Rena Dhir

Graduate, UBC Certificate in Immigration: Laws, Policies and Procedures

When Rena Dhir looks back on her time enrolled in the UBC Certificate in Immigration: Laws, Policies and Procedures, two words come to mind: busy and rewarding. While taking the program, Rena was working full-time as a controller for a software company and raising her young family. "Being at work, managing a young family and pursuing part-time education was a balancing act that was quite challenging but at the same time very rewarding," she recalls.

After many years working as a CGA in the accounting field, Rena felt it was time for a career change. "I enjoy working with people – especially people from around the world – and I was looking for something that would also allow me to open my own business eventually," she says. After hearing about the field of immigration consulting, Rena decided that it was a good match for her and enrolled in the UBC Certificate in Immigration: Laws, Policies and Procedures.

The part-time program consists of six modules that provide a foundational understanding of immigration law in Canada. "I found the module on Economic Classes and Refugees the most interesting," says Rena. She recalls that the comprehensive program is very detailed and requires a lot of dedication from the students in order to succeed. "Overall I gained a lot of insight into the immigration process within Canada. The program helped me understand, step-by-step, the different ways of immigrating to Canada, and prepared me with the knowledge I require for my current work."

After completing the program, Rena passed a nationally administered regulatory exam and became a licensed member of the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC). However, she had just opened her own immigration consulting business when a unique career opportunity presented itself.

"I applied for a position with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, and was appointed to the board in 2008," she explains. "This is the most challenging job I have ever had but at the same time, the most fascinating." Rena's main responsibility includes refugee protection determination which involves preparation for a hearing, conducting a hearing and making decisions on refugee claims in Canada.

Looking back, Rena reflects, "From the program, I developed a greater interest in the vast field of immigration which has brought me to where I am today. If I had not enrolled in the program at UBC, I probably would not have applied for this position at the Immigration and Refugee Board. I'm grateful for taking the program and the new path it led me on."

These days, Rena’s life is as busy and fulfilling as ever. "Free time? What's that?" she quips. "I may be busy, but I'm enjoying this new chapter in my career, along with its challenges and rewards."