Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pre-arrival orientation boosts immigrant prospects


Nicholas KeungImmigration Reporter
A government initiative to help skilled immigrants navigate the labyrinth of credential recognition and Canadian job market before they arrive on our shores has boosted newcomers’ employment rate.
Four years after the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP) was launched, 62 per cent of participants found employment in six month, up from 44 per cent before its existence, says a government review of the federal Foreign Credentials Referral Office.
Ottawa launched the office in 2007 as a response to all those surgeon-driving-a-taxi tales that have sullied Canada’s reputation as a good place to resettle.
According to the report, 13,000 skilled immigrants had registered by September 2010 for the pre-arrival orientation program about Canadian culture, labour market and foreign credential recognition process.
The two-day program — available in the Philippines, China and India — includes a group session and personal counselling to help migrants develop an “individualized action plan” to find work I Canada. The service will expand to the visa post in Britain later this year.
“The objective of the CIIP is to effectively prepare immigrants for successful integration while still in their country of origin,” said the report, released Thursday. “We are not only improving economic outcomes for newcomers, but we are also ensuring that employers have access to this valuable and much needed labour resource.”
Eight out of 10 jobs in Canada are in non-regulated occupations in which employers are responsible for determining whether a prospective employee has the skills, education and experience for the position.
The remaining 20 per cent of jobs require licensing by a professional regulatory body.
Last year, the foreign credentials office imposed a 12-month limit on assessments of international credentials for eight professions: architects, engineers, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, registered nurses and financial auditors/accountants.
It plans to broaden the one-year time frame in 2012 to include six other professions: dentists, engineering technicians, licensed practical nurses, medical radiation technologists, physicians and teachers.
Canada’s Agreement on Internal Trade with the provinces has been amended to allow workers certified by regulators in one province to be relicensed in another “without having to meet significant additional requirements.”
In 2010, the Federal Internship for Newcomers program, a job project to hire immigrants in 11 government departments, doubled its capacity from 29 positions to 65.
“We have made progress, but there is much more to do … we must continue in our efforts to ensure that newcomers to Canada do not face unnecessary barriers to employment,” said Corinne Prince-St-Amand, director general of the foreign credentials office.