The differences between a RCIC and RISIA

Roles of RCICs and RISIAs:

RISIAs, or Regulated International Student Advisors, are international student advisors licensed by the CICC (College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants). RISIAs are employed by Colleges and Universities, and can provide advice to international students regarding study permits, temporary resident visas, and other immigration programs related to study permits. While an RISIA can help international students understand their immigration status and options, they cannot act as representatives, help complete immigration forms, or submit applications. 

This is where RCICs, or Registered Canadian Immigration Consultants, step in. In addition to being able to provide immigration advice to anyone, as opposed to just students, RCICs can act as representatives and submit applications on behalf of their clients or help with the completion of immigration forms as immigration coaches. RCICs that have completed a specialization program and obtained a RCIC-IRB class of license can also represent clients before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 

How to become (and remain) an RISIA:

To become an RISIA, a candidate needs to complete the International Students and Immigration Education Program (ISIEP), an intensive 13-week online course delivered by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE). To be eligible to enroll in the ISIEP, a candidate needs to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have a post-secondary degree or diploma and be employed at a Canadian designated learning institution. Graduates of the program are required to write and pass the Entry-to-Practice exam (EPE) offered by CICC in order to receive their RISIA designation.

To maintain their designation, RISIAs are required to comply with a strict Code of Professional Conduct and complete 6 hours of Continual Professional Development courses every year, in addition to participating in a competency-based assessment process to identify competency gaps in their practice.

How to become (and remain) an RCIC:

To become a RCIC, a candidate needs to complete a graduate diploma program, offered in English by Queen’s University and in French by the Université de Montréal. To gain admission in either program, a candidate needs to hold a Bachelor’s Degree and have earned a minimum of a B average or equivalent. Candidates whose native language is not English will also have to submit satisfactory language scores to be admitted to the program offered by Queen’s University. Candidates to the program offered by the Université de Montréal must show satisfactory skills in both French and English. After graduating from the either program with no course below a B- average, a prospective RCIC must write and pass the College’s Entry-to-Practice Exam (RCIC EPE).

After earning their RCIC designation, an RCIC must complete mandatory Practice Management Education (PME) courses, 16 hours of Continuing Professional Development every year, and participate in a competency-based assessment process to identify competency gaps in their practice. RCICs must also comply with the College’s Code of Professional Conduct.

More information on the roles of RCICs and RISIAs, as well as on gaining and maintaining accreditation can be found on the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants website.

For more information on which immigration option is best for you and your business, or for assistance designing your longer-term immigration strategy, reach out to me directly through my CONTACT page.  We can set up a consultation to find the immigration option that works best for your specific needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post were accurate at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided above. This blog post is not updated on a regular basis.

Co-written by Lucas Almeida and Rebecca Tripp

Originally posted on December 15, 2022


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