Pre-arrival assessment for foreign workers in Canada

On 28 March 2012, Jason Kenney, the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, announced major changes to the ways in which foreign skilled workers will have their education credentials assessed before arriving to Canada. The plan for getting the education credentials assessed is the latest attempt by the government to get the workers ready to join the work force before they arrive in Canada, along with the language testing results required at the time of application.

Stories of foreign doctors driving cabs are more than the urban myth. It’s not too surprising, when people talk to immigrants doing odd jobs and find them qualified for some other skilled jobs, that they fail to understand the mismatch in their skills and the job they do. When an immigrant is selected to migrate to Canada based on their educational qualification and work experience, it is expected that they should be able to find a job in Canada to match their skill. The whole logic of selection criteria and the awarding of immigration points system based on education, work experience, language proficiency is defeated, when new-comers cannot use their skills in Canada and they end up doing odd jobs. This also creates oversupply of labour for unskilled jobs thus depressing wages for those workers, that is why new-comers are perceived as competitors and lowering wages for all.

This story is all too familiar with many Canadian immigrants as they know some family member, who landed in Canada with high hopes, only to find themselves ending up in odd jobs to meet their everyday basic needs. These situations not only deprive immigrants of prospects to fully use their potential but go against the objectives of the economic immigration too.

The pre-assessment of credential of applicants in economic category will help applicants to get job market ready before arrival and will give them a clear picture of their qualification equivalency in Canadian workplace, which means they can prepare for their entry into job market in Canada and do any educational or training upgrade needed for the same. As evident from the current Canadian immigration policy, all the changes being made by means of ministerial instructions, the government is geared to match the influx of the new-comers to the needs of the economy so it is practical to pre-assess the qualifications and language proficiency of applicants to see if they match the needs of market. It would not be a far-fetched idea if in near future, government would mandate the professionals to write their licensing exams and get their accreditations from abroad so that they can be recruited by companies even before landing in Canada.

On the face, this seems like to be too much of burden being put on the applicant but it will be a blessing in disguise, getting them ready for ground realities of the Canadian job market and saving them from disappointments in their future life in Canada. They will be able to utilize their potential to full and reap the benefits of job opportunities in Canada. This will hopefully make the urban myth of “doctors driving cabs”, an urban myth indeed, not the reality that is being faced today.

Prabodh Pathak
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

News Releases for 2012
A new immigration point system for Canada starts in 2012

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