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MERCIER: Internationally trained professionals continue their careers in B.C.

‘Immigration is crucial to support the nearly one million job openings we’re expecting in B.C.’
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Andrew Mercier, Minister of State for Workforce Development (B.C. government handout photo)

More than 150,000 people moved to B.C. last year from abroad. We’re incredibly lucky to live in such a fantastic province and the number of people choosing to move here proves it.

As the Minister of State for Workforce Development, I’ve heard from newcomers in Langley, where I live, as well as from people in Surrey and Richmond, who want to work in their chosen field and make a good life for their families in B.C., but who are finding the process challenging, complex and too long. This is why our government is taking action to improve supports for people immediately and work toward making positive changes to the system of credential recognition that will help people in the future.

Immigration is crucial to support the nearly one million job openings we’re expecting in B.C. over the next decade. We know that almost 400,000 of those one million jobs will be filled by people coming from other countries. For this to happen, we need to make sure people can use their skills in their chosen field. We need to make it a much smoother and quicker process for newcomers to get their credentials recognized.

It’s an incredible opportunity for British Columbia. Newcomers will become the early childhood educators, teachers, social workers, engineers and the health-care workers of tomorrow - but only if we make it a lot easier and faster to get their credentials recognized.

That’s why we’re working with ASPECT (Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training), an umbrella organization for community-based workforce-development service providers. We’ve invested $1.5 million so that ASPECT can distribute funding to immigrant-serving organizations that will help newcomers on the road to getting their credentials recognized.

Investing in organizations, such as ASPECT, is one way our government is taking an immediate step to help newcomers get certified here in B.C., so they can work in in-demand fields, such as child care and health care. While our government is investing in organizations to support newcomers right now, we are also taking action to fill the in-demand jobs over the next decade. Our goal is to support all newcomers to gain certification in B.C. so they can use their

skills in their chosen field.

This spring, we asked internationally trained professionals to give us their feedback about the credential recognition process. More than 1,300 people completed the survey and their responses, as well as the feedback we received through roundtables and other engagements, will be released in a “what we heard” report this summer.

We heard loud and clear that improvements are needed. We’re taking this feedback to make legislative improvements to help newcomers work in their chosen career field more quickly.

While the credentials may be from another country, the skills and knowledge people bring to

B.C. are universal. That is why our government is committed to supporting new British Columbians by improving processes for credential recognition in B.C.

The next decade is one of great opportunity for British Columbia and everyone who chooses to make our province their home. We need to make sure that newcomers to our province are not stuck waiting on the sidelines and can begin their careers in their chosen fields in a timely way.

Andrew Mercier is B.C.’s Minister of State for Workforce Development

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