Immigrant professionals usually arrive in Canada with the expectation that the training and experience they bring with them will be able to be utilized in their adopted country; their qualifications have had to be verified during the immigration process to qualify them for entry into Canada. Unfortunately for many professionals this is not the case. Their education and experiences may not be recognized by those who don’t understand how international credentials compare to our provincial and national systems. The immigrant who comes motivated to work and who is highly skilled, often with a family to support, suddenly finds themselves unable to work in their field of expertise.
The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES) was established in 1995 to help people gain the recognition they need to pursue their career and educational goals in Canada.
What is a credential evaluation?
Credential evaluations are completed by licensing organizations that look at your degree from another country and compare it with similar programs in Canada. They are used by the regulatory body for your profession to recognise you as a qualified professional. You can also use the credential evaluation to apply to post-secondary institutions for advanced degree or professional certification programs.
There are two types of occupations in British Columbia: regulated and non-regulated:
- Regulated: Credential evaluation is required. It is usually completed by a regulatory body.
- Non-Regulated: Credential evaluation generally not mandatory. However, employers may require proof that your educational credentials obtained outside of Canada are equivalent to Canadian standards.
What is a Regulatory Body?
A regulatory body is an organization that makes sure all people working in that industry or profession meet entry requirements and education or experience standards. They provide certification, registration, or licensing for qualified workers, can discipline members that do not meet the requirements for the profession, and are generally in place to protect the public as well as their members.
Who is the Regulatory Body for my Profession?
There are several resources to help you determine if your profession or trade is regulated. To start, we recommend you head to the WorkBC website for a list of Occupational Regulators in BC. The Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre at the Vancouver Public Library can also provide you with more comprehensive information. Their centre offers online and in-person resource centre that helps newcomers to Canada find the information they need to get a job, explore careers, or start a business. All services and resources are free.
How do I Apply to a Regulatory Body?
If your profession has a regulatory body, it can take many months to complete the application process. You may be required to take professional and language examinations, provide a review of your qualifications, and complete supervised work experience for a set amount of time. Details on how to apply can be found in this document prepared by the Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre.
Where do I go if I Have More Questions?
We have many answers to commonly asked settlement questions on our website. We offer a list of immigrant programs and services to connect you with professionals who can help you understand the credential evaluation process. We provide access to English language learning materials you can access to prepare for language examinations. We also offer links to useful immigrant settlement guides and websites to give you current and information important to immigrant settlement and integration. If you get stuck, reach out to one of the above listed organizations for clarification.