By: Daniel Dale City Hall, May Warren, the Star
Lawyers, welders and electricians are among the immigrant professionals who will have their foreign credentials assessed faster under a policy change announced by the federal government on Friday.
The Conservatives will add 10 occupations to the “priority” assessment program that was launched with 14 occupations, says Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Employment and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
The first group of 14 included engineers and dentists. The new group unveiled Friday also includes geoscientists, carpenters, heavy-duty equipment technicians, heavy-equipment operators, audiologists, speech language pathologists, midwives, and psychologists.
“Internationally trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields, along with all fees and relevant documents, will be advised within one year how their credentials compare to Canadian standards,” the government said in a news release.
Skilled immigrants have long complained that they have been forced into low-skill, low-paying jobs while they wait for their credentials to be recognized.
“Anything that speeds up the recognition of internationally obtained credentials is a good thing because lack of international credential recognition is one of the major barriers to immigrants being able to work according to their skills and abilities and experience in Canada,” said Joan Andersen, director of employment and language programs at Vancouver’s Mosaic, a non-profit that addresses issues affecting immigrants and refugees.
“We should be expediting the recognition of all internationally obtained credentials, so anything that’s not on the list should be on the list,” Andersen said. “But it’s good to have an emphasis on trades because we’re facing a skilled trades shortage in British Columbia so that’s positive.”
Kenney announced a sweeping overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program in June. The new policy will prohibit companies from using the temporary workers to make up more than 10 per cent of their workforces.
With files from The Canadian Press.