Canada is proposing a major change to how foreign skilled workers’ education credentials are assessed, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has announced.

The proposed new requirement would mean that applicants wanting to immigrate as Federal Skilled Workers would have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified by designated organisations before they arrive in Canada.
‘Our Government is building an immigration system that is focused on economic growth and ensuring that all Canadians, including immigrants, are able to contribute to their maximum capacity,’ said Kenney.

‘By having their foreign education credentials assessed before their arrival to Canada, foreign skilled workers will have a better sense of how their credentials fit into the Canadian labour market and will be able to contribute their full skill set to the economy more quickly. This proposal is part of a broader package of transformational changes that will make Canada’s immigration policies work better for the Canadian economy,’ he explained.
Officials believe that a pre-arrival assessment would let applicants know how their education credentials compare to Canadian credentials and it will give immigrants a sense of how Canadian employers are likely to value their education.

And they hope that it will also screen out people without proper education levels and is an important step in helping to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field.

The assessment of international educational credentials would not mean that Federal Skilled Workers would automatically find employment in Canada commensurate with their skills nor would it guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation. Applicants who intend to work in a regulated profession would likely need to have their qualifications assessed in greater depth for purposes of licensure by a regulatory body specific to their profession and intended province of work.
‘Internationally trained workers make an important contribution to Canada’s job market and the economy. That’s why our Government is working in partnership to improve foreign credential recognition so that skilled newcomers can put their knowledge and skills to work sooner,’ said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.
Kenney has also released the 2011 Government of Canada Progress Report on Foreign Credential Recognition. The annual report, led by the Foreign Credentials Referral Office, highlights achievements made by Citizenship and Immigration Canada , Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and Health Canada to help foreign trained individuals integrate into the Canadian workforce.

It includes the expansion of the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP), which is designed and managed by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. CIIP currently offers pre-arrival orientation sessions in up to 25 countries, based on demand.

There is a new assessment and bridging programme to help internationally educated nurses meet regulatory requirements for licensure across Canada and an International Qualifications Network Website for stakeholders to share information and best practices in credential assessment.