Fourteen Canadian organizations received the first International Qualifications Network (IQN) Awards from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for their efforts in undertaking programs and projects for the recognition of skilled foreign workers’ foreign credentials.
According to Statistics Canada, only 24% of highly educated skilled immigrants currently work in their field of expertise in the country, and get on average a lower pay than their native Canadian counterparts. As the number of skilled immigrants increases year after year in the country, the already present problems of unemployment and significant mismatch between occupation and qualifications among new immigrants become more and more prominent. Today, it is not surprising to find doctors driving cabs and engineers working as cashiers across the country`s urban centers.
Many immigrants struggle to find jobs that allow them to optimize and put their knowledge and abilities to use, as it is difficult for them to have their foreign degrees or certifications recognized by Canadian employers. This causes a tremendous waste of talent and resources for the Canadian economy. To address this problem, CIC has instituted the Foreign Credentials Referrals Office (FCRO), which helps immigrants gain recognition of their foreign credentials to adapt to the Canadian labour market. The IQN is at present a vital component of this office.
The IQN is an online forum that helps governmental and private organizations assess foreign credentials, and share different credential recognition practices for these entities to implement as needed. Member organizations can be awarded for their work in categories such as innovation and integration of foreign skilled immigrants to their workplace.
Besides the IQN, the Canadian government also offers the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot, through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), which assists immigrants in offsetting the high costs of foreign credential recognition procedures.
The government has also invested $50 million in developing the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications that offers annual credentials assessment to professionals.
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