What do authorized immigration representatives do?

Authorized representatives advise and act on issues concerning Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Authorized representative do not have special access to immigration-related programs and services, and no one can guarantee your application will be approved.

There are two types of immigration representatives: paid and unpaid.

Paid representatives

Paid representatives are qualified professionals who are accountable to their regulatory body and required to abide by strict ethical and professional rules designed to protect consumers.

Only the following people may charge a fee or receive any other type of payment to represent or advise you with a Canadian immigration proceeding or application:

  • Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) or Regulated International Student Immigration Advisors (RISIAs) who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)
  • Lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society
  • Notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec

Unpaid representatives

Unpaid third parties include family members, friends, and non-profit or religious organizations

Get help from an authorized representative

At UBC, International Student Advisors are RCICs or RISIAs who offer a limited range of immigration advice to international students and their immediate family members (spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children) at no cost.

International Student Advisors can help with:

  • Issues related to Canadian visas
  • Study permits
  • Certain work permits such as post-graduation, co-op, and spouse/partner work permits.

International student advisors are here for you. However, in some cases, we may advise you to seek the services of another authorized representative if:

  • Your questions go beyond the scope of our immigration services, including topics like permanent residency
  • We do not have sufficient expertise or authority to advise competently on topics such as non-Canadian visas, complex inadmissibility, or multiple refusals

How to find a representative

Unfortunately, International Student Advisors cannot refer you to specific authorized representatives. You can visit the links in the section above for a complete list of authorized representatives.

Not all representatives are knowledgeable about international student issues. When choosing a representative on your own, ask about things like:

  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Training
  • References
  • Client testimonials
  • See IRCC’s tips on choosing an immigration representative

Contacting a lawyer

The Lawyer Referral Service is operated by the Canadian Bar Association (BC branch). If you call and explain your situation, they will provide the contact information of a lawyer who meets your needs. Participating lawyers offer a 30-minute consultation for $25 plus tax. After the initial consultation, you can negotiate fees with the lawyer if you choose to seek additional services.

  • Call 604-687-3221 or toll-free 1-800-663-1919 from outside the Lower Mainland
  • Visit the Lawyer Referral Site
  • For out-of-province and out-of-country requests, email lawyerreferral@cbabc.org

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