Immigration Research & Working Group (RWG)


The Immigration Research & Working Group (RWG) will work to illustrate the extent to which immigration regulations impact the international student experience and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) ability to efficiently and effectively operationalize the International Student Program.

The Immigration Research & Working Group’s mandate is to:

  • Support CBIE leadership in articulating pressing international student immigration issues
  • Develop comprehensive reports and recommendations for IRCC on targeted themes or issues
  • Work in collaboration with CBIE leadership, and the CBIE Immigration Advisory Committee (IAC), as needed

Meet Our Members


Rohene Bouajram
Associate Director, Strategic IBPOC Initiatives
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

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Rohene Bouajram is an uninvited settler from Zimbabwe and her experience of upheaving everything she knew to be true, safe and in alignment leads her to embody these values in everything she becomes involved in. With over 19 years’ experience in higher education, Rohene is a purpose-driven educator, leader and sought-after expert on Canadian immigration legislation, transformational systemic change and strategic program development and partnerships. Rohene is currently the Associate Director of Strategic IBPOC Initiatives at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where she provides strategic leadership on advancing equity, inclusion, decolonization and anti-racism in policies, initiatives and programming for Indigenous, Black and Persons of Colour (IBPOC) students. She has studied in Zimbabwe, Canada, Finland and China, holds an MA in International and Intercultural Communication, BA in Psychology and is certified as a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). When she isn’t lost a book, you can find her on the sidelines of a soccer field cheering her son on.

Natasha Clark
International Student Advisor
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Natasha Clark works as an International Student Advisor at Memorial University. As a Regulated Immigration Consultant, Natasha provides immigration advising to new and current international students. Natasha has been working in the field of international education since 2005. Natasha holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Memorial University and a Masters of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Toronto Metropolitan University.

Kathleen Cobb

Kathleen Cobb
International Immigration Advisor
New Brunswick Community College

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Kathleen has been working in international education for eight years, with a particular focus on immigration advising for the past five. She has worked at post-secondary institutions in both universities and colleges in four different Canadian provinces, providing her with a broad perspective on the experiences of international students studying in both small and large population centres. In her current role as International Immigration Advisor at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), Kathleen supports current and incoming students and provides immigration expertise to campus departments.

Kathleen holds a BA from Acadia University and has been an RCIC since 2018.

Rita Dhungel
Assistant Professor
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, British Columbia

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Rita Dhungel with Nepali birth is an activist, educator, mentor, community-based feminist participatory researcher. Rita is an assistant professor with the School of Social Work and Human Services at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC. Rita obtained a doctoral degree in Social Work with a focus on reintegration of trafficking survivors in Nepal and master’s in Social Work centering on international practice from the University of Calgary, Canada. Rita holds two masters’ degrees in Nepalese History Culture and Archaeology, and Sociology and Anthropology from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal. Rita also completed her Law Degree from the Tribhuvan University in Nepal.

Rita has been involved in transformative teaching and learning, community organizing and social justice research with a focus gender-based violence such as human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and immigrants and refugees in both local and international contexts for more than 2 decades. Using a Participatory Action Research framework, Rita has been involved in a wide range of community-based participatory research, for example her doctoral dissertation entitled “ reintegration of human trafficking survivors in Nepal ” Power of Women Living with HIV in Nepal” and Experiences of immigrants and refugees Living with HIV in Edmonton from social determinants lenses ” did not only help to bridge gaps in scholarly activities but it also advanced transformative impacts, both personal and social transformation.

Ash Jeffries-Fraser
Student Conduct Coordinator
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo and Brantford, ON

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Ash Jeffries-Fraser is a settler who has spent most of her life living on the traditional territory of the Anishnaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Neutral peoples. She is a Student Affairs professional who has been a part of the community at Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) for over 8 years. At Laurier, she has worked in the Department of Residence, Enrolment Services, and the Dean of Students office. Ash holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies and recently completed her Master of Education, Interdisciplinary Studies where she centered her research on culturally inclusive pedagogy, anti-oppressive practices, critical pedagogy and decolonizing education.

Sebastian Kolesar
Global Engagement Office Associate Advisor
University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus), Kelowna, BC

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Sebastian has been supporting UBC Okanagan’s international student community since 2017, when he was employed as a student staff member in ESL tutoring and international recruitment. From 2018-Present, Sebastian has held a variety of positions in the Global Engagement Office (formerly International Programs & Services), and currently serves as the advisor for incoming exchange and research programs across both the international student advising and global mobility advising (Go Global) teams.

Sebastian has been a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant since 2021, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. In addition to his role at UBC, Sebastian manages his own immigration consulting practice, and works at the University of Regina’s Student’s Legal Advocacy Centre (SLAC) as an intake coordinator for immigration.

Ravneet Panech
International Student Specialist
University of Alberta

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Ravneet Panech is an International Student Specialist at the University of Alberta. Ravneet has been employed in the immigration field since 2012 and she has held multiple positions within the field. Ravneet received her RCIC designation in 2017. She started working in the post-secondary sector in 2018 when she accepted the Immigration Advisor position at the University of Alberta. She has been providing advising support to the international student population over the past five years where her portfolio areas included providing immigration advising, delivering seamless support services, handling complex student matters and advocating on behalf of students. Ravneet is passionate about supporting international students as well as building a well-connected network with colleagues in the international education field through her involvement with organizations such as CBIE.

LeChelle Saunders
International Student Advisor, International Student Support
Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, ON

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LeChelle Saunders, (she/her) is an International Student Advisor at International Student Support, Toronto Metropolitan University. As a former international student, her interest in Student Affairs blossomed based on her own experiences at the University of Guelph. Since then, she has completed studies in International Education, Immigration Consultancy, and has held a variety of roles in higher education, ranging from Admission Services to Student Experience, all of which support the holistic development of the student community. She became a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in 2021 and has recently completed her Master of Education, Student Affairs Field at Wilfrid Laurier University with a focus on international Student Success.

Candace Stewart-Smith
Director, Centre for Experiential and Career Education
University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC

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Candace Stewart-Smith (she/her) is the Director of the Centre for Experiential and Career Education at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in the traditional Territory of the Stó:lō Nation. Prior to her time at UFV, she was the Manager of Graduate and Postgraduate Career Education at the University of Waterloo, overseeing the graduate and postdoctoral fellows, alumni, further education, and employee career advising portfolios. She has previously worked extensively in the areas of international student support and development, programming for first-generation racialized students, and intercultural education and training at the University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University. Candace holds a MEd in Student Affairs from Wilfrid Laurier University and MSc and BSc degrees from the University of Guelph.

Lindsay Tait
International Student Advisor
Humber College, Toronto ON

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Since 2021 Lindsay has been supporting Humber College’s international student community as an International Student Advisor. Lindsay’s portfolio includes immigration advising, helping Canadian newcomers build their community, and a variety of student support and transition services. Lindsay credits her experience as a peer mentor during her undergraduate years that have since led her into a rewarding career in international education.

Lindsay has been a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant since 2021 and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor of Education from OISE/(University of Toronto).