Press Room

Credential Recognition Services Improve for Foreign Skilled Workers

According to the Foreign Credential Referral Office’s (FCRO) annual Progress Report, released August 18, 2011, credential recognition services for foreign trained skilled workers continue to improve in Canada.

The report highlights recent achievements of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Health Canada (HC). The three departments have been working with provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders to improve foreign credential recognition processes through, among other ways, the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications (Framework).

Launched in 2009, the Framework aims to establish guiding principles and outcomes for improving the labour market integration of internationally trained workers. In particular, through the Framework, regulators and stakeholders are working with governments to ensure that foreign credential recognition processes are fair, consistent, transparent and timely.

The Framework complements earlier amendments to the labour mobility chapter of the Agreement on Internal Trade to ensure that workers who are certified for a regulated occupation in one province or territory can be certified anywhere in Canada without additional training, examinations or assessments. Once licensed, foreign-trained professionals will be able to move freely without having to re-certify their credentials.

According to FCRO’s report, the Framework met its 2010 commitment to assess, within a year, international credentials in the initial target group of eight regulated professions: Architects, Engineers, Medical Laboratory Technologists, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Registered Nurses, and Financial Auditors and Accountants. An additional six professions have now been identified for implementation by 2012: Dentists, Engineering Technicians, Licensed Practical Nurses, Medical Radiation Technologists, Physicians and Teachers (K-12).

The report also highlights the expansion in 2010 of the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) to include Provincial Nominee Program immigrants, as well as their spouses and working-age dependants. The CIIP now provides prospective Provincial Nominee and Federal Skilled Worker immigrants with two-day orientation sessions on Canadian culture, the labour market and the foreign credential recognition process. The courses are currently provided at CIIP locations in the Philippines, China and India, with an itinerant and satellite location subject to demand. A fourth location in London, U.K., will open in 2011, serving the British Isles, the Gulf States and Scandinavia.

According to FCRO’s report, CIIP is showing signs of success. By September 2010, nearly 13,000 applicants had registered for CIIP services and over 9,100 had completed the two-day course. Among the CIIP graduates who had arrived in Canada, 70 per cent said they found employment despite the economic downturn.

For further information on the FCRO’s Progress Report, or on foreign credential recognition processes for skilled workers and provincial nominees, please contact the immigration law specialists at Green and Spiegel LLP.