Foreign Qualifications Recognition (FQR)

Foreign Qualification Recognition (FQR) refers to the process of having education, skills and work experience from outside of Canada recognized as comparable to Canadian standards.

For many occupations internationally trained workers need to have their qualifications recognized to be certified, registered or licensed to work in their chosen profession. The Province of British Columbia delegates authority for regulating its over 280 regulated occupations  to 66 provincial regulatory bodies. Through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the Province invests in improvements to the FQR process to ensure it is fair, consistent, transparent and effective. This will allow immigrants to fully utilize their skills, knowledge and in British Columbia as their new home.

Priority Areas of Work

1.  Develop an information gateway for immigrants and employers.

Ensuring that immigrants to BC have the most accurate and authoritative information related to the FQR process is important for timely, effective and cost-efficient qualifications recognition and labour market integration.

  • Examples of the types of projects undertaken in this area include the development of career profiles for immigrants and newcomers to help them identify their labour market fit and inform them of the steps in the FQR process. 

  • Identification of alternative careers to assist immigrants in broadening their employment opportunities beyond a single regulated occupation.   

2.  Improve the assessment and recognition capacity of regulators, especially in BC’s high demand occupations.

Regulators are the interface with immigrants as they seek certification in BC’s regulated occupations. Supporting regulators in the development of varied assessment methods will facilitate a faster and more effective FQR process for immigrants.

Examples of the types of projects undertaken in this area include:

  • Competency-based assessments to better determine the skills and knowledge of individuals in their occupation.
  • Developing tools to assess language proficiencies at the level required for certification and advancement in the occupation.
  • Supporting the integration of essential skills assessments into existing processes for regulators.
  • Supporting the development of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs).  
  • Supporting work to harmonize certification requirements and assessment processes across provincial/territorial and national regions.
3.  Resolving the competency gaps for foreign trained workers.

Targeted training programs, whether modular or longer in duration, education or workplace-based, can support primary gaps in immigrant skills or experience.

Examples of the types of projects undertaken in this area include:

  • Occupation specific language programs at a level required for certification and professional integration. 
  • Developing new programs to address skills gaps identified through competency assessments.
  • Updating existing training courses to include online or blended delivery formats.
4.  Facilitating employment integration for immigrants.

Obtaining certification for a regulated occupation is often a necessary aspect of integrating into the BC labour market. Yet immigrants report additional challenges to working in their occupations. Initiatives in this area are focussed on creatively working with stakeholders to address a variety of barriers so immigrants have the opportunity to fully utilize their talents in BC.

Examples of the types of projects undertaken in this area include: 

  • Working with regulators and employers to define the expected outcomes of Canadian work experience and identify equivalent ways to achieving those expectations to reduce, where possible, time-based Canadian work experience requirements.   
  • Working with regulators to develop “Working in BC” resources / workshops / webinars and other ways to inform internationally trained professionals about the work environment in BC, including such things as BC laws and regulations, business practices, culture, work ethic and other factors.
  • Developing information for employers with respect to FQR processes and considerations for employers when hiring and internationally trained professionals and facilitating a welcoming workplace environment.
  • Developing licensure exam preparation resources / workshops
5.    Enhance regulator FQR information management.
Enhancing regulator capacity to track their FQR processes and outcomes enables them to strive for continuous improvement. Sharing FQR outcomes with the Province allows for more effective investments in improving the overall system in BC, and therefore, enhances BC’s competitive advantage in attracting skilled workers from abroad.

Examples of the types of projects undertaken in this area include:

  • Supporting the development of regulator web-based application systems and applicant tracking systems.
  • Initiating an annual survey on FQR outcomes across BC.