People in Canada who help others to attain their goal of working and living in the country from overseas have been recognised by the Canadian government. Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney, said that those working in foreign credential recognition programmes and projects are a much needed part of the immigration system but their work is rarely recognised in terms of the important part they play in helping international migrants.
He has announced the first ever Citizenship and Immigration Canada International Qualifications Network (IQN) Awards for 14 participants. ‘For too long, too many newcomers have found themselves unemployed or stuck in survival jobs despite possessing impressive educational qualifications, work experience, and language skills. This has deprived both the newcomers and the Canadian economy,’ said Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra.
‘The government of Canada is committed to improving the process of foreign credential recognition and helping newcomers to integrate better into the Canadian labour market and Canadian society. The International Qualifications Network is instrumental in achieving these objectives by bringing together organizations across the country to improve the process of foreign credential recognition,’ he explained.
The IQN is an online forum where employers, regulatory bodies, governments and immigrant serving organisations can share best practices in foreign credential assessment and recognition. The website allows stakeholders to share evaluation tools and practices, studies, pilot projects, reports and videos, for example, and post information about events, such as workshops and conferences.
Kenney said that the IQN is just one example of recent efforts to improve the process of foreign credential recognition. In 2007, the government of Canada established the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) to provide internationally trained persons the information and services for credential assessment so they can find work in their fields of training much faster. In 2009, the Government committed $50 million to develop the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, which offers foreign trained professionals in priority occupations a credentials assessment within one year, anywhere in the country.
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In 2011, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) introduced the Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Pilot which helps internationally trained persons offset the costs of the foreign credential recognition process. To date, HRSDC has signed agreements with 10 organizations across the country to deliver these loans. Finally, the Federal Internship for Newcomers Programme (FINP) was recently extended to include private sector companies, which will increase employment opportunities for newcomers.
‘This government is committed to removing barriers to employment faced by newcomers. Sharing of innovative foreign credential assessment and recognition practices through the IQN will help regulatory bodies and employers improve their ability to assess international qualifications and integrate newcomers into the Canadian labour market much faster,’ said Kenney.
IQN award winning initiatives include a standards guide for assessing foreign credentials and a professional development programme that connects newcomers with local business leaders and government officials.