The immigration consultant requirements Canada lists aim to ensure competent and ethical practice. All immigration professionals need to meet these to practice in Canada.
From language to education, the requirements constitute the minimum level of competence of an RCIC. To be either, you need to display mastery of English or French, pass exams, and take courses.
Many people wish to be immigration consultants in Canada. In fact, Job Bank Canada predicts favorable job prospects for consultants in the next three years. So, it would not be far-fetched to think that many wish to capitalize on this.
This article will explain the 7 immigration consultant requirements Canada mandates.
Legal Status As One Of The Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Has
One of the immigration consultant requirements Canada has is a legal status.
Legal status refers to the nature of one’s residence in Canada. Clearly, many people can be said to enjoy a legal status in the country. Students and temporary foreign workers can qualify as being legal in Canada.
After all, both are on temporary resident visas or TRVs. Clients can only get TRVs through Canada’s visa application process.
Despite being legal, those on temporary visas cannot be immigration professionals. Nobody on a student visa or work permit can apply to be a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC). Nor can temporary residents be regulated as international student immigration advisers (RISIAs).
Temporary workers or international students cannot be immigration lawyers either.
So, who can qualify?
Under the ICCRC’s guidelines, there are three types of people who can receive certification from the Council.
According to the immigration consultant requirements Canada announced, Canadian citizens can be immigration consultants. As citizens, they have several benefits and privileges. One of these privileges is being able to work as an immigration consultant or international student adviser.
Canadian citizens need to prove their citizenship upon applying to the ICCRC. While there are many documents for this, one is the best. The best document is a Canadian passport.
Permanent residents are also eligible to be RCICs. In Canada, a permanent resident can apply for the regulated Canadian immigration consultant (RCIC) Entry-to-practice exam.
As well, permanent residents are eligible for ICCRC accredited programs. These programs are courses designed to prepare the following for the rigors of immigration consulting:
- Aspiring regulated Canadian immigration consultants (RCICs)
- Prospective regulated international student immigration advisers (RISIAs)
- Immigration lawyers
Permanent residents can sign up for any of the two ICCRC-accredited programs. Completing the courses is a must for the RCIC Entry-to-Practice examination.
Under section 5 of the Indian Act, registered Indians must be in an Indian register. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) maintains this register. The agency is responsible for adding names to the register.
Those in the register are registered Indians, otherwise known as status Indians. Often, registered Indians are members of Canada’s indigenous groups except:
- The Inuit
- The Metis
Like Canadian citizens, registered Indians may work several occupations. One of these occupations is immigration consulting. Registered Indians can apply for ICCRC-accredited programs. After that, they may take the licensure exams to be RCICs or RISIAs.
The Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Has On Language Skills
Other than languages spoken by indigenous peoples, Canada has two main languages. These languages are English and French. For this reason, many occupations and positions in Canada require proficiency in either one of these languages.
A high level of skill is a must for those in Canada and also immigrants. So, what is considered a high level of skill?
The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is the standard for language measurement. For the most part, it is the standard against which English is measured. A score of CLB 9 would indicate advanced language usage.
For French, The Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens is the counterpart of the CLB. A score of 9 in this benchmark is also a “high” level of language skill.
In short, an aspiring immigration consultant must score at least CLB or NCLC 9 on any language test. The score makes him or her eligible to apply for ICCRC courses. It also makes an aspiring consultant eligible for the RCIC EPE.
At the time of application, a language test result needs to be valid. For most tests, the validity period is about two years.
English language proficiency is one of the immigration consultant requirements Canada has. A score of CLB 8 is the rule. To date, the following are acceptable tests for English:
- The Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP General)
- The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- Canadian Academic English Language test (CAEL)
To date, the only test that has a one-to-one correspondence with the CLB is the CELPIP. For example, a score of 8 in the CELPIP is also 8 in the CLB. Other scores from other tests have CLB equivalents.
French Language Skill
The ICCRC also accepts French language test scores. For Quebec, French test scores receive higher priority.
The following are acceptable French test scores for the ICCRC:
- Test d’Évaluation de Français pour le Canada (TEF Canada)
- Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF)
- The Service d’Evaluation Linguistique test (SEL)
The ICCRC does not accept the Test de Connaissance du Français. Why? Because this French language proficiency exam is a need for immigration purposes. Not for applying to courses and exams of the ICCRC.
As mentioned earlier, an aspiring consultant needs to get a score of 9. But, it is possible to combine the scores of one French language test and an English language test. Any combination is possible except combining CAEL and SEL results.
Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Has For Education
To ensure the competence of its members, the ICCRC has requirements for education. Educational credentials are a must for ICCRC-accredited programs. As mentioned earlier, an ICCRC program is a requirement for the RCIC exam.
This particular requirement has undergone some changes.
Before 2019, a high school graduate could apply for ICCRC-accredited programs. Needless to say, high school graduates may also be eligible for the RCIC EPE exam. A secondary school qualification also sufficed in Quebec.
But, the introduction of two new ICCRC accredited programs in 2020 brought changes. Among these changes were changes to the educational requirements.
Educational Requirements For Those Pursuing Graduate Diploma Program
Last August 2020, the ICCRC announced the Graduate Diploma Program. The Graduate Diploma Program is one of two programs that replaces the earlier Immigration Practitioners Program.
Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario offers this program. The university requires candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field. As well, candidates need to have at least a B average on their transcripts.
Educational credentials do not need to be from a Canadian institution. Immigrants can submit foreign-earned diplomas. But, the equivalence to a Canadian credential must be established.
For this reason, foreign-earned diplomas need to come with an educational credential assessment ECA.
Educational Requirements For The Specialized Graduate Diploma In Canadian And Quebec Immigration Regulations
The other program is the Universite de Montreal’s DESS in Canadian and Quebec Immigration Regulations. The DESS program allows immigration consultants to practice in Quebec.
Like Queen’s University, the Universite de Montreal admits candidates with a degree. Candidates or applicants need to hold bachelor’s degrees.
For credentials earned overseas, an ECA needs to accompany the application.
Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Has For RCIC EPE Preparation
The RCIC EPE exam is among the immigration consultant requirements Canada has for future RCICs. But, before the exam, aspiring immigration consultants need to prepare.
The RCIC EPE exam is comprehensive in the topics covered. Preparing for the exam is not only a way to maximize the chances of success. The ICCRC has made it a requirement.
To prepare for the exam, candidates would have had to sit in for various Immigration Practitioner Programs. But, as of August 2020, the ICCRC has announced new programs. These new ICCRC accredited programs will phase out the older Immigration Practitioner Programs.
The Council has authorized two institutions to provide these programs. The new programs are:
Queen’s University’s Graduate Diploma In Immigration And Citizenship Law (GDipICL)
Queen’s University is in Kingston, Ontario. It is the institution that offers the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law (GDipICL) program.
The program lasts roughly three terms. It consists of nine courses. Each course covers one aspect of the Canadian immigration process. There are courses on various immigration programs. The legal and historical framework of Canadian immigration is also a focal point of discussion.
As well, there are courses on programs for vulnerable populations like refugees. The program also has courses on business management for RCICs.
Students or candidates have two choices of time frames:
- Full-time (course completion after 12 months)
- Part-time (course completion after 24 to 36 months)
The Universite de Montreal’s DESS In Canadian And Quebec Immigration Regulations
Another authorized institution is the Universite de Montreal. This university in Quebec offers the Specialized Graduate Diploma in Canadian and Quebec Immigration Regulations.
This program has two aims:
- To prepare students for the RCIC EPE
- To prepare students for a career in immigration consulting in Quebec
The program has similar offerings to the GDipICL. Be that as it may, there are a few additional courses. In the DESS program are courses on Quebec’s autonomy in immigration. Also included is a course on Quebec’s unique immigration policies and programs.
Family immigration is also an entire course. It is a focal point of discussion unlike in the GDipICL.
French is the medium of instruction. So, students need to have a high level of French to participate in the program.
The RCIC EPE Exam As One Of The Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Has
For aspiring RCICs, the RCIC exam is one of the immigration consultant requirements Canada needs. By this stage, a candidate will have met the previous requirements.
The RCIC EPE exam lasts roughly three hours. It consists of 140 questions. The questions are multiple-choice. These questions test general knowledge, as well as critical thinking. They cover all aspects of the Canadian immigration process.
Some of the questions test general knowledge of programs and policies. Other questions are scenario-based.
After passing the test, the candidate will need to submit one more document to the ICCRC.
Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Announced On Background And Good Conduct
The ICCRC requires a background check of its potential members. A background check aims to reveal certain information about applicants. The information must be included in a statutory declaration.
One of the contents of a statutory declaration is the place of residence. There may be multiple places of residence. Whatever the case, these need to be in the statutory declaration.
The statutory declaration must also include a police clearance certificate. The police clearance certificate must come from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The police clearance certificate must show:
- The applicant’s information
- The absence of criminal offenses
Past incidences or criminal activities may still allow someone to be immigration professional. They might, however, draw the suspicion of the ICCRC’s registrar.
As regards the police clearances, here are some considerations:
- If a candidate has lived in a foreign country, he or she needs a police certificate from this area.
- A police clearance certificate is valid for a year. So, if a person chooses to re-write the test, he or she may do so within a year.
- Any criminal offenses on record need an explanation on the statutory declaration’s last page.
Immigration Consultant Requirements Canada Enforces Ensure Competent And Ethical Practice.
Canada through the ICCRC requires certain things from aspiring RCICs and RISIAs. The Council requires these for a reason.
Collectively, the requirements for immigration consultants protect and serve clients. After all, the ideal RCIC has the following characteristics:
- Is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or Canadian citizen
- Can communicate well
- Knowledgeable of Canadian and Quebec immigration
- Is of good background and character
The immigration consultant requirements Canada has ensured these.