Fast tracking foreign-trained professionals

New program assesses and recognizes international credentials faster

The federal government has launched the first phase of a program to help foreign-trained individuals get their credentials recognized faster.

The 2007 budget set aside $32.3 million for the first five years of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), which will help internationally trained individuals get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly.

"Too many newcomers can't get jobs they have been trained for. That's a terrible waste, for them and for the country," said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley.

"In our first phase, the Foreign Credentials Referral Office will help newcomers access what they need to become accredited, both in Canada for those newcomers already here, and abroad for those waiting for an opportunity to come to our country."

The new office will help people navigate through the complex system of foreign credential recognition in Canada. The office's approach includes:

• in-person services and a dedicated phone service operated by Service Canada at 320 outlets across the country by fall 2007;

• an expanded online service that will help individuals identify occupations in Canada for which they may be qualified, provide them with detailed labour market information, and refer them to the appropriate regulatory body; and

• increasing employer awareness of the processes for, and benefits of, hiring internationally trained and educated professionals.

"Canada needs immigrants, and initiatives such as the FCRO will help attract newcomers and capitalize on their skills," said Wai Young, Interim Executive Director of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance which represents 450 immigrant and refugee service agencies across Canada.

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