Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Pilot Project

North Lake harbour in eastern Prince Edward Is...
North Lake harbour in eastern Prince Edward Island looking north onto the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The FCR Loans Pilot Project assists with the credential recognition process and sourcing suitable employment for new immigrants. The programme was a pilot project, which will become permanent. The project addresses the unfortunate situation that many new immigrants experience in not having the financial ability for training or taking licensing examinations for regulated professions, as they lack the requisite credit history to obtain bank loans in Canada.
A regulated profession or trade is one that is governed by a provincial, territorial or sometimes federal authority, in which certain entry requirements and standards of practice are used to assess the qualifications and certify, register or license an individual as a qualified applicant. Examples of regulated occupations include engineers, as well as nurses, doctors, teachers, accountants and electricians.
The loans are provided by nine organisations across Canada, including:
* WIL Employment Connections, in Ontario;
* Association Communautaire d'emprunt de Montréal (ACEM), in Quebec;
* Immigrant Access Fund, in Alberta;
* Immigrant Access Fund, in Saskatchewan;
* SEED Winnipeg Inc., in Manitoba;
* S.U.C.C.E.S.S in British Columbia;
* New Brunswick Multicultural Council Inc;
* Canada Microcredit Educators Group, in Prince Edward Island; and
* Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia.
Eligible Candidates are:
* Canadian citizens or permanent residents, residing in the applicable province;
* In possession of
a professional credential/designation or trades-related certificate obtained in a country other than Canada;
* Credit-worthy for credentialing purposes; and
* Limited with regards to Canadian experience in the related field due to a lack of foreign credentials.
Eligible costs of the project include tuition for short-term (two years or less) training; exam fees with a professional governing association; travel expenses to write an exam; qualification assessments fees; professional association fees; books and course materials; and living allowance during study time.
The benefits of the programme include:
* Loans ranging from $1,500 to $15,000 for successful candidates.
* The loan application process can take approximately two weeks.
* There are no fees to apply for the FCR Loan.
* Security is not required for the loan.
* Repayment terms from one year to two years.
* A six-month interest-free grace period.
* Low interest rates (prime rate, plus one per cent).
* Options to save interest by making payments more frequently and within the grace period.
* Flexible monthly payment schedule.

Canadian Immigration's new Express Entry system a slow starter

Homage to the Immigrant, in Rosario, Argentina...
Homage to the Immigrant, in Rosario, Argentina. Dedicated to the immigrant community from around the world that helped build the Argentine nation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that less than 50 percent of immigrants coming into the country this year will be selected through its much-anticipated Express Entry system. The new system, introduced by Canada's Conservative government, promised to match skilled economic migrants with the needs of employers.
Since the launch of the Express Entry on January 1, 2015, just over 6,850 prospective or approximately 2,300 immigrants per month, have been invited to lodge an application for permanent residency. It won't be until 2017 that a majority of immigrants are processed through the new system. 

Immigration levels plan
As part of its 2015 immigration levels plan, CIC had committed to accepting between 260,000 and 285,000 new permanent residents, around two-thirds of which would be economic migrants.
In order for the government to get anywhere near this target they would need to be admitting close to 22,500 immigrants per month. The majority of new immigrant arrivals this year will have to be chosen through the old system, which has faced criticism because of slow processing times.
CIC spokeswoman, Johanne Nadeau said: "CIC is in a period of transition with recent implementation of Express Entry that will span approximately two years. A majority of economic immigrants arriving in 2015 will be drawn from the pool of people who applied to enter Canada in the years before Express Entry was introduced."
It is expected that the number of permanent residents coming through the system will rise in 2016 to around 50% of admissions. By 2017, CIC expects that the majority, if not all economic immigrant based entry will be via the Express Entry system.

Express Entry immigration requirements

Under the new system, candidates in the economic streams are pooled with other applicants for initial assessment. Each candidate is graded on factors such as age, education and work skills and then given a score out of 1,200 according to Canada's Ranking System formula. The ranking formula scores single candidates and candidates with spouses in the following ways:
Single Candidates
  1. Skills & experience (Maximum 500 points).
  2. Skill transferability (Maximum 100 points).
  3. Additional points (Maximum 600 points).
Maximum points 1,200
Spouses or Common-Law Partners of Candidates
  1. Skills & experience (Maximum 460 points)
  2. Spouse of common-law partner factors (Maximum 40 points)
  3. Skill transferability (Maximum 100 points)
  4. Additional points (Maximum 600 points)
Maximum points 1,200
Every three weeks, a cut-off score is chosen by the CIC and those who are above that score are invited to become permanent residents in Canada.
CIC anticipates that there will be between 15 and 25 of these rounds this year. Candidates with a Canadian employment offer, or those nominated by a provincial government, have a distinct advantage due to the way the criteria is weighted.
The number of points needed for admission has dropped by almost half from 900 in early January to 453 by late March. As the number of points required has decreased the number of invitations issued has increased.
Until recently, all of the applicants chosen for Express Entry had job offers or were nominated by a provincial government. However, the last two rounds have seen candidates selected with neither a job offer nor nomination, which has made it easier for applicants.
Written by Daniel Waldron and Sanwar Ali
Edited by Sanwar Ali


Key Canadian Immigrant Concerns Addressed In Federal Budget

The Centre Block on Parliament Hill, containin...
The Centre Block on Parliament Hill, containing the houses of the Canadian parliament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two long-standing concerns among newcomers to Canada were addressed in the government of Canada’s annual budget, details of which were announced this week. The budget addresses how immigrants might do better once they settle in Canada, as well as how they can better help their families back home.
Pilot loan program made permanent
A pilot program launched three years ago to help internationally-trained individuals get their skills up to Canadian standards by providing small loans will become permanent, it was announced. Earlier this month, a panel appointed by the Canadian government to examine the success of Canadian immigration settlement cited the issue of foreign credential recognition as one of the most persistent and prominent barriers to the economic success of skilled immigrants to Canada.
The Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Pilot Project has made it easier for individuals trained internationally to complete the credential recognition process and find jobs that best suit their skills and experience. This initiative aimed to address the underemployment of internationally-trained skilled immigrants to Canada, as a number of immigrants may not have the financial means to take the exams or courses required by Canadian regulations and lack credit history to get bank loans to cover the costs.
The government said that in the first two years, nearly 1,500 loans, worth a total of CAD $9 million, were approved. Less than one per cent of loanees defaulted on repaying the sum. The initiative has been made permanent, with an additional $35 million set aside for future loans over the next five years.
Because accreditation is typically overseen by provincial organisations, funding for this loans program is provided to nine community-based organizations in selected communities across Canada, including:
Loans can be used for anything from covering tuition for training to the price for licensing exams to child care costs, if it means a person can go back to school to upgrade his or her skills to match Canadian standards.
Remittance services to be improved
The Canadian government has set aside $6 million over five years to improve remittance services for people who want to send money abroad. The budget provides funding to establish a website to help people compare the fees that are charged by different service providers, among other initiatives.
Once new immigrants arrive in Canada, they send more than $24 billion a year back to their home countries, according to World Bank estimates from 2012. At this moment, no Canadian agency tracks this data, though the government has said that this will change in the near future.
However, the costs of sending remittances can vary widely, depending on the financial institutions and countries involved. Banks and remittance agencies make money on both the flat-rate fees and exchange-rate premiums they charge. Canada signed an international pledge to help reduce these costs at the 2011 G20 meeting, and numbers have come down since.
“Remittances represent an important source of income for families in the development world and can help pay for essential needs such as nutrition, education and health care,” stated the budget.
The budget and Canadian immigration
“While it remains to be seen how these projects will work out in reality, newcomers to Canada — including skilled immigrants who arrived recently as well as those who may arrive over the next few years — can take heart that they may experience a softer landing once they enter the labour market. The government of Canada has finally recognised that underemployment of skilled professionals means that the economy does not benefit from their expertise and experience,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“With regard to helping immigrants send money with a greater degree of security, this budget goes some way towards giving immigrants the tools they need in order to make informed decisions. Hopefully, it will allow them and their families to make those decisions with more peace of mind.”
©2015 CICnews All Rights Reserved


Canada welcomes first permanent residents under Express Entry

English: Canadian Horseshoe Falls with city of...
English: Canadian Horseshoe Falls with city of Buffalo, US in background. Clicked from Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Express Entry working to make top international talent permanent residents

April 10, 2015 — Toronto — Changes to Canada’s economic immigration system are proving successful in selecting people needed in Canada’s economy and giving them permanent resident status quickly. Just three months after the launch of Express Entry, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander welcomed three of the first Express Entry candidates to become Canadian permanent residents—Emma Hughes, Yaoyao (Anita) Zheng and Xin (Frank) Zhao.
Hughes is a successful candidate from Ireland who applied under the Federal Skilled Worker stream. She now works as an application scientist for EcoSynthetix in Burlington, Ontario.
Zheng and Zhao were both international students who applied under the Canadian Experience Class. Zheng came to Canada from China and in 2012 she graduated in Supply Chain Management from Humber College. Today, she works as a dispatch logistician at DMA Logistics in Mississauga, Ontario.
Zhao also came to Canada from China as an international student and graduated in 2003 from Mohawk College in business accounting. Zhao is currently employed at Wing on New Group Canada, in Markham, Ontario.
Launched in January, Express Entry is a new way of managing applications for Canada’s key economic immigration programs. Candidates create an online profile and express their interest in coming to Canada permanently. Candidates who meet the minimum criteria are accepted into the pool and ranked according to various factors, including language proficiency, education and work experience. Each is a leading indicator of one’s likelihood of integrating fully and quickly into Canadian society and making an optimal contribution to the economy.

Quick facts

  • 6,851 Express Entry candidates have received an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Most complete electronic applications under Express Entry will be processed in six months or less.
  • International students are well placed for success under the Express Entry system because of their high education, Canadian work experience, strong official language skills and youth. They can transition to permanent residence through any of the programs under Express Entry for which they meet the requirements, including the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Provincial Nominee Programs.

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