The overqualification of qualified newcomers must be addressed, amid the immediate need for more healthcare professionals in Canada.

On December 5, 2022, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a call for proposals to help Internationally Educated Health Professionals (IEHPs) work in Canada’s healthcare sector.

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At the news conference held today, (Minister Fraser spoke on the Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister for Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion), announced a call for proposals for projects to help optimize and enable IEHP acquire local skills, experience and credentials; so that their talents can be used appropriately.

Proposals will be handled through the Foreign Credentials Recognition Program (FCRP), a federal program that provides funds to governments and organizations to support the recognition of foreign credentials in Canada. Minister Fraser announced a $90 million investment through the program, for selected projects.

Per the announcement, a project is eligible if it can either:

  • Reduce barriers to foreign credential recognition for IEHP by improving recognition processes, streamlining recognition stages, and expanding access to field practice; either
  • Provide IEHPs with the right Canadian work experience for their preferred fields of employment, while providing support services for participants, such as transportation costs and childcare, mentoring and coaching; either
  • Facilitate labor mobility between Canadian jurisdictions for HCPs and IEHPs in order to minimize structural and administrative barriers for HCPs seeking to work in another jurisdiction.

Additionally, Eligible Projects Must:

  • Develop testing and implementation of credential recognition systems with an emphasis on reducing regulatory processes and/or harmonizing occupational standards to increase international credential recognition and/or interprovincial labor mobility; either
  • Provide wage subsidies, job placement, and mentoring to IEHPs to help them integrate into the Canadian job market.

Proposals will be accepted through January 30, 2023. Successful projects may receive a minimum of $500,000 and a maximum of $10 million in funding.

Why is Canada doing this?

Canada is facing historic labor shortages in several industries, including seasonal agriculture, retail and tourism, and (most pressing) healthcare.

Minister Fraser noted in his speech that 47% of qualified new arrivals with health education from abroad were unemployed or underemployed in non-health professions that only required a high school degree. In response, Canada has already removed barriers to permanent residency (PR) for healthcare workers, announcing earlier this year that doctors in Canada with temporary status would be eligible for economic immigration, even though they theoretically work on their own.

Immigrants working in Canada with a foreign degree were twice as likely to work in a job for which they were overqualified compared to workers with a Canadian degree.

Building on this persistent overqualification, changes to Canada’s accreditation system will be key to adequately addressing labor shortages and making optimal use of the internationally trained qualified talent already in the country.

While the current scope of this project focuses on healthcare professionals, it is likely that the federal government will continue to explore credentialing innovations for other sectors, as more and more employers report a skills gap among their employees.

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By Published On: 6:15 amCategories: Work Visa, Canada Work Visa0 Comments

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