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.
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