The Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Profession Explained | MyConsultant

The Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Profession Explained

The Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Profession Explained

If you are considering hiring someone to help you navigate the Canadian immigration system, selecting an immigration and citizenship consultant is a wise and good option for you.

Read on to find out the reasons.

Immigrating to Canada is a tremendous undertaking. It starts with the idea of taking up residence in the Great White North that may or may not share the same language, culture, or tradition as where you are from, continues with research and preparation, and ends in success where a new life starts with hopes or lands in desperation where life is stuck in the middle of nowhere with daunting uncertainties. Why could the same Canadian dream bear the results like two worlds apart? The reason lies in research and preparation. 

It’s true that some people are able to conduct their research, lay out their immigration plans, and carry it all through. However, to do so not only requires you to have legal skills to grasp the applicable Canadian immigration law, regulations, and policies but also sophisticated reading, writing, and organizing abilities and skills to collect and organize the right supporting documents. Plus, with the modernization of the application systems, you also need to be tech-savvy. Not many are as such. Therefore, a large portion of would-be immigrants rely on a third party to help them prepare for their immigration journey and walk them through it. If you are one among them, the quality of your representatives’ representation makes a significant difference. In this case, the research for you to do is to find an ethical and competent authorized representative. Hiring an Immigration and Citizenship Consultant is a good option for you.

The federally established Immigration and Citizenship Consultants profession

Immigration and Citizenship Consultants and its variations are designations that can ONLY be used by the licensees of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) according to the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Act, S.C. 2019, c. 29, s. 292 (the College Act). Section 2 of the College Act defines Immigration and Citizenship Consultants as one group of authorized representatives prescribed by section 91(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. 27 (IRPA). Section 77 prohibits anyone who is not a licensees of CICC to present themselves as an “immigration consultant,” “citizenship consultant,” “international student immigration advisor” or any variation or abbreviation of the titles. Therefore, anyone who claims to be an immigration and citizenship consultant or of similar professional must be a licensee of CICC who is subject to the Code of Professional Conduct for College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants Licensees: SOR/2022-128 (the Code) and CICC regulations. Otherwise, it is a red flag for you to check if they are UAPs and act accordingly for self-protection.

Licensees of CICC are also known as Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Students Immigration Advisors (RISIA). RCICs consist of two classes of licensees: RCICs and RCIC-IRBs. RCICs are authorized to provide immigration advice and services except for matters concerning the proceedings of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). RCIC-IRBs are RCICs with specialized knowledge of the IRB proceedings and thus are authorized to provide all immigration advice and services including matters involving IRB proceedings. RISIAs are employees of the designated learning institutions (DLI) who play a limited role in providing immigration advice about study permits and other permits related to study permits and temporary resident visas; they are not authorized to represent you in immigration or citizenship matters or complete forms for you.

The advantages of hiring an RCIC

When in need of an immigration and citizenship consultant, the advantages of hiring an RCIC are evident.

First, RCICs are well-trained legal professionals who have the knowledge and skill set to guide you from start to finish. Though their advice and services, generally, are not free, the time saved and solutions provided are worth the professional service fee.

Second, RCICs are regulated, which means they, if retained by you, are obligated to act in your best interest. 

Third, your best interest is also safeguarded by CICC through a wide range of measures, including the requirements of RCICs’ compliance with the Code and the CICC regulations, and maintaining their competency on an ongoing basis

Fourth, when disputes arise between you and your RCIC representative, there is a cost-effective and efficient way for the you to get it addressed. 

Find an RCIC to represent you

To find an RCIC, go to the CICC register. Another option is to go to the active members list of CAPIC. CAPIC, the Canadian Association of Immigration Consultants is the national association of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants who takes on the role of leading, connecting, protecting, and developing the profession. The informative website,, run by CAPIC also has a consultants directory of RCICs for the convenience of its audience.

Dos and don’ts when working with your RCIC representative

RCICs are required to be ethical and competent and treat you with civility. When working with an RCIC, to ensure the quality of service, you need to understand the dos and don’ts.

The list of do’s include but not limited to—
  • Check the RCIC’s status with CICC to ensure that the RCIC is in good standing with CICC and thus is authorized to take on clients.
  • Be honest with the RCIC.
  • Check the components of the service agreement provided by the RCIC to ensure that it complies with the Code.
  • Read the service agreement thoroughly and ensure you understand it fully.
  • Ask relevant questions, including the process, the procedures, the timeline, the means of communication along the way, to get a whole picture of the execution of the service agreement.
  • Follow up with the RCIC if any milestone has been reached but prescribed services are not provided.
  • Get a copy of the file from the RCIC for the records.
  • Check invoices according to the service agreement to avoid discrepancies.
  • Respond to RCIC’s enquiries or requests in a timely manner. 
The list of don’ts include but not limited to—
  • Ask for guarantees, which can’t be given by RCICs, as the result resides in the assessing immigration authorities.
  • Tell lies or supply false documents, which may cause an unfavorable outcome and a ban of five years imposed on you.
  • Sign the service agreement without checking the RCIC’s status and without fully understanding it.
  • Keep asking the RCIC for updates, which can only waste both parties’ time instead of expediting the process.
  • Fail to respond to RCIC’s enquiries or requests in a timely manner, which could cause delays that go contrary to the best interests of you.
  • Pay no attention to records and invoices. 

In summary, Immigration and Citizenship Consultants are Canadian immigration and citizenship law practitioners who walk you through the Canadian immigration system. The profession was established by the College Act in 2019 and is a budding yet vibrant profession. If you need a representative, conducting your research to select an ethical and competent RCIC to be your representative to make your Canadian immigration journey a smooth one.  

About the author

Hui Zhang [CICC ID: R524643]
RCIC-IRB Lawyer (China)
Find a Consultant