The Federal Skilled Worker Program: What Canada Can Do To Improve It

Result from the 2011 census show that new immigrants account for two thirds of Canada’s growth. Canada has and will continue to need immigrants with special skills to contribute to its growth. However, many of these immigrants come to Canada to find out they do not qualify to work in their profession or need extensive training before they are allowed to do so. This particular issue Australia addressed by making potential immigrants get certified before they apply for immigration. Although this may appear to solve the problem, it actually drove many away from applying. It makes perfect sense that it would considering they put money and effort to getting certified to learn that now they are allowed to “apply” for immigration. Nothing guarantees they are going to be accepted as immigrants. Ask yourself, if you had to put in money and effort to get certified only to get an attempt at “applying” for immigration, would you? I personally wouldn’t!

In Canada our main bulk of immigrants come from India and China, in other words booming economies. The standard of living in these countries has significantly improved in the last decade. Therefore, they are attracting more and more people to stay. Add to that the fact that many immigrants struggle to find jobs in their field in Canada. It’s a tough problem but I am sure the government can come up with many solutions. I personally have a few ideas that may be beneficial.

One idea would be to do what Australia does, just in a different order. One would apply for immigration the way its done today, however, after the application is processed the immigration visa would hang on getting one’s credentials approved. At least at the point they would know this is the one bridge they need to cross to come to Canada and work in their field. If they don’t fully qualify, they would know what they need to do to make them qualify. In some cases professionals may need a licensing exam after getting their credentials evaluated. In those cases, their exam should be scheduled prior to them getting a visa.

Another idea would be for the government to keep record of the different institutions abroad and know if their degrees would be equivalent to that obtained in Canada and if not, what a graduate would need to do to make it equivalent. That way, when someone applies for immigration or prior to applying they could go on the Canadian consulate site in their country and see if they qualify or not. For example, a physician that graduated from abc university would not qualify to be a physician in Canada or would qualify provided they take courses in certain subjects. I am sure the government can obtain such records from each profession’s governing body considering the number of immigrants that come to Canada yearly and get their credentials evaluated through these governing bodies.

Another very important point is to educate potential immigrants. Most need to be told that they will need their credentials checked and in many cases take a licensing exam before they are allowed to practices in Canada. As trivial as this may sound, many immigrants are under the impression they are automatically allowed to work in their trained profession as soon as they land in Canada. This is simply because in many countries, professionals are automatically licensed as long as they have graduated from an acceptable program.

To conclude, I believe its wrong to simply let immigrants come to Canada and then figure out how they’ll be able to work in their area of training but it is also wrong to make them invest money and effort without knowing if they’ll be able to come to Canada or not. It should not be too difficult to come up with a happy medium. I just hope a good solution will be part of the immigration reform we are going to witness in 2012.