Immigration is vital to Canada’s population growth and economic prosperity. Yet, while demand for their skills grows, many highly competent newcomers to Canada remain underemployed. To address this problem, the Government of Canada funded the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) to develop and implement the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) which prepares newcomers for economic integration while still in their country of origin.
CIIP offices are located in China, India, Philippines and the United Kingdom and services are available in additional service delivery locations. CIIP clients, their spouses and adult dependents, who are registered with CIIP, receive free pre-departure orientation while they are still overseas during the final stages of the immigration process.
CIIP helps immigrants prepare for economic success by providing information and planning, as well as online support through partners in Canada. CIIP has helped clients jump-start the credential recognition process before they arrive in Canada. As the Focal Point Partner here in BC, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society explains that credential recognition is one of the biggest barriers faced by immigrants.
When Atul Kadam (an Executive Sous Chef) arrived in Canada from India in April 2012 he was well prepared and very happy; he wanted to come to Canada to live a better life and his dream had come true. Atul attended an Orientation Session offered by the Canadian Immigration Integration Program (CIIP) and found it very helpful. He received a lot of information and a customized Action Plan that proved to be stepping stone in his research.
Atul stated the session he had attended in India, provided him with realistic information of life in Canada. It helped him decide which province to move to and how to have his credentials assessed. Atul explains that newcomers have a lot of apprehension, after all, they are leaving everything behind.
“The worry soon disappeared as [the] Focal Point Partner here in BC assisted me with providing information on things that we don’t even consider; where to go to get your SIN card, what types of accommodation are available in BC and how to apply for MSP and to look for additional coverage within the 3 month waiting period. I was blown away and so grateful that I had someone in Canada who I can ask any questions I want.”
Through the guidance and research he was able to conduct through the CIIP program, Atul was able to settle successfully and gain employment within a month of arriving in Canada. He is working in a restaurant in Vancouver and through programs such as the Immigrant Trades Training Initiative offered by DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, he is currently pursuing his Red Seal as a Chef.
Focal point partners provide some of the following pre arrival services:
- Inform, guide and support immigrants on settlement and employment while they are in their home country, assisting them to arrive better prepared to join Canada’s workforce and integrate into Canadian Society.
- Refer clients to community programs to help them gain employment that reflects their skills, credentials and experience, so that they can contribute their full potential as quickly as possible to the Canadian economy and society.
- Advise how to effectively prepare overseas to meet credential, language and skill requirements.
- Provide information and research resources so that clients understand the requirements of their intended profession.
- Assist clients to navigate through their job search journey by introducing them to employers, recruitment agencies, educational institutions, credential and assessment bodies and immigrant serving organizations.
- Help clients consider other career choices viable with the transferable and adaptable skills they possess.
Atul was prepared before he arrived and armed with resources, information and professional assistance that lead him to migrate with ease. He may have a long way to go but gives credit to CIIP for his start and the best help he could possibly have asked for.