By Alexandra Nikotina
A Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) with over 30 years of experience in the immigration industry, Ron McKay speaks with enthusiasm about the growth of the immigration consulting in Canada. “I’ve started during the times when immigration professionals did not have a good support or a good reputation,” he shares. “But the times have changed. Now immigration consultants have a regulatory body, national associations and extensive educational programs. The industry standards have been rising, continuously and systematically.”
McKay started his career in immigration consulting as an Immigration Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, where he worked from 1987 to 1996. Throughout his career McKay held multiple positions in Immigration Consulting industry at the provincial and national levels, including working for Clark Wilson LLP. Some of his achievements include serving as a National Chair of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) in 2016 and being the first elected National President of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC).
McKay’s most recent appointment was as the Director, Immigration Practitioner Programs at Ashton College, and he is looking forward to the continuous changes in the immigration industry. “Immigration consulting is still a new profession,” says Ron. “But it continuously introduces new changes and improvements to ensure that every immigration practitioner is held to the high standards.”
According to McKay, immigration professionals have become essential guides for many new Canadian Immigrants, especially after the introduction and implementation of the Express Entry system in 2015. “The Canadian government is committed to bringing in more immigrants into the country,” shares McKay. “Canada wants to make sure that the immigrants are both prepared for their new life in Canada and have a potential to contribute to the Canadian economy. This is why immigration authorities thoroughly and carefully review each application.”
The role of an immigration practitioner in this case is to guide the client through the immigration law. “Our goal as Immigration Consultants is to help the client move in the same direction as what the immigration officials are looking for,” adds McKay. “If we can do that, the immigration process will be very smooth.”
The most recent changes in the immigration industry include increasing the length of the Immigration Consultant programs from 4 months to 7 months and increasing the language requirements for immigration practitioners. Among the future changes, McKay mentions conversations about self-regulation under the federal statute for the immigration profession and introduction of specializations for the practitioners. Both of the discussions will happen later this year.