Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: July 25, 2022

RCIC vs. Immigration Lawyer

Note: Starting from Nov 23, 2021, RCICs must be members of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). Starting from July 01, 2023, only RCIC-IRBs may represent you in IRB hearings.

Canada has 10 provinces and three territories. Each of these provinces or territories has a law society (e.g. the Law Society of Ontario, the Nova Scotia Barristers Society, or the Law Society of British Columbia). Canadian lawyers are members of one of those law societies. Under section 91 of IRPA, a lawyer who is a member in good standing of one of the law societies in Canada may represent clients to the immigration authorities. The scope of practice for lawyers is not limited to immigration. They may, for example, deal with criminal litigation, civil lawsuits, real-estate transfers, and more. In fact, lawyers usually take less than three subjects related to immigration at law school.

Another group of licensed representatives is the Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, also known as RCIC. An RCIC is a member of ICCRC or Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. According to ICCRC, a person needs to take a 500-hour approved training program and show excellent knowledge of English or French languages among other requirements to become an RCIC. Almost all the training an RCIC receives is directly related to immigration law and practice. However, RCICs do not receive training in other fields of the law. In other words, RCICs are more into the process of immigration and lawyers in the field of litigation. Of course, some lawyers are dedicated to the immigration process as well.

The following table shows a brief list of services offered by Lawyers and RCICs. In this table, “Yes” means the service could be offered by a competent professional; “Maybe” means they may need extra licenses to do the job; and “No” means the service is outside their scope of practice.

Service Lawyer RCIC
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) Yes Yes
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Yes Yes
International Mobility Program (IMP) – Visa application under several treaties such as NAFTA, GATS, and CETA or under Canadian Interests, etc. Yes Yes
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for Tourists, Business Visitors, Speakers, and Performers Yes Yes
Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) Yes Yes
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Yes Yes
Study Permit and Visa Yes Yes
Economic Classes (Federal Immigration) Yes Yes
Sponsorship Applications for Spouses, Children, Adopted Children, Parents, and Other Family Members Yes Yes
Refugee Applications/Claims Yes Yes
Detention Hearings (Immigration and Refugee Board – IRB) Yes Yes
Inadmissibility Hearings (IRB) Yes Yes
Immigration Appeal Division Hearings (IRB) Yes Yes
Refugee Protection Division and Appeal Hearings (IRB) Yes Yes
Representing Applicants/Travellers to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Yes Yes
Offering Canadian Immigration, Visa, and Citizenship Advice Yes Yes
Citizenship Applications Yes Yes
Rehabilitation applications Yes Yes
Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) Yes Yes
Immigration, study permit and work permit to Quebec Yes Maybe
Judicial Review (Federal Court) Yes No
Offering legal advice Yes No
Assisting with other legal matters, such as corporate law or family law Yes No
Immigration to other provinces Maybe Maybe

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Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Disclaimer:
This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.