What Does it Take to Become an RCIC?

When you choose to hire someone to help make your Canadian immigration a reality, you need to be certain that they are trustworthy and professional.

There are many reasons why hiring an RCIC is the best way to secure entry to Canada. They take care of all your paperwork for you, meet with officials as necessary, and have up-to-date knowledge of Canada’s complex immigration policies and procedures.

Pursuing a career as an immigration consultant is a hard road that demands intense academic study, passing a comprehensive exam, and—once certified—continuous learning and keeping in good standing with the official regulatory council. 

The Experts You Need

A Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) is trained to accomplish one thing: to help you start your life in Canada, worry-free. Preparation for immigration can be a tough process. There is no need to struggle through confusing paperwork and immigration policies on your own with a qualified consultant to assist you.

An RCIC is:
  • Your personal guide and assistant throughout the immigration process
  • An approved expert who can strengthen your application in ways that you could not achieve on your own
  • Able to advise you of immigration options you may not know about
  • Authorized to complete your application for you, correctly and on time
  • Able to meet with Canadian Immigration authorities and your Canadian employer on your behalf 

Not everyone has what it takes to become an RCIC. Canada’s immigration policies and laws are complex and constantly changing. Choosing a career as an RCIC means committing yourself to dedicated study in this area, and to continuous learning as a practicing consultant. 

What Does It Take To Become an RCIC?

office in Canada
courtesy of Trang Doan

Although immigration consultants do not need to complete three years of law school as an immigration lawyer would, there is still a series of educational and administrative steps they must complete in order to practice. 

An immigration consultant’s knowledge of immigration policy and the law is often comparable to that of an immigration lawyer. The main difference being that a lawyer can represent you in court if your case is unusually complicated. The right RCIC can advise you and ensure your application is correct from the start, so there is no need to worry about such extreme circumstances. 

If you are unsure about hiring an RCIC, it may reassure you to take a closer look at the process of becoming one.

Take an ICCRC-Accredited Course

In order to become an RCIC, you must first get the appropriate Immigration Consultant Diploma. As with any specialized career, relevant education is required as a first step. 

These courses typically take six months to one year to complete, depending on whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time. The course must be accredited by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, and participants must also pay the required course fees (approximately $8,500–$9,900).

Fulfill All Requirements

It’s not enough to simply pass a course. Those studying to become an immigration consultant must prove that they are eligible and proficient in several areas, as well as being able to produce documents demonstrating good character.

Candidates are required to provide the following:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of age
  • Proof of Canadian Citizenship, Permanent Residence, or First Nations Status
  • Proof of language proficiency in French or English 
    • Must do this by passing an accredited test such as IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF
  • Completed Statutory Declaration to demonstrate good character
  • Required police clearances
  • Exam fee

Pass the Exam

The next step is registering with an ICCRC-certified exam provider, paying the fee, and of course studying! The RCIC Entry-to-Practice Exam not only covers the content of the required immigration courses but also tests students’ understanding of how to apply that knowledge in certain situations.

Major topics that must be reviewed for the exam include:
  • The ICCRC Code of Professional Ethics
  • Economic and Family Classes (such as Business and Super visas)
  • Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Quebec immigration
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Residency Obligations and Citizenship
  • Temporary Residence Class (such as Working Holiday visa holders)

Apply to the ICCRC and Remain in Good Standing

An authorized RCIC becomes a member of the ICCRC or the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.

How it works: if you successfully pass the Entry-to-Practice Exam, you must then apply to the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) to approve the name of your business, and to then register your business as a consulting practice.

This means that they must adhere to the RCIC Code of Professional Ethics, as well as pay the appropriate membership fees.

Keep Your License Up-to-Date

A commitment to strict rules and policies is part of being able to offer the services of an RCIC, but it is also necessary for a successful career. Immigration consultants make an active choice every year to continue their important work, as their license must be renewed on an annual basis, and the required fee paid to the ICCRC.

Have the Right Qualities

RCIC consultant
courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio

At the end of the day, the success of an RCIC’s career is determined by more than grades, approval, and an active license. You need to have the right skills and be able to connect with the people whose lives you are helping to change.

Communicating with people from different countries patiently, honestly, and with empathy is crucial as an RCIC. You must be compassionate and able to understand that immigrating to a new place is a decision with high stakes and uncertainty for your clients.

Excellence as an RCIC depends on key qualities which may not be obvious.

Let us review some of the RCIC key qualities:
  • Adherence to high standards
  • Ability to follow laws and principles without question
  • Attention to detail
  • Honest, human professionalism
  • Exceptional listening and communication skills
  • Compassion and the ability to empathize with their clients
  • Ability to multitask, manage deadlines and multiple projects 
  • Patience and understanding of people from different cultures
  • Interview skills to determine client eligibility
  • Analytical and resourceful
  • Curiosity and a commitment to continuous learning

Conclusion

You need to feel safe when you work with your RCIC. When you consider how much discipline and knowledge this career requires, it becomes obvious that not just anybody can do it. Understanding the commitment RCICs are making to their work will help you feel certain that you are in capable hands when dealing with them.

Training and studying to become an RCIC goes beyond laws, policies, and exams—it is about understanding the human side of the immigration journey. A qualified consultant understands the magnitude of the decision you are making, and that you will have many emotions and questions about the process. 

When you work with an RCIC, you are not simply hiring someone who understands the rules, but someone who understands how nervous and confused the immigration process might make you feel.

RCICs are professionals who will take your future as seriously as you do, and will set you on the best possible course to achieve it.

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Editor’s Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent immigration advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

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