Unauthorized Practice

Operating without a licence


Licensed Immigration Consultants

In Canada, the only immigration consultants who can give you Canadian immigration advice in exchange for a fee or benefit are licensed immigration consultants (people licensed by the College).

To check if your immigration consultant is licensed by the College, search for them on our Public Register.

Do not pay for services from an immigration consultant until:

  • You have verified that your consultant is licensed with the College.
  • You have communicated with the consultant using the contact information listed on our Public Register.
  • You have signed a service agreement (previously known as a retainer agreement).


“Authorized” Immigration Consultants

The 2 types of immigration consultants that are authorized to advise and represent you in immigration matters are Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) and Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs). RISIAs only provide immigration advice to international students and their dependents.

These professionals have been trained on Canadian immigration policy and keep up to date with any changes. We also hold them accountable for negligence, or for unprofessional or unethical behaviour through our Code of Professional Conduct.

Unauthorized practitioners

Unlicensed consultants or unauthorized practitioners are not regulated, and we cannot hold them accountable for their actions. You will not find their names on our Public Register.

Should you be aware of an unauthorized practitioner, you can inform the College and we will take steps to ensure they are not practising without authorization. Click here to report a possible Unauthorized Practitioner.

NOTE: To represent or advise you, your RCIC or RISIA must be listed on our Public Register as ”Active.” Also, some RCICs are authorized to provide only certain services. Always check the Public Register to ensure your RCIC is authorized to perform the service you are asking them to.

Student recruiters, labour recruiters, and travel agents

Some people may try to offer you immigration services as part of the other services they provide, such as:

  • Travel agents
  • Labour recruiters
  • Educational agents or student recruiters.

For example, a travel agent may offer to help you with a visitor visa. A labour recruiter might offer to put together your work permit. Or a student agent or recruiter might say they will submit your student permit application with your school application.

In most cases, these people are not authorized to provide you immigration services (they can do so only if they are also a Canadian lawyer, a notaire du Québec, or a licensee of the College).

If the person you are working with says they are partnering with an RCIC or a RISIA, double-check by directly asking that RCIC or RISIA (use the contact information on our Public Register). Also make sure you sign a retainer agreement directly with the RCIC.