Helping skilled immigrants help Canada

A new and exciting project, the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot, is underway in BC and across Canada to ensure skilled immigrants work in their field of expertise

Many skilled workers come to this country hoping to work in their chosen field. After all, it’s often a major reason their immigration was accepted. The recognition of foreign credentials is a complicated, costly, and time-consuming process. For many, Canada’s high cost of living eats through their foreign-currency life savings before their qualifications can be recognized. Forced into low-paying jobs, they find themselves not in their dreamland of opportunity, but often stuck in “survival” jobs.

But this sad trend is avoidable. That’s what the Government of Canada is betting with a new investment to help skilled immigrants with loans while their foreign credentials are vetted. This year, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has launched the Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Pilot Project across nine provinces. The pilot will test a number of new community-based approaches to providing micro loans to recently arrived skilled immigrants.

HRSDC has commissioned the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) to design a research and evaluation framework for the pilot. Most studies of microcredit programs have been conducted in developing countries with the very poor. As the FCR Pilot Project will be the first to study loans to skilled workers in an OECD country, it provides a unique opportunity to learn about:

Who uses the money, how much, and for what?

What community partnerships are formed and how do they contribute to the microloan program delivery?

Do loans help skilled immigrants in the FCR process, and if so, how?

Do FCR loans ultimately improve employment outcomes?

Policymakers here and around the world will certainly be very interested in the results. But ultimately, it’s Canada’s skilled immigrants arriving now who have the most to gain.