Canadian Consulting Engineer

Mailbox: Give temporary permits to qualified immigrant engineers

Following is an e-mail to the editor:

July 3, 2014   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Following is an e-mail to the editor:

“Immigrant Engineers and Licensing” by John Boyd (CCE May 2014, pp.22-23 – click here), is an interesting article detailing the challenges of immigrant engineers coming to Canada. The registration requirements for all engineering graduates across our country are mandatory for Canadian public health, environment and safety purposes. The requirements are not unreasonable though some immigrants may find them onerous and even discriminatory.

I agree with the author that the professional registration bodies across Canada should do more to help the immigrant engineers/geoscientists make the transition from their place of origin to practice in Canada.

In addition, the Canadian immigration authorities should do more to make the mandatory registration requirements for practicing the engineering profession clear to the prospective immigrants prior to entry into Canada. Over the years, I have found that many immigrant engineers are not fully aware of, and even surprised to know of, the registration requirements. Many come with high expectations that they can land a job very soon after arriving in Canada.

The Canadian employers are unwilling to employ the immigrant engineers without professional registration, which requires at least one year of Canadian job experience in the immigrant’s engineering discipline. The dilemma faced then by the immigrant is how to get the one year of Canadian job experience for registration, without which the immigrant cannot get a job.

The Canadian registration bodies may consider my following suggestion to help immigrants overcome the aforementioned dilemma. If an immigrant has the necessary and verified technical qualifications in the respective engineering discipline from an accredited technical education institution anywhere outside Canada, I suggest that the registration body issue an interim permit or certificate (similar to EIT) to enable the immigrant to get employed in Canada and get the necessary experience for one to four years.

The full registration will then be possible following the immigrant’s acquisition of the required years of Canadian experience and other professional practice requirements just like any other Canadian engineering graduate. It should be pointed out that many such immigrants with accredited qualifications get admitted in Canadian universities and successfully complete post-graduate studies, which helps both in getting a job and professional registration.

If the University procedure of admitting immigrants for post-graduate studies is acceptable, I suggest that the same procedure should be acceptable to the Canadian registration bodies also for issuing an interim permit or EIT-type certificate to the technically qualified immigrants. The preceding suggestion does not imply relaxation of the mandatory registration requirements in any way and it should make the transition path a bit easier for the immigrant engineers/geoscientists.

Raj S.V. Rajan, Ph.D., P.Eng., FEC, FGC (Hon.)

Sherwood Park, Alberta

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