Skills Recognition Authorities
Skills Recognition Authorities (SRAs) are not Canadian government agencies, but they are authorised by the Canadian government to provide assessments of overseas applicants' skills and qualifications. Those assessments are then used by the Canadian immigration authorities to compare and contrast your (foreign) credentials against Canadian standards.
In order to assess your skills, they will require proof of all your qualifications, and/or evidence of skills gained in the work place, along with time spent on the job, via a record of prior learning plus references from previous employers.
Once they have received and reviewed this information, you may need to sit a skills assessment in Canada. The assessor will be a qualified person who has worked in your field and who is deemed eligible to assess your level of competence. Their aim is to ensure you are of equal standard to a Canadian qualified person in your trade or profession.
Professional Governing Bodies For Regulated Professions
Professional regulatory bodies exist for various professions, including medicine, accountancy, law and engineering. These professional bodies may operate separately from the assessing authorities, and in many cases have their own assessment standards.
Professional bodies may require you to obtain a minimum number of supervised hours of employment in Canada prior to awarding you registration, and in some cases they may also require you take a course in Canada prior to granting your certification.
These bodies can create real issues for people who wish to emigrate, even though their skills are in demand, they meet the regulated standards, and they are more than competent to benefit the local economy. If you work in a regulated profession, we can advise you further on a case by case basis.
How To Apply
Each professional body is entitled to establish their own application processes. Increasingly, these bodies are upgrading their internal systems to allow for applications to be made online. Documentation they require must be presented in English or French, or translated by a regulated and approved translator and 'certified' prior to submission.
You should NEVER send original documents as they can go missing, and assessing bodies do not like receiving originals, so they are explicit about not making guarantees about their return.
Typically, an SRA will request transcripts to be sent directly from your previous universities, which we can assist you to arrange if required. The processing time varies from case to case however most cases are completed within 12 weeks, keep this in mind while planning your migration.
How much experience do you need to qualify?
The Canadian immigration authority awards points after a minimum of one year working in your profession. However the skills assessing bodies are entitled to require far more on-the-job experience. They may deem that the earlier years in your career go towards your training period, and therefore do not include those years in their qualification of competence. As ever, these matters are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and it is important both to choose both right SRA, and to make a well-presented case when you file your application for assessment.