Queen’s Law announces new graduate diploma program to train prospective immigration and citizenship consultants

A ground-breaking program at Queen’s Law is poised to transform the training of individuals seeking entrance to the immigration and citizenship consulting profession.

As announced on May 1, 2019, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) has named Queen’s University Faculty of Law as the sole accredited English language provider of a new graduate diploma program to train prospective immigration and citizenship consultants. Delivered primarily online and including an optional blended format (online/onsite), Queen’s Law will launch its new Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law in January 2021.

This program will be aimed at training students to write the ICCRC’s Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Entry-to-Practice Exam. Upon successful completion of this exam, graduates may apply to become a member of the ICCRC and, subject to successfully completing the registration process and being admitted to the Council, would then be permitted to offer immigration and/or citizenship advice and/or representation for a fee.

“Immigration and refugee applicants are among the most vulnerable consumers of Canadian legal services,” says Sharry Aiken, a Queen’s Law professor and Academic Director of this new program. “Their first language may not be English or French; they may not be familiar with our legal system. It’s crucial that those helping them are qualified, trained, and rigorously assessed.”

“We are in a unique position to develop and design this program, building on the success of our two existing online programs, the undergraduate Certificate in Law and the Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “This is a historic moment for the law school, placing Queen’s Law as an international leader in online legal education. Traditionally, law schools have focused primarily on training lawyers. At Queen’s Law we have taken the lead in thinking broadly about what legal education can be, from offering a range of courses in law to undergraduate students to developing a graduate level program to train legal professionals in key business skills. Our new Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law is a natural extension, putting Queen’s Law at the forefront of innovation at Canadian law schools.”

“We’re making a major contribution to the quality of services and representation in this area,” Professor Aiken says. “The federal government has expressed concerns about the quality of current services, which our program directly addresses.”

Key facts on the Graduate Diploma in Immigration LawWith an anticipated intake of about 500 students a year, the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law will be a 66-week program, currently planned as nine courses covering everything from the foundations of Canadian immigration law to ethics and professional responsibility, along with best practices for managing an immigration/citizenship consulting business. Entry to this new program will require an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and a high level of English language proficiency.

“We are building a program that will help set a new and much higher regulatory standard for immigration and citizenship consultants in Canada,” Dean Flanagan says. “With over 500 hours of instruction in the program, built by immigration and citizenship experts like Professor Aiken and supported by professional instructional designers and course developers, we aim to help transform the quality of immigration consultant services in Canada and abroad.”

The program will also be available in French, developed by the Université de Sherbrooke to be launched later in 2021. Queen’s Law will work closely in collaboration with the Université de Sherbrooke in the development of the program.

“Ensuring immigration and citizenship consultants are properly trained and highly skilled is the first step to ensuring that immigrants to Canada are treated equitably and humanely throughout every step of their journey here,” Professor Aiken says. “We’re proud to be at the centre of a program that will increase the quality and reliability of immigration services and increase access to justice for those who often need it most.”

Please note that this program is under development, and will require the approval of Queen’s Senate and the Quality Council of Ontario before it can be offered.

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