Pre-Evaluation of federal skilled workers education and work credentials

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister  Jason Kenney recently announced a new scheme that will streamline the Federal Skilled Worker program by making it more responsive to the needs of Employers and the Canadian economy in general.

The scheme known as credentials pre-evaluation  “ would mean that applicants wanting to immigrate as Federal Skilled Workers would have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified by designated organizations before they arrive in Canada.

This is a marked departure from the present practice where Federal Skilled Worker applicants are assessed on the basis of points for their age, education, adaptability , language proficiency and a job offer. While this system made sense in getting the best possible immigrants for Canada it did not give these immigrants any real sense of whether their educational and work credentials were enough to get real and meaningful employment in Canada.

One of the most frustrating issues experienced by most new immigrants to Canada is the inability to practice their professions because their educational credentials are not recognized or accepted specially in regulated professions such as medicine , nursing and engineering. Thus, the “cardiologist taxi driver” while funny to hear is a real heartbreaker not only for the immigrants who are wasting their talents in survival jobs but also to Canada because it is  not benefitting from the skills and talents of these highly educated immigrants who can contribute so much more if given the chance to practice their profession.

The proposed credential pre-evaluation will be a good step in actually determining whether a federal skilled worker applicant’s educational and work credential is something that Canadian employers can actually use for their operations. While the system does not guarantee that the applicant will be employed it more or less gives him an opportunity to choose whether to continue with his application or discontinue it if he knows that his credentials will not be recognized anyway.

This is also helpful to the government since a recently arrived immigrant that is forced to work survival jobs will not be contributing optimally to the tax base. If a newly arrived immigrant can work and practice his profession because he will be assessed and a form of recognition can be given to him then he can practice his profession and immediately contribute to the Canadian economy and therefore lead a productive work life.

The only issue that I believe should be immediately resolved is in the area of regulations and requirements set forth by provincial bodies. Canada does not have a national regulating body for professions. Each province is given this task to regulate the practice of a profession. In most cases such as in medicine , there are options and opportunities to practice but for a foreign trained doctor being able to get a slot for a medical residency program in Canada to gain Canadian training is almost impossible to achieve because of the lack of slots. There are entry barriers that are erected by these self governing and regulating bodies that are designed to exclude foreign trade professionals because of professional snobbery or just downright antiquated regulations that do not conform to the changing demographic and economic realities that Canada is now facing.

Being able to live , work and prosper in Canada is a dream for most immigrants .Highly skilled and educated immigrants will swallow their pride and work for jobs that are beneath their education and experience just so they can pursue the Canadian dream . The present immigration and regulatory regime is wasting the tremendous potential that these immigrants bring to Canada. Fixing this will unlock a huge human resource that can solve most of the manpower requirements in highly regulated professions that experiencing a shortage in professionals. I believe this program should be pursued with a concurrent approach of fixing the antiquated thinking of erecting entry barriers in the different professions.

Tony Santiago
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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