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Saskatchewan helping newcomers transition into the workplace more quickly

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The government of Saskatchewan has been focusing on better preparing soon-to-be immigrants for the reality of the labour market, with the goal of facilitating their integration into the workforce upon arrival.  Several new initiatives have recently been launched, including a web portal for internationally-trained health professionals and a pilot project for the overseas recognition of foreign credentials.

Health care professionals from abroad who wish to work in Saskatchewan have a new information resource through which they can better prepare ahead of time.  The Internationally Educated Health Professional (IEHP) web portal is designed to respond to the current challenges that face internationally-trained health care professionals as they relocate to Saskatchewan – namely the access to clear and accurate information about health-care regulators, the licensing process, credential recognition, and health-care job opportunities.

“Our goal here is to ensure that foreign health professionals have the information they need – an initial step in addressing a broader labour force need and most importantly to help address and ensure that we’re building more dynamic, diverse and cosmopolitan communities across our province,” stated Rob Norris, Saskatchewan Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour.  He expects that the site will reduce immigration processing times and will allow internationally-trained health professionals to begin working in a more timely fashion.

The web portal is only in its first phase development. A step-by-step guide to licensing in different fields is currently in the works and will be rolled out in the coming months.

Also making its debut in Saskatchewan is the Foreign Credential Recognition Support for Labour Market Needs pilot project.  Launched in cooperation with Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC), the pilot project will permit certain soon-to-be immigrants to have their international credentials recognized before they leave their home country, thus allowing newcomers to transition into the Saskatchewan workforce more quickly upon arrival.

“This project will help new Canadians immigrating to Saskatchewan get their international credentials recognized before arriving in Canada. It will benefit immigrants as well as employers who are struggling with skilled labour shortages, and be good for the Saskatchewan economy,” said Lynne Yelich, Member of Parliament for Blackstrap and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Monte Solberg.

The pilot project has a limited scope for now: the focus is on foreign skilled workers in the mechanical trades originating from the Ukraine, the Philippines, and Vietnam who are heading to Saskatchewan.  The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) will be responsible for establishing a system to verify that internationally-obtained work experience and education credentials are in line with Canadian standards for the chosen mechanical trades – welding, heavy duty equipment, and agricultural machinery.