The Canadian government has launched an 18-million dollar loan program to help immigrant professionals get their foreign credentials recognized in the country.
The three-year program, called The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot, will run in three provinces – British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan. It will be run through selected community agencies, and will provide loans to help foreign trained professionals get Canadian credentials. The loans will be for short-term training, fees for exams, travel costs etc.
S.U.C.C.E.S.S. in British Columbia, Wil Employment Connections in Ontario and Immigrant Access Fund Saskatchewan are three of the community agencies that will be partnered with the Canadian government to provide these loans.
Between them, these three organisations are expected to provide help to more than 750 foreign-trained professionals. And more agencies are expected to come on board in the coming months.
Having their qualifications and experience recognised is one of the major challenges for professionals moving to Canada, and there are stories abound about senior bankers working as security officers or doctors driving taxis.
The government has launched a number of initiatives to redress this situation, through a national framework to recognise foreign credentials. The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) is also part of this program.
The initiatives include ventures with professional bodies such as the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, Construction Sector Council and the Electricity Sector Council.
For this year, the program plans to implement special foreign credentials programs for the following professions:
- Engineering Technicians
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Medical Radiation Technologists
- Teachers (K-12)
But there is also one key challenge to the government and the professionals: the progress made by the professional bodies in putting into place a philosophy and a system to accredit respective foreign-trained immigrants.
And just how difficult this is was made clear by none other the Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney himself.
Launching the Pilot in western Canada, Kenney was quoted as saying that challenge is due in part to demands made by the licensing bodies.
“Too many of the licensing bodies have created procedures for accessing foreign credentials that are just too bureaucratic, too time-consuming and often unfair. All we are asking is that licensing bodies give newcomers a fair shot in a reasonable amount of time,” Mr Kenney was quoted as saying.
To access the services, please click on the following links:
Wil Employment Connections - Ontario
Immigrant Access Fund – Saskatchewan