Overview

Foreign Qualification Recognition (FQR) is the process of verifying that the education, skills and experience obtained in another country meet the licensure standards for safe and competent practice in Canada.

Many occupations in Alberta are regulated, which means you need to be licensed by a provincial Professional Regulatory Organization (PRO) to work in that occupation. Other common terms that mean the same thing as regulated are “certified” and “registered.”

PROs assess if you have the necessary qualifications to meet the licensure requirements to work in Alberta. These include:

  • education
  • work experience
  • proficiency in English

Your PRO will inform you if there are gaps that need to be addressed, or examinations you need to take before you can be licensed.

A license is not required to work in a non-regulated occupation. Employers can hire anyone they choose in occupations that are not regulated.

How to get licensed

The licensure process can be lengthy, complex, and may involve associated fees. It may take months or even years to be licensed to work in your occupation. The amount of time needed will depend on your personal circumstances and the individual PRO licensure process.

We strongly recommend starting the licensing process before you arrive in Alberta.

Step 1: Find out if your occupation is regulated

Use the alis website to find out if your occupation is regulated. This website also provides:

  • job descriptions
  • average wages
  • market forecasts
  • related occupations

If your occupation is not regulated, learn more about working in Alberta. To prove you are suitable for the job in a non-regulated occupation, you will need to explain your international education to your employer. Most employers should accept your Educational Credential Assessment, but we recommend asking your employer if the assessment you have is acceptable when applying for a non-regulated job.

Step 2: Visit your PRO website and contact your PRO

Your PRO is the best source of information to answer questions about applying for a license in Alberta. It is important to ask your PRO for clarification if there is anything you do not understand.

Step 3: Gather required documents

Each regulated occupation has different requirements, but most PROs require:

  • educational credentials
  • references
  • resumés (curriculum vitae, or CV)
  • personal identity documents

If you are unable to get all required documents, contact the PRO and ask what you should do.

Step 4: Request education transcripts from issuing authorities

Check if the issuing authority should send your transcripts directly to the PRO.

Step 5: Translate your documents into English

Ask the PRO if you need to use an approved translation service, or have original documents or translations notarized.

Step 6: Learn about application fees

Check your PRO website or contact them directly to learn about costs associated with the licensure process.

Step 7: Complete an application form and submit required documents to your PRO

A PRO will not start the licensure process until all required documents and application fees are received.

After you complete an application and submit documents to your PRO

If your PRO requires you to take examinations, check the available dates to make sure you don’t miss exams scheduled shortly after you arrive in Alberta.

Your PRO will assess your documents and give you an interim assessment decision. If you do not meet the requirements, you may have to complete additional steps after you arrive in Alberta, which could include:

  • taking exam(s)
  • obtaining practical experience or training (for example, legal articling or a medical residency)
  • upgrading your education (for example, special courses or a bridging program)

The interim assessment decision may include issuing of a conditional license, which will allow you to practice under supervision or with a limited scope.

Other options

If you do not meet the requirements for a license or find limited job opportunities in Alberta, you may want to consider alternative jobs which allow you to use your skills and education.

For example, you may work in a job:

  • with fewer requirements (for example, teacher as an early childhood educator)
  • in a different industry with similar skills (for example, engineer as an applied science technician)
  • in a different role in the same industry (for example, accountant as a treasurer or manager)
  • in an unrelated industry (for example, nurse as a health insurance claims officer)

Choosing an alternative job allows you to start working while gaining Canadian work experience, awaiting licensure or upgrading your skills.

To find out more about alternative job options:

Newcomer resources

Links to websites with information and resources for various occupations. PROs may also have resources in their specific occupations.

  • Opportunity Alberta provides information on living and working in Alberta and resources to make your move successful.
  • The Before You Arrive in Canada video helps you get ready for your new life in Canada and explains some of the things you need to do before your arrival.
  • alis offers:
    • information on many specific occupations
    • occupational profiles for alternative career options
    • resources for newcomers
  • The Bredin Centre for Learning offers a no cost program to help newcomers understand and successfully navigate the licensure and credentialing process in Canada. This program also helps newcomers get employment in their area of training.
  • Directions for Immigrants at Bow Valley College provides newcomers with access to:
    • career coaches
    • interview and employment workshops
    • mentoring and work experience programs
    • support with training, upgrading and bridging programs
  • The Voices of Calgary - Immigrant Stories videos show the challenges newcomers face and have overcome to build a new life in Canada.
  • Alberta Supports provides access to a broad range of services including career, employment and training programs.
  • Windmill Microlending provides newcomers with low-interest microloans for expenses related to:
    • skills training
    • upgrading for licensure
    • certification examinations

Employer resources

These websites provide useful information for employers that want to hire and integrate newcomers into their workplaces.

  • This comprehensive Guide for Employers (PDF, 1.0 MB) is aimed at small and medium employers in Alberta. The guide provides insight and information about challenges faced by employers when hiring and integrating newcomers with goals of:
    • fostering understanding
    • promoting intercultural learning
    • integrating international professionals into workplaces
  • The Navigating the Interview Videos and Guide resource helps employers understand and assess the skills of internationally educated applicants. The material also helps newcomers:
    • understand the Canadian interview process
    • improve job interview skills
    • explain their skills and experience to employers
  • Workplace Diversity and Inclusion is a free online interactive tool that helps employers understand workplace diversity and inclusion issues within their organizations.
  • The Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council and the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council engage local business professionals as mentors to address talent attraction and retention issues by improving their cross-cultural leadership and management skills. They also advise on how to develop intercultural competencies without incurring professional development or recruitment costs.
  • Alberta Global Talent provides interactive tools and resources for Central Alberta employers helping them prepare for, attract, interview, hire, onboard and retain qualified immigrant employees to promote growth in their business.

Government plans and reports

The Government of Alberta plays a leadership and coordinating role in the FQR process and recognizes the critical role of stakeholders such as:

  • professional regulatory organizations
  • immigrant serving organizations
  • post-secondary institutions
  • employers

This collaboration helps ensure that Alberta has the right processes, information and resources to fairly and accurately recognize the knowledge, skills and experience of immigrants. A Foreign Qualification Recognition Plan for Alberta (2008) identifies collaborative and strategic actions that helps Alberta make significant progress towards improving the labour market success of immigrants.