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Foreign Qualifications Recognition Alberta, Canada The Swedish Council for Higher Education (ENIC-NARIC Sweden) Nordic Council of Ministers Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Foreign Qualifications Recognition Alberta, Canada The Swedish Council for Higher Education (ENIC-NARIC Sweden) Nordic Council of Ministers Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Foreign Qualifications Recognition Alberta, Canada The Swedish Council for Higher Education (ENIC-NARIC Sweden) Nordic Council of Ministers Conference Swedish Ministry of Education and Research October 2013

2 Developing a Plan Objective: Immigrants will have the opportunity to fully utilize their education, skills and work experience for the benefit of themselves and the Alberta economy. Process: Engage and consult stakeholders – Roundtable discussions held with immigrants, immigrant serving organizations, post-secondary institutions, professional regulatory organizations (PROs) & employers. Outcome: Using the information gathered, a Foreign Qualification Recognition Plan for Alberta (FQR Plan) was developed.

3 Alberta’s FQR Plan: 2008

4 Foreign Qualifications Recognition (FQR) Issues and Challenges – Diversity and number of FQR decision makers – Assessment of foreign education and skills – Skilled immigrants coming from a greater range of countries – Consistent assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications – An open, transparent and accountable FQR process

5 FQR PLAN: 3 Strategic Themes 1.Specialized Information: – Immigrants have easy access to information regarding recognition of their foreign credentials 2.Assessment Standards and Resources: – Ensure transparent and fair assessment of foreign credentials 3.Bridging the Gap – Ensure availability of appropriate programs to bridge gap between immigrant qualifications and standards required for the workplace

6 Highlights of FQR Initiatives 1.Specialized Information: – Developed FQR resources posted on the Alberta-Canada Immigration portal – Developed 65 accreditation guides for regulated occupations, which describe the process to become licensed or registered to practice in these occupations; guides are available at:

7 Highlights of FQR Initiatives (cont’d) Immigrate to Alberta web portal:

8 Highlights of FQR Initiatives (cont’d) Developed How to work in your Occupation in Alberta brochure, which can be downloaded at: brochure.pdf

9 Highlights of FQR Initiatives (cont’d) 2.Assessment Standards and Resources: – Provided over $3.5 million (CDN) to professional regulatory organizations for 41 projects to improve assessment and recognition processes for internationally educated applicants – Organized forums and roundtable discussions with all key stakeholders – Delivered information workshops on how to evaluate foreign credentials

10 Highlights of FQR Initiatives (cont’d) 3.Bridging the Gap – Provided over $400,000 (CDN) in contracts for innovative projects that support successful integration of skilled immigrants – Developed an interactive online diversity training for employers, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace. – Sponsored 77 workshops on workplace diversity and two FQR employer forums. – Provided over $2 million (CDN) to the Immigrant Access Fund – Developed a policy framework for bridging programs and funded bridging programs in various occupations

11 Available at: progressreport2011.pdf progressreport2011.pdf FQR Progress Report 2010/2011

12 Stakeholder Engagement Professional regulatory organizations forums Roundtable discussions with key stakeholders (post-secondary institutions, employers, immigrant serving organizations)

13 Professional Regulatory Organizations Forums At the most recent forum in 2012, PROs identified the following FQR priorities for future work: – Continue support of FQR projects through government grants – Strengthen cross-organizational collaboration between key stakeholders – Increase opportunities for training to develop PROs’ assessment capacity in FQR – Improve sharing of assessment best practices – Support national coordination of FQR

14 Roundtable Discussions with Key Stakeholders At the 2013 roundtable discussions with employers, immigrant-serving organizations and post-secondary institution, the following priority areas were identified for future work: – Continued collaboration and improved communication is needed between governments and stakeholders – Improve pre-arrival information – Enhance employer awareness and participation – Central repository of FQR information

15 Annual Reporting and Analysis of Alberta’s Professional Regulatory Organizations – Collaborated with 30 PROs to develop reports describing the assessment outcomes for foreign trained professionals applying for registration/licensure. – Informs government’s work: to improve FQR and assessment processes to identify FQR programs, resources, and tools to identify gaps and barriers in FQR processes

16 Annual Reporting and Analysis of Alberta’s Professional Regulatory Organizations Country clusters: 1 = UK, Ireland, Germany, US 2 = Philippines, Mexico, India, France, Netherlands 3 = Poland, South Korea, China, Ukraine, Czech, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Colombia 4 = All other

17 Annual Reporting and Analysis of Alberta’s Professional Regulatory Organizations Country clusters: 1 = UK, Ireland, Germany, US 2 = Philippines, Mexico, India, France, Netherlands 3 = Poland, South Korea, China, Ukraine, Czech, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Colombia 4 = All other

18 Annual Reporting and Analysis of Alberta’s Professional Regulatory Organizations

19 Provincial, territorial and federal governments made a public commitment towards improving qualifications assessment and recognition practices, and creating positive change for immigrants in Canada Alberta served as co-chair of the national working group that developed the Framework and plays an active role in its implementation Framework Principles – Fairness – Transparency – Timeliness – Consistency Framework can be found at:

20 A Pan-Canadian Framework: Pathways to Recognition

21 Pan-Canadian Framework: Target Occupations for First Set of Target Occupations by December 31, 2010 Second Set of Target Occupations by December 31, 2012 Architects Engineers Financial Auditors and Accountants Medical Laboratory Technologists Occupational Therapists Pharmacists Physiotherapists Registered Nurses Dentists Engineering Technicians Licensed Practical Nurses Medical Radiation Technologists Physicians Teachers (K-12)

22 The Progress Report can be found at: immigration/foreign-qualification-recognition.aspx immigration/foreign-qualification-recognition.aspx

23 Future FQR Priorities Engage and work with employers to recognize foreign qualifications. Support the development of tools and resources to help employers integrate immigrants into workplaces Work with PROs to support improvements of assessment and recognition outcomes Work with PROs to develop assessment and recognition procedures specific to the registration of foreign-trained professionals such a provisional registration/licensure.

24 Future FQR Priorities (cont’d) Continue to develop pre-arrival preparation and assessment tools Develop opportunities for immigrants to access bridging programs aimed at minimizing unnecessary re-training Continue to actively participate in the implementation of the Pan-Canadian FQR Framework

25 International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) The Government of Alberta established IQAS in IQAS issues Educational Assessment Certificates that indicate how international educational credentials compare to educational standards in Alberta. Assessments are designed to support entry into employment, professional licensing or further education. In 2012/13, IQAS issued 7,438 assessment certificates. 25

26 Who Benefits from IQAS Services? Employers Professional Regulatory Organizations Educational Institutions Individuals: – Immigrants – Temporary Foreign Workers – People planning to immigrate to Canada – Canadians who have studied abroad A person does not need a specific immigration status to apply for an IQAS assessment 26

27 Benefits of having an IQAS assessment Individuals: – can use an IQAS assessment to support the recognition of their credentials and help them gain employment, obtain professional licensure or enter further education. 27

28 Benefits of having an IQAS assessment (cont’d) Employers: – Can use an IQAS assessment to inform their hiring decisions and have confidence that educational credentials presented by applicants are valid and meet Canadian educational standards. 28

29 Benefits of having an IQAS assessment (cont’d) Professional Regulatory Organizations: – can use IQAS assessments as part of their process of assessing international applicants for professional licensing. IQAS assessments provide regulatory organizations confidence in the authenticity of foreign educational credentials that were assessed. 29

30 IQAS Top Ten Countries for Credential Evaluation (2012) Philippines23% India16% China5% Pakistan5% Nigeria5% United Kingdom4% United States3% Bangladesh2% Ukraine2% Nepal2% Other Countries (n=138)33%

31 Types of Assessment Service Requests (2012/2013 Fiscal Year)

32 Top 5 Countries of Assessment 32

33 IQAS Expertise International credential assessment is the core area of expertise and competence within IQAS – Extensive staff training in international credential assessment – Capacity to read 14 languages for the verification of documents – Database containing evaluations of over 100,000 credentials – Reference library containing over 2,500 related publications/articles – Access to several online information and verification sources – Member of global professional network 33

34 How IQAS Evaluates Credentials Authenticity Review Accuracy of Translations Recognition Status of Institutions Description of Educational Programs General Statement of Comparability

35 Authentication Steps: 1.Ensure that all documents are included with application: degree certificates, transcripts, syllabi, etc. 2.The overall appearance, format and content is checked. 3.Check for any evidence of tampering or alteration of documents. 4.The consistency of biographical data (i.e. names, birthdate, etc.) is checked across all documents submitted. 5.Verify that documents were issued by the proper authority. 6.Verify that the institution was appropriately authorized to award the credential issued. 7.Where there is doubt of the authenticity, documents are confirmed directly with the issuing body.

36 Identifying Unauthentic Documents Less than 1% of documents received by IQAS are determined as fraudulent. In Canada, the act of using falsified academic credentials is not a specific crime. The Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada provides a national platform for assessors to communicate and share information including fraudulent document information.

37 Accuracy of Translations IQAS requires literal word-for-word translations as opposed to interpretation. Assessments are based as much as possible on the original documents and not the translations. When IQAS receives documents for which there is no in-house expertise, the translations are sent for verification to a contracted translator.

38 Recognition of Institutions A recognized institution is one which has been formally approved by a designated competent authority within the country through a process incorporating quality assurance. The institution must also be widely accepted by other institutions and agencies inside and/or outside the country. IQAS only evaluates credentials from recognized institutions.


40 Description of Educational Programs IQAS describes the educational program in terms of: -level of education -length of the study -general content of study -function of the program This step in the assessment process involves considerable research. Analysis of the information collected in the above step supports the establishment of the comparative outcome.

41 General Statement of Comparison IQAS uses researched information to arrive at a fair and accurate comparison to educational standards in Alberta. Assessments are advisory only and do not provide the assessment of occupation specific content. 41

42 Assessments Basic Assessment provides a general statement about the comparative levels of achievement in Canada. – For example: The Licentiate Diploma generally compares to the completion of a four-year Bachelor’s degree with a focus in economics and accounting. 42

43 Basic Assessment Sample 43

44 Additional Assessments Educational Assessment: – Includes a table that indicates the level of achievement in specific high school courses required for admission into an educational program. Specialized Assessment: – Includes a list of subjects completed and comparable credits. 44

45 Online Resources To help navigate the application process, the following resources are available on our website at: – List of the educational institutions using IQAS – List of the professional organization using IQAS – Sample Assessments Certificates 45

46 IQAS Website 46

47 Online Resources International Education Guides (IEGs) - An information tool designed to help decision makers (employers, professional licensing bodies, educational institutions and others) make informed and timely decisions. Educational Overview Guides (EOGs) - Designed to support an understanding of foreign-earned credentials for those who have no training or experience in the field. The EOGs are easy to use and accessible online. 47

48 Online Resources EOGs can be accessed at: 48

49 International Education Guides 49

50 International Education Guides 50 IEGs are available for the following countries: 1. China 2. South Korea 3. United Kingdom 4. Philippines 5. Russia & former USSR 6. India 7. Colombia 8. Pakistan 9. Nigeria 10. Poland 11. U.S.A. Major strategic objectives are to: Promote accurate assessments of international credentials Promote consistency and increased timeliness and efficiency in the international credential recognition process

51 International Education Guides 51

52 For more information, please contact: Gail Sarkany-Coles Director, International Qualifications Assessment Services (IQAS) Phone:

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