By Amira Zubairi, Canadian Startup News |
Montreal-based EXEO, a law firm that specializes in immigration and international mobility, has launched its Immigration Virtual Assistant (IVA).
IVA is a free virtual assistant that aims to help people looking to immigrate to Canada. EXEO said users can interact with IVA via Facebook Messenger in a Q&A format and learn about 25 immigration program categories such as work permit applications, student visas, and permanent residence programs.
Through IVA, EXEO is hoping to help people who find it difficult to go through Canada’s immigration application process, as well as provide information about what resources are available to them and which applications they are eligible for. The law firm says the tool is meant to “democratize access to information, increase transparency, and facilitate processing applications.”
“We witness daily the first-hand stress induced by the immigration application process,” said Marc-André Séguin, a partner at EXEO and co-founder of IVA. “It’s very tedious and can become complicated depending on the potential immigrant’s country of origin. We wanted our expertise to benefit people, whether they are looking to settle down, work, or study in Canada. Our solution was to offer them a tool that simplifies the initial steps of the process.”
EXEO said IVA’s content is vetted by lawyers and researchers that track changes to Canada’s immigration policies and regulations. The company added that IVA was created with over 1,000 hours of research and programming that involved collaboration between lawyers, researchers, copywriters, programmers, graphic designers, AI specialists, and web designers.
“Canada is growing more popular overseas, and applications are pouring in daily,” said Francis Tourigny, a co-founder of IVA. “We were getting more and more calls from people having trouble making sense of the information available on the Internet. We’re proud to offer a technology tool that answers applicant’s initial questions, free of charge.”
EXEO is not the only Montreal company to launch a chatbot that aims to help immigrants. In February, following US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, Montreal-based Botler also launched an AI-assisted immigration bot that streamlines the immigration process in Quebec. While the company was supposed to launch the bot in April, the executive order sped things up for the company.
Currently, EVA is only available in English, however, EXEO said users will be able to communicate with the bot in French as of August 8. EXEO also plans to offer IVA in other languages in the coming months.