A Guideline to Becoming a Canadian Immigration Consultant

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Canada is currently campaigning aggressively to enroll immigrants to meet its skills shortage and deal with the country’s low birth rate. At this point, immigration consultants are playing an important role in helping people achieve their Canadian dream. To become an immigration consultant, there are certain procedures to follow because Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recognizes only authorized immigration consultants.

These immigration consultants are called Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) once they are licensed and regulated by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). An immigration consultant offers support to those who are seeking to immigrate to Canada for reasons such as: study, travel, work, or permanent relocation.

Most of the immigration consultants live in Canada and are allowed to practice overseas. They offer professional services in matters regarding to preparing documents for immigration applications, for example, study permits and visas. Once the applicant comes to Canada, RCICs can provide them further services such as offering help with citizenship applications.

How to Get Training for Immigration Consultant Program?

To become a consultant, a person has to be enrolled in an immigration program to get immigration consultant training. There are different schools accredited by the ICCRC that offer immigration programs. Some of these schools are: AOL College, Ashton College, Humber College, Bow Valley College, Seneca College, etc. The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) also recognizes the programs offered by these schools.

To become a member of the ICCRC, candidates are required to appear in a written exam. A person is qualified to enter the exam and later on, become a member of the RCIC on the following terms:

A candidate:

  • is at least 18 years old;
  • is a Canadian citizen, Canadian permanent resident, or a Registered (Status) Indian within the significance of the Indian Act (Canada);
  • is a graduate from an accredited immigration program;
  • achieves the minimum needed score on an ICCRC-approved English or French language proficiency test;
  • provides satisfactory police certificates from every country he/she lived for six months or more since the age of 18;
  • Must get Statutory Declaration – Background and Good Conduct attesting good character and conduct.

Once a candidate clears the test, he/she can then apply for membership at the CSIC. In order to be recognized as a consultant by the CIC, a candidate must be a member of this society. The CSIC site mentions all the details regarding documents to submit, forms to fill, and the fee for membership.

There are currently about 4,000 RCICs. Many of them are enterprisers running their own consulting agencies and offering immigration and citizenship services. Some Canadian immigration consultants work:

  • For different RCICs
  • In settlement organizations
  • In law agencies that offer immigration services
  • For consulting firms offering immigration services

Consultants the graduate from the Immigration Practitioner program can use this as a basis for advance education and training. This program also serves as a valuable addition to some professionals. Some RCICs are:

  • Paralegals
  • Lawyers who were trained and licensed abroad
  • Investment consultants
  • Leaders in non-profit organizations

The IRPA Act

It is required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that any individual who offers immigration support to another person either for a fee or other consideration is a member in good standing of:

  • a law society in Canada,
  • The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).
  • the Chamber des notaries du Québec, or

If anyone is found guilty of violating the IRPA, he/she may face up to a $100,000 fine, be jailed for more than two years, or both.

Lawyers don’t have to be a member of the CSIC to be an immigration consultant. But they must be recognized by the CIC and therefore, required to be a member in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society.