If you immigrate to Canada, will you be able to work in the same job you have been doing before moving to Canada?
It can be challenging for certain newcomers to Canada to get the qualifications they need to work in the same position they worked in before immigrating. Many workers in healthcare face these hurdles, as do some professionals in non-healthcare fields such as accounting, law, and engineering, among others. Difficulties and delays in securing the correct credentials to practice your profession in Canada can result in financial and emotional strain. Therefore, it’s best to begin the process as early as possible so that you can start working in your chosen profession in Canada.
The best thing you can do is to inform yourself about the requirements for working in your occupation in Canada. Take note that Canadian occupations are regulated at the provincial/territorial level. This means that if your occupation is regulated, you need to apply to the proper provincial/territorial authority for licensing or certification. You can only do this once you know which province you’d like to live in, as the requirements will be different from province to province.
What are regulated occupations in Canada?
When it comes to the regulation of work in Canada, there are three types of occupations:
- Non-regulated occupations: For these, you do not require any license or certification, so you can begin working as soon as you arrive in Canada. Tech and IT occupations are one example of non-regulated occupations in Canada.
- Regulated occupations: For these, you will need to obtain the proper licence or certification to work in your occupation. The license or certification will be issued by the provincial regulatory authority responsible for your occupation. Most legal and healthcare occupations are regulated in Canada, as are many engineering and financial services jobs.
- Skilled trades: Tradespeople also require licensing or certification to practice in their trade in Canada. Again, this licensing or certification is regulated by provincial authorities. Many trades in Canada are also regulated through the Red Seal program — find out more.
Foreign credential vs foreign qualifications: What’s the difference?
During this process, you might read about foreign credentials on one page and foreign qualifications on another page. So, what’s the difference?
Technically, foreign credentials refer to educational programs completed outside Canada, while foreign qualifications refers to the combination of educational credentials, work experience, and other competencies. Some Canadian provinces use the following formula:
- Qualifications = Credentials + Competencies + Experience
That said, oftentimes certain organizations and industries will use the two terms interchangeably, so be prepared for some confusion.
As a newcomer to Canada working in a regulated occupation, you will likely have to go through a three-step process. First, you will have to get your foreign credentials recognized. Second, you will have to have your foreign qualifications recognized (the first step is actually a part of the second step). Third, you will have to obtain the proper license or certification to practice your profession in Canada.