Canada will soon fast-track verification of foreign work qualifications to help stem a growing shortage of skilled workers.
Many immigrants are now forced to take jobs in fields unrelated to their expertise, while employers are struggling to fill vacancies for work that newcomers could do but lack the proper Canadian credentials.
Some wait years for their foreign work experience and education to be assessed as comparable, or not, to standards established for Canadian professionals.
Under the new rules, foreign-trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in specific fields will be advised within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized in Canada.
Foreign-trained architects, engineers, accountants, pharmacists, physiotherapists and nurses will be among the first to know if their qualifications meet Canadian standards by the end of 2010.
Two years later, dentists, physicians and teachers can expect fast-tracked checks of their credentials too.
According to Statistics Canada, six in 10 immigrants do not work in their chosen field, and 42% are overqualified for their current job.