Pre-Arrival Orientation Boosts Immigrant Prospects

Toronto Star

By Nicholas Keung

Toronto — A government initiative to help skilled immigrants navigate the labyrinth of credential recognition and Canadian job market before they arrive on our shores has boosted newcomers’ employment rate.

Four years after the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP) was launched, 62 per cent of participants found employment in six months, up from 44 per cent before its existence, says a government review of the federal Foreign Credentials Referral Office.

Ottawa launched the office in 2007 as a response to all those surgeon-driving-a-taxi tales that have sullied Canada’s reputation as a good place to resettle.

According to the report, 13,000 skilled immigrants had registered by September 2010 for the pre-arrival orientation program about Canadian culture, labour market and foreign credential recognition process.

The two-day program — available in the Philippines, China and India — includes a group session and personal counselling to help migrants develop an “individualized action plan” to find work I Canada. The service will expand to the visa post in Britain later this year.

“The objective of the CIIP is to effectively prepare immigrants for successful integration while still in their country of origin,” said the report, released Thursday. “We are not only improving economic outcomes for newcomers, but we are also ensuring that employers have access to this valuable and much needed labour resource.”

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