Employers may not recognize or fully understand the standards of international education, or employment qualifications obtained abroad, when listed on a resume. The value or comparability of education, training, and/or experience acquired outside of Canada is not always clear, which may impact decisions around the hiring or promoting of immigrant staff. These concerns can often be addressed during a job interview, when skills and education are examined in greater detail. Some jobs/employers may require formal evaluation of credentials.
Understanding when to assess
Before employers can consider assessing or reviewing the credentials of an internationally-trained and educated professional, it's important to first understand the candidate's qualifications as they relate to the position.
Credentials Tip – Recognize transferable skills
"An organization that can recognize the transferability of a skilled immigrant's training and education can gain a competitive edge."
Focusing on job competencies
The high levels of education, skills, and work experience that immigrants bring to Canada can be readily transferable.
Analyzing the skill sets of the job, and differentiating between essential and non-essential skills can help clarify what are critical skills needed for a candidate to be successful in their job. Recognizing transferable skills can help employers focus on hiring the most competent person.
Understanding International Credentials
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Initial challenges from an employer's perspective
Employers may find it confusing or difficult to understand the immigrant's education and work experience the first time they review their resume or CV. Limited awareness of how a profession, trade, or skill operates in a different country sometimes leaves employers uncertain of how to assess candidates. Qualified candidates may be overlooked or screened out prematurely, meaning the best person for the job may be turned away.
Employers may also be interested in knowing more about :
- The time it takes time to validate international credentials.
- The education system in a specific country.
- Paper credentials and how they relate to skills in practice.
Who does what in the credentials process?
Employers are not required to look after the formal licensing.
There are organizations, as well as governing bodies of regulated professions and trades that require mandatory certification, which are tasked with the job of formal certification and licensing. It is up to employers to carefully review and consider the overall skills, experience, and education of the FTP candidate and how they can best suit the company's needs.
Regulatory bodies may provide comparative evaluations that summarize skills, education, and experiences obtained in another country. Comparative evaluations exist to assist employers in understanding the foreign credentials of applicants. It is also advantageous for the FTPs to have their documents translated before starting their job search. Settlement and other service providers can help with document translation if needed.
The licensing and credential recognition process is complicated:
- There are more than 440 regulatory bodies and apprenticeship authorities that govern approximately 55 professions in Canada.
- Each province and territory is responsible for licensing regulated professions and trades through regulatory bodies and apprenticeship authorities. However, there may be different requirements for licensing depending on where you live, and some professions are not regulated in every province.
- Each body also conducts an evaluation of academic training, work experience, skills and competencies. Evaluations may include:
- An assessment of training and skills against the profession's standards. This is done by comparing international academic transcripts and other related documents (such as university course descriptions), with the training provided by Canadian colleges and universities.
- Written examinations, an interview, or both.
- An evaluation of language and communication skills.
- A specified period of supervised work experience.
Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO):
Established in 2007, the FCRO is mandated to provide information, path-finding and referral services to internationally-trained individuals in order to have their credentials assessed and recognized.
Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC):
The Office of the Fairness Commissioner ensures that certain regulated professions in Ontario have registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.
The OFC requires regulated professions to: