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To become an immigration consultant in Canada, you must meet the eligibility criteria, complete an educational program from an institution accredited by the ICCRC and pass the Entry-to-Practice exam. However, obtaining a license of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant doesn’t mean the end to your studies. This career entails a lifetime of learning through continuing professional development.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of learning activities to maintain professional knowledge and skills. Most of the regulated occupations in Canada have CPD obligations. Professionals working in such occupations are required by their regulatory bodies to upgrade their competence on an ongoing basis, keep track of all the seminars and workshops they attend and report this to the body.
An RCIC must complete 16 hours of CPD annually by participating in ICCRC approved activities related to Canadian immigration and citizenship. Immigration consultants are required to check if the Council accredits the event they want to attend or submit it for approval themselves if necessary. Failing to do so may result in the CPD hours not being recognized.
CPD activities for immigration consultants eligible for approval by ICCRC include the following:
• Attending an educational seminar, conference, workshop or academic course related to Canadian immigration;
• Participating in an online course, web and teleconference with an opportunity to ask questions;
• Reviewing a recorded version of a CPD seminar;
• Teaching in an accredited immigration consultant program/course, facilitating group discussions, moderating or speaking at the conference related to Canadian immigration and citizenship;
• Writing and publishing articles on a relevant topic;
• Publishing or editing books related to immigration.
Immigration consultants must obtain CPD points to maintain their RCIC status and be able to practice in the field. However, even if these seminars and other learning activities were not mandatory, they would go a long way in helping immigration practitioners stay abreast of the current industry trends and learn about all the important changes and innovations.
Listed below are some of the ways CPD benefits immigration consultants:
– Staying abreast of industry changes. Acts and regulations affecting immigration to Canada are constantly changing, and practitioners busy serving their clients can’t always keep track of the amendments. Attending a CPD seminar can help them learn about the essential updates of the legislation, any relevant rules and standards without having to do the research themselves.
– Sharing experience. Immigration is a broad field with various specialization options. During the CPD events, immigration consultants get a chance to broaden their perspective and learn about the experiences of other industry professionals.
– Networking opportunity. CPD seminars for immigration consultants are attended by like-minded people who might help each other find new work and partnership opportunities, share advice and help overcome common challenges.
– Building credentials. Although earning CPD points is mandatory for immigration practitioners, it still adds to their credibility and helps them maintain the status of an ICCRC member in good standing. Working on professional development also proves their willingness to advance in their career.
There are several CPD providers, including Ashton College, that organize regular seminars, conferences and group discussions. The cost of each event may differ depending on the speakers presenting at the CPD and their agendas. Some organizations can also offer discounts to the members of their CPD Elite Loyalty program.
If a person is unable to attend a live CPD seminar for immigration consultants, they can participate in an online webinar. Another option is to purchase a video recording of the event. It is strongly recommended to start accumulating the CPD points in advance to avoid the last-minute rush and make sure the necessary number is acquired.