British Columbia is making significant strides in facilitating a smoother transition for immigrants with international training. International credentials recognition has too long been a Catch-22 for immigrants: they can’t get their credentials recognized without proper experience, and they can’t get the proper experience without the credentials. The recently introduced legislation, the International Credentials Recognition Act, aims to expedite this process, fostering opportunities for success and contributing to a more inclusive and sustainable B.C. economy.
Key Professions Covered Under Bill 38
The proposed legislation, known as Bill 38, targets 29 professions overseen by 18 regulatory authorities. The diverse list includes professions such as registered music teacher, professional engineer, social worker, lawyer, and emergency medical assistant. The breadth of coverage reflects the government’s commitment to accommodating a wide range of skilled individuals. “This will help folks find work in their chosen field faster, increase their opportunities for success, and build a stronger B.C. economy that is inclusive, sustainable, and leaves no one behind,” says Workforce Development Minister, Andrew Mercier.
A Boost for the Economy
Bridgitte Anderson, President, and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, expresses optimism about the positive impact on the province’s economy. “With B.C. experiencing record-breaking population growth, the legislation is expected to unlock the full potential of newcomers, harnessing their skills to benefit both communities and the economy,” she says. Recognizing internationally trained professionals’ credentials is seen as a common-sense initiative that aligns with the province’s growth.
Praise from Immigrant Groups
Immigrant-focused organizations, such as MOSAIC, commend the government’s initiative. Olga Stachova, CEO of MOSAIC, appreciates the thorough engagement process and the inclusion of voices with lived experiences in shaping discussions. The move is seen as a significant step towards allowing immigrant talent to practice in their trained professions, addressing the long-standing challenge of credential recognition.
Removing Barriers for Newcomers
British Columbia Premier David Eby emphasizes the urgent need to address the skills shortage in the province: “With the skills shortage we have in this province, we cannot afford to leave anyone on the sidelines. That’s why we’re taking action to close the gaps in the system so people can get to work faster, fill in-demand jobs, and provide much-needed services to people in B.C.” The International Credentials Recognition Act, set to come into effect summer 2024, aims to eliminate obstacles for skilled professionals moving to B.C. The legislation will streamline processes, remove redundant language testing, set processing time caps, and make credential-assessment information available online.
Complementing Healthcare Initiatives
This legislative push aligns with ongoing efforts to improve credential recognition for internationally trained healthcare professionals. The province has expanded pathways for physicians and nurses, including the Practice Ready Program expansion and the introduction of a U.S.A. certified class of licensure. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. has introduced the U.S.A. certified class which permits registrants trained in the United States who hold American Board of Medical Specialists certification to practise medicine in B.C. with some limits and conditions. The initiatives seek to address the skills gap and provide much-needed services to the people of B.C.
A Comprehensive Approach
British Columbia’s commitment to recognizing international credentials extends beyond legislation. The province has undertaken various measures to support internationally trained healthcare professionals, including funding for Health Match BC, creating new nurse-navigator positions, and developing the Health Care Access Program (HCAP). These initiatives collectively contribute to a more efficient and supportive environment for immigrants entering the workforce.
As British Columbia paves the way for a more inclusive and prosperous province, the International Credentials Recognition Act stands as a beacon of hope for immigrants looking to build strong, prosperous lives in their chosen fields. The legislative push not only acknowledges the valuable contributions of skilled professionals from around the world but also underscores the government’s commitment to leaving no one behind in the pursuit of a stronger and more diverse British Columbia.