You are what they call an ITP, or an internationally trained professional. Or an ITW, an internationally trained worker. You may be a nurse or engineer or pharmacist. Or a member of any number of professions, and you are now a proud Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Unfortunately, your professional degree, license, or certifications are not enough to enable you to start working in your profession in Canada. You need your credentials recognized in Canada. That sometimes means going back to school or undertaking some form of evaluation and/or training that leads to your certification. That means time and money. Your time, and your money.
Portuguese Diploma [Public Domain]
There is help for you, however. CIC has recently announced that their pilot project to provide loans for ITPs and ITWs, the Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loan Project, is now permanent. That means that you can apply for financial assistance to help you get your foreign credentials recognized. But not only that; loan advisors can help you put together an achievable and goal-focused accreditation plan. Each province administers the FCR Loan Program with its own community based programme. These are as follows:
- In British Columbia: S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
- In Alberta & Saskatchewan: Immigrant Access Fund
- In Manitoba: SEED Winnipeg Inc.
- In Ontario: WIL Employment Connections
- In Quebec: ACEM
- In New Brunswick: New Brunswick Multicultural Council Inc.
- In Nova Scotia: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia
- In Prince Edward Island: Canada Microcredit Educators Group
Let’s see how the process will work for you.
Eligibility for the Foreign Credential Recognition Loan Project
You must meet the following criteria to qualify:
- You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
- You must have proof of a professional credential or a trade certificate from a country that is not Canada.
- You may have to meet certain credit standards although it is understood that new Canadians may not have much of a credit history.
- You must have little or no Canadian experience in your profession due to your lack of accreditation.
- In Ontario, you must be recommended by the Access Centre for Regulated Employment: this requires an accreditation plan that outlines the costs incurred in the accreditation process, proves that a credible educational institution will be providing the required training, and has an occupational goal in a field with high growth and demand for workers.
Benefits of the Foreign Credential Recognition Loan Project
The FCR Loans can be used for a number of reasons:
- To cover the cost of qualification assessments;
- To cover the cost of exam and licensing fees;
- To cover tuition for related training and skills upgrading;
- To cover the cost of books and course materials;
- To pay for professional association fees;
- To pay other costs related to required accreditation and training;
- The amounts are generally between C$1,500 up to C$15,000, although this will depend on each local community organization in your province.
How to Apply for an FCR Loan
Because your application will be handled by one of the community-based organizations listed above, each application process may be somewhat different with respect to the specifics. We will briefly outline those in British Columbia; Alberta & Saskatchewan; and Ontario.
How to Apply in British Columbia
You must first book an appointment with a loan advisor at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and bring the following to the meeting:
- A registration form found here;
- 2 pieces of ID;
- Your foreign credentials/designation;
- Your up-to-date resume if you have one.
You will then have to put together an accreditation plan and collect the following documents:
- A Loan Application Checklist with accompanying documents;
- A Client Signed Accreditation and Financial Plan;
- A Client’s Financial Information and Needs Form.
When you have assembled the documents, you must then meet with your loan advisor a second time and they will review your plan and help you with any problems, as well as verify the documentation. Your loan advisor will also put together:
- A Financial Needs Assessment;
- A Repayment Schedule;
- A Budget Planner.
You will then submit your application to the FCR Loans Project.
How to Apply in Alberta and Saskatchewan
An IAF loan officer will begin the process with you and answer any questions you have. Remember to keep the following checklist in mind:
- Application Form signed and completed;
- Copy of documentation showing your immigration status;
- Translated copy of any educational certificates & an assessment from you profession’s regulatory body of your certificates;
- Your Resume;
- CLB, IELTS, or TOEFL test results;
- Pay stubs or other documentation that shows your income level as well as your partner’s income level;
- Voided cheque or your banking information so the loan advances can be direct deposited into your account;
- Any job advertisements for jobs you would be able to apply for once certified
- All relevant information on any courses or credentialing exams that you will be taking: tuition, books, start & finish dates, educational institution, credentialing exam date and location, as well as fees;
- At least 2 References.
How to Apply in Ontario
Contact the Access Centre for Regulated Employment for more information on how to apply. They can be reached by:
As well, make sure in your application package that it includes a recommendation from the Access Centre for Regulated Employment to the financial institution that will provide the loan. It should include:
- Proof of Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Residence;
- Copy of your training or licensure plan with an up-to-date resume;
- Proof of Employment – if employed – such as a pay stub or reference letter;
- Information on the training or assessment program you wish to enroll in or proof of acceptance into that program.
Remember this loan program is only available to permanent residents or Canadian citizens who need their foreign credentials recognized in Canada. Contact your local community-based organization listed above to start the process. And good luck!