The Canadian Press
Date: Wednesday Mar. 28, 2012 9:12 PM ET
OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is proposing rule changes that would assess and verify the education credentials of some immigrants even before they arrive in Canada.
The new requirement would mean that applicants seeking to come in under the federal skilled workers program would have a sense before they arrive whether they’ll be able to get work in their field.
The question of how to assess foreign schooling and training has long been a contentious issue in immigration policy.
Kenney says the early examination of credentials will give skilled workers a comparison with Canadian standards and an understanding of how Canadian employers will judge their education and training.
It will also help weed out people whose credentials aren’t up to snuff.
Immigration Canada says the change is part of an effort to address the problem of immigrants who come to Canada, but cannot find work in their chosen field.
The department stresses, though, that this early assessment won’t mean assured employment, nor will it guarantee that an immigrant will be allowed to practice in a regulated occupation, such as medicine.
Applicants seeking to enter such a profession would have to have their bona fides assessed in greater depth by professional regulatory bodies in the provinces.
The government has a review office which studies the foreign credential problem and suggests ways of assessing foreign training and expertise and bridging gaps with Canadian requirements.
For years there have been anecdotal complaints about foreign PhDs reduced to driving taxis because their diplomas either aren’t recognized or aren’t considered to meet Canadian standards.
Kenney said the pre-arrival assessment is intended to help those people.
“We’re saying: truth in advertising. Don’t bother coming to Canada if you don’t have at least an even shot at having your education and your skills recognized,” he told reporters.
“And I think we’re doing those people a favour and we’re doing Canada a favour. There’s no shortage of people who want to migrate here. Let’s invite those who have the best chance of success.”