BC hopes to attract more skilled workers by fast-tracking professional immigrants

On October 23rd 2023, Premier David Eby and Workforce Development Minister Andrew Mercier introduced a new bill, Bill 38, which allows new arrivals to British Columbia to put their skills to work in the province as quickly and as easy as possible.

The goal of Bill 38, titled the International Credentials Recognition Act, is to attract foreign skilled workers to British Columbia from around the world while also strengthening the province’s economy.

The “General Responsibilities” laid out in the bill include establishing and implementing an international credential assessment process that is fair, efficient, and transparent.

If passed, the bill will require regulatory bodies to remove barriers in 29 professions and make it easier and faster for qualified professionals to seek credential recognition, regardless of where they received their training.

The 29 professions include lawyers, engineers, social workers, paramedics, and early childhood educators.

The legislation will also remove redundant language testing. If the applicant has already submitted valid language testing results as part of the application, a regulatory body is not allowed to impose submitting new language testing results.

Furthermore, there will be caps for maximum processing times and a guarantee that a determination will be made regarding an application within a reasonable time. Specifically, communication about determinations made in an international credential assessment must be given to the applicant within 14 days. The bill also requires credential-assessment information to be available online.

According to Eby, “we have many unfair processes that force new arrivals to British Columbia to go through incredibly complex, contradictory, hard-to-understand, expensive, repetitive processes that are frustrating and ultimately cause people to give up and work in a field that they’re not trained in.”

“Too often, artificial barriers to working in their fields limit new immigrants from contributing right away to help build our province to the full extent of their abilities,” wrote Eby in his mandate letter to Mercier in December of 2022.

Eby has promised to further admit and speed up the employment process for immigrants with foreign training since he became Premier in November of 2022.

If Bill 38 is passed, it would come into force in the summer of 2024 and a new superintendent will be appointed and responsible for promoting fair credential recognition.

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