International Students and Immigration Education Program (ISIEP)

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The International Students and Immigration Education Program (ISIEP) is an intensive 15-week online course designed to upskill practitioners, currently working with international students in Designated Learning Institutions (DLI), to write the RISIA Entry-to-Practice (EPE) exam. The ISIEP is the first requirement in the RISIA license process.

This exam, along with the RISIA license, is administered and managed by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC).

ISIEP Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to enroll in ISIEP, applicants must be currently employed in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and work with international students.

The education sector includes: DLIs, school boards and official membership organizations representing various DLIs. This does not include private consultant firms or agents offering services to DLIs.

If you are not currently employed in a DLI, and for more detailed information about eligibility criteria, please consult our FAQ section.

Please note that ISIEP eligibility criteria, including but not limited to employment criteria, differ from CICC’s requirements for becoming a licensed RISIA and can change without notice.

ISIEP Handbook

Interested applicants are encouraged to read the ISIEP Handbook, which contains important information about the program and registration process.

Download the ISIEP Handbook

Frequently Asked Questions

The ISIEP eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Employed at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. Note that all primary and secondary schools in Canada are DLIs;
  • Professional working in the education sector* with international students; and
  • Enrolls in ISIEP for the purpose of skills upgrading in their current institutional role.

* The education sector includes DLIs, school boards and official membership organizations representing various DLIs.  This does not include private consultant firms or agents offering services to DLIs.

Please note that ISIEP eligibility criteria, including but not limited to employment criteria, differ from CICC’s requirements for becoming a licensed RISIA and can change without notice.

  • What if I have previous experience working with international students but am not currently employed by a DLI?
  • What if I currently work with international students as an agent, with a private consultant firm, or with another type of service?
  • What if I would like to work in a DLI, but the RISIA designation is required to access the position?

Unfortunately, if you are not an employee of a DLI, you are not eligible to enroll in ISIEP.

The ISIEP is not a pathway to the profession but rather a skill upgrade for DLI employees. The ISIEP is a professional development program that prepares individuals, already working with international students at DLIs, to write the RISIA Entry-to-Practice Exam (EPE), set forth by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). While we recognize there is a challenge for those wanting to enter the field, our mandate is to upskill individuals already working with international students as employees of DLIs, so that they can be designated to also provide immigration advice, thereby expanding their advising scope within an institution.

Individuals can advise students on any subject without special training except for immigration. Legally, anyone providing immigration advice in Canada must be a lawyer, an RCIC or a RISIA. The RISIA license focuses exclusively on students and is tied to designated learning institutions (DLIs), meaning the license is only valid when employed by a DLI in an advising capacity accepted by CICC. The RISIA license cannot be used to offer independent consulting or agent services to various DLIs.

If you are interested in the immigration field, you may wish to explore the Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) license, which is also regulated by CICC. RCICs can provide immigration advice more broadly and open their own immigration consulting practice, whereas the RISIA license does not allow individuals to become independent consultants. Many RCIC also work in DLIs. For more information on the RCIC license, including institutions who offer the RCIC Entry to Practice Exam preparatory course, please consult the CICC website.

  • The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) is the regulatory body for RISIA and manages the RISIA EPE and RISIA license.
  • The RISIA license is designed for International Student Advisers (ISAs) and other professionals working in the education sector in Canada whose responsibilities include offering immigration advice to students.
  • Successful completion of the ISIEP is a prerequisite for ISAs/working professionals who wish to take CICC’s Entry-to-Practice exam to become RISIAs.
  • ISIEP eligibility criteria, including but not limited to employment criteria, differ from CICC’s requirements for becoming a licensed RISIA.
  • For more information on who is eligible to challenge CICC’s Entry-to-Practice exam and obtain the RISIA designation, please visit the CICC website and RISIA Licensing Regulation.
  • Upon registration for ISIEP, you will need to provide:
    • Your resumé
    • A current letter of employment from your DLI employer that is:
      • signed by your supervisor or human resources;
      • dated from the last few days or weeks;
      • on official letterhead from your DLI; and
      • includes a detailed job description demonstrating that you work with international students.

There is no specific language level requirement. However, to successfully complete the ISIEP, learners should have sufficient English language skills (spoken, written, reading comprehension) required at a post-secondary level education program.

  • ISIEP (our program in English) is normally offered twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Our program in French PEIEI is currently only offered once a year in the spring.
  • Our fall sessions usually run from mid-August to early December, with registration opening in May.
  • Our spring sessions usually run from mid-February to early June, with registration opening in October or November.
  • If registration is currently closed, you can sign up to receive a reminder before registration opens for the next ISIEP cohort. The registration or reminder link is located here.
  • The ISIEP comprises module-based learning over a span of 15 weeks.
  • The program is entirely online and includes live recorded webinars, readings, discussion boards, assignments, knowledge checks, and exams.
  • The program is based exclusively on reference materials that will be made available online and is available in English (ISIEP) and French (PEIEI).
  • Students are expected to spend an average of 25-30 hours per week on the ISIEP to pass the course successfully.
  • Live webinars are typically held on Thursday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 EST. The webinars are recorded for those that may be unable to attend.
  • ISIEP uses a flipped learning or flipped classroom approach. This means that learning is initiated by the student with instructors as guides.
  • For more information about the structure and delivery of ISIEP, please consult the ISIEP Handbook and ISIEP Course Outline.

Here are the current program fees, which include all course materials:

  • $4,050 for CBIE Members
  • $5,200 for Non-members

These fees may change without notice.

Please note that in order to qualify for the CBIE Member rate, your DLI employer must be a member in good standing at the time of your registration, and learners must be members for the entire period of the program. Please consult our membership page for more information about CBIE membership and a CBIE member list. Please note that the membership list on the website may not always be up to date.

For more information about the fee structure and withdrawal policy, please consult the ISIEP Handbook.

CBIE does not currently offer any scholarships for our program, nor is the program eligible for any bursaries or student aid. CBIE is a not-for-profit organization and is offering this program as a professional development opportunity to DLI professionals. CBIE is not a formal educational institution and does not offer payment plans (installments). Complete registration fees are required to reserve your seat in ISIEP.

Please note that CBIE is a not-for-profit organization and is offering this program as a professional development opportunity to DLI professionals. We are not a formal educational institution and, therefore, cannot issue tax return receipts.


Registration for the Fall 2024 ISIEP is now open.  The program will run from August 19th to December 1st.

Though the application and payment deadline will be June 24th, 2024, seats are reserved on a first come first served basis once application and payment are complete. Please note that the cohort may be full before the deadline.


Meet Our Lead Instructors

Imarú Baquero
Imarú Baquero, RISIA
Manager, International Student Services
University of Lethbridge
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Imarú (Ima) Baquero has worked in international education for over 10 years, in both college and university environments, and currently works as the Manager, International Student Services at the University of Lethbridge. Her responsibilities have included international strategic planning, international student support and advising, education abroad, partnership development, and international student enrolment management. Imarú is a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor since 2017, she is a member of the CBIE Immigration Advisory Committee, and she has served as a co-champion of CBIE’s Student Services Professional Learning Community.

Lisa Brunner, RCIC
Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow
University of British Columbia
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Lisa Brunner is a scholar-practitioner who conducts critical, interdisciplinary research on international migration and education. She has over a decade of experience as an international student advisor. She also taught English as an Additional Language at the university level and completed multiple research and curriculum design projects with the newcomer settlement sector. Originally from the United States, Lisa studied as an international student in Japan, China, India, Turkey, and Canada, where she is now an immigrant. She holds a PhD in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia and has been an RCIC since 2014.

Dr. Victor Jimenez, RCIC
Associate Registrar, International
International Centre
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
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Victor has 16+ years of experience in the international education and Canadian Immigration fields. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science, an honours MBA with a concentration in international business and a Doctorate of Education – Leadership, from the University of Western Ontario. Victor has worked in the field of immigration law for more than 12 years and is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant. He is currently the Associate Registrar, International with the International Centre at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). Before joining SAIT, he owned a business for 9 years and worked with several post-secondary institutions in Mexico and Canada. Victor also worked at two Canadian business immigration law firms in Calgary, Alberta. His passions are international education, change management and leadership.

Shawna Luey, RISIA
Senior Director – International Students
Niagara College
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Shawna has worked in international education for over 15 years growing her career from intern to International Student Advisor to Associate Director of International Student Services.  She is currently the Associate Registrar at Niagara College. Throughout her career, she has focused on the individual needs of students practicing intercultural competence as a RISIA. In addition to her work leading her team at Niagara College, she has instructed at Niagara College and Queen’s University.  Most recently, she served a term as a member of the CBIE Immigration Advisory Committee.

Matthew McDonald
Matthew McDonald, RCIC
Matthew McDonald Immigration Services
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Education and immigration have shaped Matthew’s life and career since his early 20s. After graduate studies in English literature, he pursued international work experiences in France & Macedonia. His love for international education took shape while teaching globally minded high school students and working in college admissions counselling. He also learned firsthand about obtaining work permits and sponsoring his husband for PR.

In 2013, upon returning to Canada and helping his husband settle into a new country, he became an international student advisor. In 2016, he became an RCIC. Over 10 years, he took on various roles at Humber College and Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) in student services, recruitment & admissions, and marketing/communications. In 2023, he decided to focus full time on his Canadian immigration work through Matthew McDonald Immigration Services. His next goal is to learn Spanish.

Abdelaziz El Mejdouby, RCIC
International students Immigration Advisor
University of Toronto
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Abdelaziz has over 20 years of experience working in educational institutions. 15 of those 20 years have been dedicated to supporting international students in post-secondary institutions both in the United States and Canada. Abdelaziz holds an MBA and a master’s degree in education (Med) with a concentration in adult education. He is the first Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to be hired by the University of Toronto and helped with the development of the RISIA competencies by ICCRC, the former regulatory body of RCICs and RISIAs. Interestingly, Abdelaziz has also gone through the experience of being an international student in the US which has shaped his career goals and has always made him so passionate about helping international students.

Marisa Norona, RISIA
Graduate Academic & International Specialist
The University of Calgary
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Marisa Norona has over 15 years of experience working in International Education in Post-Secondary Education. She has worked extensively with student exchange programs and international student advising where she has supported students in gaining international experience and competencies both in Canada and abroad, prepared students for safety and experiential learning abroad, guided students through cultural and academic transitions in their adjustment to Canada, and enhanced international students’ immigration literacy through comprehensive immigration advising and programming.  Marisa participated in the ISIEP program in Fall 2017, and became a RISIA in July 2018.

Emilie Omi, RCIC
International Student Advisor
University of British Columbia
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Emilie has been working in the international education field for a decade. She became a RISIA in 2017 and an RCIC in 2022. She currently works as an International Student Advisor at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus. As communications lead for her team, she creates content on UBC’s International Student Guide and develops and implements communications priorities. Emilie is passionate about making complex immigration policies accessible and easy to understand for international students to help them take charge of their immigration journey.

Michele Ruicci, RISIA
International Student Advisor
Niagara College
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Michele Ruicci has 25+ years of experience in international education.  After spending several years in Latin America as an ESL teacher, Michele returned to Canada and became involved in the private ESL school sector.  After 13 years in the private sector, Michele transitioned to the Ontario public post-secondary sector, working in International Departments at a number of Toronto colleges and universities.  In 2013, Michele settled at Niagara College as an International Student Advisor (ISA). She became a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) in 2016, and since then, continues to teach, guide, and advise international students regarding immigration, academics and cultural transition. Michele is passionate about helping international students and new professionals in the international education field succeed in their goals.  Knowing the importance of the RISIA in this journey, she is thrilled to be a member of the ISIEP teaching team.

Erin Wordie
Erin Wordie, RISIA
Academic Advisor
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
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Erin was worked in international education for eight years, in various roles supporting international learners, agents and pathway partners, including International Student Advisor – Immigration Specialist. Currently, she is an Academic Advisor with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) where her portfolio includes a largely international student body. Erin has a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary and participated in a study abroad opportunity to Ghana, which she credits with sparking her interest in international education. She is passionate about helping students navigate their academic and immigration journeys.

Interested in joining our roster of immigration professionals?

Contact the ISIEP

Most questions can be answered by reading our FAQ section or the ISIEP Handbook. However, if you still have questions about ISIEP, you can contact the ISIEP team at [email protected].

Please note that any questions related to the RISIA license or the RISIA Entry-to-Practice Exam should be directed to the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.

The ISIEP is accredited by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.

ISIEP Terms of Reference