10 Feb Helping Internationally-Trained Immigrants Work in their Field
By: Global Experience Ontario (GEO)
Through Global Experience Ontario (GEO), the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) now provides internationally-trained immigrants with services and resources to help navigate the licensing processes in the province of Ontario. With the support of IOM Pakistan, the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) team started to refer clients to the GEO services and resources in June 2014. Among other things, GEO offers weekly profession-specific webinars that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Ontario welcomes about 100,000 new immigrants each year. Many are equipped with professional skills they can use to compete and succeed almost anywhere in the world. Now that they have a Canadian visa and are getting ready to go to Canada, they welcome the opportunity to learn, before departure, about how to become a licensed professional in their new home.
Established by the Ontario government with the objective to reduce barriers to licensing, Global Experience Ontario (GEO) helps immigrants and their families to achieve success once they arrive in Ontario. As an information hub, GEO guides internationally-trained immigrants and service-providers through the process of certification and licensing in Ontario’s non-health regulated professions and skilled trades.
In June 2014, Global Experience Ontario (GEO) and the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) project joined hands, through a trial referral system implemented in COA Pakistan. Starting in April, 2015, COA will work towards implementing a regular referral system for all eligible Ontario-bound clients.
Immigration is critical to Ontario’s economic growth and future success. Some employers in Ontario are experiencing difficulty in finding the workers they need in specialized fields. In a province that has 13 non-health regulated professions and over 150 recognized trades, of which 22 require mandatory certification, it is easy to see how important it is to have workers with the right qualifications.
GEO is the solution to this problem; not only for newcomers, but also for internationally-trained individuals who are planning to move to Ontario. GEO’s resources and programs guide future newcomers through Ontario’s licensing processes. This knowledge places newcomers in a position that will enable them to more easily find work in the regulated profession in which they may have prior experience.
GEO provides an array of services and resources including:
- weekly profession-specific webinars;
- in-person, phone and online client services and advice from bilingual officers;
- career maps;
- information on internship and mentorship programs;
- information on alternative careers;
- referrals to community, employment, language training and immigration services; and
- training workshops for employment and settlement service-providers.
One of GEO’s newest programs for immigrants, and employment and settlement service-providers alike, are the weekly webinars. These webinars delve into the licensing and registration processes for careers in engineering, accounting, social work, teaching and early childhood education respectively. The webinars also cover alternative careers in various professions, related support programs, and available services and resources.