn’t.
I scoured the internet, asked colleagues, got demos, tried what was available, and I couldn’t find anything that could fill out IMM 1295 quickly, easily and reliably.
It didn’t cross my mind at first, but eventually it hit me: maybe I should try to scratch my own itch? Maybe I could build the platform that I envisioned, that could automate all of the boring, manual parts of preparing immigration applications, so immigration professionals could focus on things like consultations, advising clients, reviewing final drafts, networking, or spending more time with their family and friends?
The day finally came, in the summer of 2019, when I woke up to an email from a client: they needed me to review and submit their work permit application, and the thought of opening another IMM 1295 made me physically sick to my stomach. I’m not sure if a computer file has ever made you feel physically sick before, but let me tell you: it isn’t a good feeling.
And that’s when I knew I had to do it.
I had to try and build a platform that could automate the boring parts of Canadian immigration because doing it “the old fashioned way” was going to drive me crazy and I couldn’t possibly be the only one who felt the same.
If you’re one of those immigration professionals who can relate, who is fed up with all of the manual tasks that come with the job, then reach out. Maybe our platform can help, or at the very least, you’ll know you have one more person in your corner that can feel your pain.