To become an immigration consultant certified in Canada, you must first attain a specific certification level. In 2020, any person seeking to become a licensed Canadian Immigration Consultant must obtain an undergraduate degree in citizenship and immigration and then take the Entry-to-Practice Exam administered through the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
Immigration consultants are usually employed by law firms, government agencies, or private firms dealing with immigration matters. They are highly skilled professionals who aid people not from Canada in the process of immigration and naturalization. Immigration consultants can anticipate an annual average pay of about 84,000 Canadian dollars annually.
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC)
In Canada, immigration professionals are controlled by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), and anyone who is an immigration professional and wants to be employed within Canada has to register with the ICCRC.
In 2020, ICCRC launched a pathway for both new and undergraduate students to become practitioners of immigration consulting within Canada (pdf). This article will discuss the fundamental steps for becoming an immigration advisor.
Step 1: Bachelor’s degree
At the beginning of your journey, you’ll have to obtain an undergraduate degree from a recognized university. The subject you choose to study doesn’t matter, as you’ll continue your education following graduation; however, you might think about a course in public policy as well as the public sector to ensure you have an excellent foundation for future studies.
To be eligible to move on to the next level, you’ll need to have at least an A on average in about 70% of your courses and get a positive reference from your instructor. You’ll also need to ensure that you get decent marks and make an excellent impression on your teachers. Taking advantage of your professor’s office hours is recommended to build rapport with them and increase your odds of getting a good reference.
Step 2: Graduate Diploma
Two schools in Canada are allowed to offer the graduate diploma: Queen’s University, whose program is taught in English, and Universite De Montreal, a school that teaches in French. This article will focus on the Queen’s University program in conjunction with the Faculty of Law.
The Queen’s University Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law is a crucial step toward becoming an immigration consultant registered in Canada. The program is three semesters long and designed to be completed within a year. It’s also designed for online learning, meaning you don’t have to travel to the Queen’s campus in Kingston, Ontario, to participate.
To be selected for the program, applicants must meet the abovementioned criteria. You must also provide a brief Statement of Interest that outlines your career goals and interests within the field.
Students will be required to participate in weekly classes and tutorials, which can take anywhere from 40 to 48 hours each week. This is roughly the same as working full-time. Fees are charged per semester. However, you should expect to pay around $14,000 for tuition.
After you’ve completed the course, you’ll receive the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law. While Queen’s Faculty of Law presents it, it isn’t a qualification to be a lawyer in Canada. However, you’ll be prepared to take the ICCRC’s Entry-to practice Examination and the next step towards becoming an immigration consultant certified.
Step 3: Entry-to-Practice Exam
The last step in being a Canadian immigration advisor is to pass the Entry-to-Practice (EPE) Exam administered by ICCRC. After completing your Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law from Queen’s University, you’ll be fully prepared to pass the test with excellent marks.
If you’re an international college student planning for your future, make sure you’ve achieved permanent residency status at this point, even if it’s not Canadian citizenship. Please note that it is the only Canadian Permanent residents and citizens who can take the test! The only Canadian citizen and permanent residents can indeed be eligible to take this exam to be registered as immigration consultants in Canada.
The test is conducted multiple times a year by ICCRC. The exam is comprised of approximately 140 questions. Each provides a hypothetical scenario to test your skills as an aspiring immigration expert. Each question is a multiple choice, and you may take the test in English or French. The test takes a total of three hours to complete.
The exam is open-book, which means you can bring any the reference material you need, such as textbooks and notes of your master’s degree program, which means you should not have a problem passing the requirements for the exam. ICCRC provides an online studying document (pdf) to assist you in preparing.
Suppose you’ve made it this far. Congratulations! You’re now a registered immigration consultant, eligible to work in the field of immigration, citizenship, and naturalization in Canada. You’re eligible for continuing professional development through ICCRC, and you can start seeking work as a Canadian immigration consultant.
Have fun in your new exciting career!