On October 23, 2023, Premier David Eby and Workforce Development Minister Andrew Mercier introduced a new bill, Bill 38. It streamlines the process for newcomers to British Columbia to apply their skills within the province quickly and efficiently.
The primary objective of Bill 38, officially titled the International Credentials Recognition Act, is to attract highly skilled professionals from around the world to British Columbia while simultaneously enhancing the province’s economy.
The bill outlines a set of ‘General Responsibilities,’ including establishing and enforcing a fair and transparent international credential assessment process.
Should the bill pass, it will compel regulatory bodies to eliminate barriers in 29 professions. Simplifying and expediting the recognition of qualifications for qualified professionals, regardless of where they received their training. These 29 professions encompass lawyers, engineers, social workers, paramedics, and early childhood educators.
Furthermore, the legislation will eliminate the redundancy of language testing. If applicant has already submitted valid language testing results, regulatory bodies will not be permitted to demand new test results.
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Bill 38: Streamlining Credential Assessment and Processing for New Immigrants in British Columbia
Furthermore, this legislation will limit maximum processing times, ensuring that authorities review applications within a reasonable timeframe. Specifically, applicants must receive international credential assessment determinations within 14 days. Furthermore, the bill mandates that credential assessment information must be made available.
Premier David Eby emphasized the need for these changes, stating. “We have many unfair processes that force newcomers to British Columbia to navigate incredibly complex procedures. It can be frustrating and ultimately discourage individuals from pursuing their trained professions.”
In his December 2022 mandate letter to Minister Andrew Mercier, Eby noted. “Too often, artificial barriers prevent new immigrants from fully utilizing their skills and contributing to the growth of our province from the outset.”
Since assuming the role of Premier in November 2022, Eby has committed to expediting the employment process for immigrants with foreign training.
If Bill 38 receives approval, it will come into effect in the summer of 2024, and a new superintendent will oversee the fair recognition of credentials.