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There are many attorneys ready to answer complex questions on immigration to Canada. But what about initial questions that individuals or even businesses may have about visiting or relocating to the popular country?

To meet this need, Exeo, a Montreal-based law firm focused on immigration and related issues, is now offering an Immigration Virtual Assistant (IVA) designed to answer the questions coming from the general public.

The firm “felt it was important to accommodate as many requests for information from the general public as possible, while maintaining high and verifiable quality standards,” Marc-André Séguin, an attorney at Exeo and co-creator of the IVA, told Legaltech News. “The solutions that are available with today’s technological advances can be put to good use in our field of work to provide answers and transparency to the market.”

Séguin explained the offering is “powered by an artificial intelligence that is designed to simulate the first interactions that a person interested in immigrating, visiting, studying or working in Canada would have with an immigration professional.”

The IVA also was designed to be a time-saver. Typically, in just five or 10 minutes users can get answers to their questions and overall guidance—that otherwise may have required many hours of online research. By using a question and answer format, it efficiently narrows down their options based on their specific needs, Séguin said. 

“Because it allows for direct and personalized interactions, a few minutes with IVA can help a person save hours of research on otherwise inaccessible, incomprehensible (and sometimes inaccurate) information platforms,” Séguin explained. “It is intended to make the immigration process more transparent and understandable.”

Specifically, the IVA provides information on Canada’s many immigration programs and categories. He pointed out that answers to immigration questions can be complex, especially with some countries of origin.

The information from the IVA is provided at no cost and is accessible via Facebook Messenger. The IVA covers more than 25 immigration categories, including work permits, student visas and permanent residence.

“People may not want to pay for consultations in their initial research stages,” Séguin said. “If someone is ready to move on to more analytical questions, they can then communicate with us directly through the platform.”

“We also wanted IVA to be free because we want the public to be fully informed on the many ways they can come to Canada,” Séguin said. “IVA is also a good way for individuals and their employers to safeguard against potential ill-intentioned consultants and identify their needs before moving forward with paid services, whether with us or other firms. It helps raise the bar for everyone. In our line of work, that is a much-needed development.”

Moreover, current interest in visiting or moving to Canada creates a lot of interest in an immigration virtual assistant.

“Canada is an increasingly popular destination for immigrants, visitors, students and temporary workers,” Séguin said. “We are experiencing increasing volume in demand for immigration services from all over the world.”

The firm makes sure the IVA has current legal information by using researchers and lawyers who “monitor changes to Canadian law in order to keep IVA as up to date as possible. The current version covers about 25 immigration programs and categories, and we are working to add more in the coming weeks,” Séguin said. Before releasing the IVA, the development team undertook more than 1,000 hours of research and programming.

The IVA is currently available in English and will soon be available in French and Spanish.

There are many attorneys ready to answer complex questions on immigration to Canada. But what about initial questions that individuals or even businesses may have about visiting or relocating to the popular country?

To meet this need, Exeo, a Montreal-based law firm focused on immigration and related issues, is now offering an Immigration Virtual Assistant (IVA) designed to answer the questions coming from the general public.

The firm “felt it was important to accommodate as many requests for information from the general public as possible, while maintaining high and verifiable quality standards,” Marc-André Séguin, an attorney at Exeo and co-creator of the IVA, told Legaltech News. “The solutions that are available with today’s technological advances can be put to good use in our field of work to provide answers and transparency to the market.”

Séguin explained the offering is “powered by an artificial intelligence that is designed to simulate the first interactions that a person interested in immigrating, visiting, studying or working in Canada would have with an immigration professional.”

The IVA also was designed to be a time-saver. Typically, in just five or 10 minutes users can get answers to their questions and overall guidance—that otherwise may have required many hours of online research. By using a question and answer format, it efficiently narrows down their options based on their specific needs, Séguin said. 

“Because it allows for direct and personalized interactions, a few minutes with IVA can help a person save hours of research on otherwise inaccessible, incomprehensible (and sometimes inaccurate) information platforms,” Séguin explained. “It is intended to make the immigration process more transparent and understandable.”

Specifically, the IVA provides information on Canada’s many immigration programs and categories. He pointed out that answers to immigration questions can be complex, especially with some countries of origin.

The information from the IVA is provided at no cost and is accessible via Facebook Messenger. The IVA covers more than 25 immigration categories, including work permits, student visas and permanent residence.

“People may not want to pay for consultations in their initial research stages,” Séguin said. “If someone is ready to move on to more analytical questions, they can then communicate with us directly through the platform.”

“We also wanted IVA to be free because we want the public to be fully informed on the many ways they can come to Canada,” Séguin said. “IVA is also a good way for individuals and their employers to safeguard against potential ill-intentioned consultants and identify their needs before moving forward with paid services, whether with us or other firms. It helps raise the bar for everyone. In our line of work, that is a much-needed development.”

Moreover, current interest in visiting or moving to Canada creates a lot of interest in an immigration virtual assistant.

“Canada is an increasingly popular destination for immigrants, visitors, students and temporary workers,” Séguin said. “We are experiencing increasing volume in demand for immigration services from all over the world.”

The firm makes sure the IVA has current legal information by using researchers and lawyers who “monitor changes to Canadian law in order to keep IVA as up to date as possible. The current version covers about 25 immigration programs and categories, and we are working to add more in the coming weeks,” Séguin said. Before releasing the IVA, the development team undertook more than 1,000 hours of research and programming.

The IVA is currently available in English and will soon be available in French and Spanish.