International professional credential recognition

Last updated on June 13, 2024

The B.C. government is making credential recognition for internationally trained professionals more transparent, efficient and fair.

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Overview of new fair credential recognition legislation

On November 8, 2023, the International Credentials Recognition Act received Royal Assent. The Act is coming into effect on July 1, 2024. The legislation will reduce barriers for internationally trained professionals seeking jobs in B.C. 

B.C. expects one million job openings in the next decade. Many of those jobs will need to be filled by people trained in other countries. Internationally trained professionals often face unfair barriers and long waits before they can work in their profession. By supporting them, the government can meet current and future needs for in-demand jobs and strengthen B.C.'s economy.

What government is doing

Progress so far

Professional regulatory authorities have an important role in addressing the shortage of skilled professionals. They assess and license professionals to work in B.C. The Province has been taking steps to improve professional regulators' governance practices to ensure the process is fair, efficient and transparent.

  • Modern professional governance frameworks have been established to create superintendent offices for better oversight and ensure regulatory bodies act in the public’s best interest:
  • The Skilled Trades BC Act was implemented in March 2022 to support and train people for the crucial work of skilled trades throughout B.C.
  • In 2022, the Health Human Resources Strategy (PDF, 2800KB) was launched, outlining 70 key actions to strengthen the health care workforce. This strategy aims to improve patient care, remove barriers for internationally trained health care workers, and revamp the health care system to promote job satisfaction and innovation
  • In May 2023, the StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan (PDF, 3000KB) was released. The plan details how the government is helping people gain the skills to get great jobs and assisting businesses in hiring and retaining employees

Public engagement on international credential recognition

In July 2023, the What We Heard: Public Engagement on International Credential Recognition (PDF, 2100KB) report was released. The report includes feedback from more than 1,450 people who were asked in spring 2023 how the Province could:

  • Improve the credential recognition process
  • Remove unnecessary barriers to international professional credential recognition

Feedback from people responding to the survey included:

  • Inconsistent information: “It is so difficult to find the right information. No one is giving the same information”
  • Insufficient support: “If I was confused about something, there was not a single person I could talk to. I was constantly passed in circles and left to figure it out for myself”
  • Difficulty registering: “I have not attempted registration owing to the complexity, timelines, and associated costs”

The Province used this public feedback to improve the international credential recognition process in B.C. and to guide the development of new legislation.

International Credentials Recognition Act

This new act will help regulatory bodies improve the credential recognition process and make it fairer, faster and easier for people to use their skills to work in B.C. – no matter where they were trained.

Purpose of the new legislation

The Act outlines new responsibilities for many professional regulators.

Enhance fairness

Applicants will be treated equitably and fairly, without prejudice. Provisions include:

  • Removing unfair Canadian work experience requirements
  • Prohibiting the need for applicants to provide new English language test results if they have already submitted valid results
  • Charging similar fees to international and domestic applicants

Increase efficiency

Applicants will get the information they need to get professional certification quickly and without unnecessary delays.

Ensure transparency

New transparency requirements will require regulators to publish all information about their credential assessment processes online. This will make it easier for applicants to understand how to get certified.

Require accountability

Regulators will be responsible to government and the public for protecting public health, safety and the environment. They will do this by using fair and inclusive processes that allow all qualified applicants to get certified. Accountability will be ensured through new reporting requirements and enforcement authorities.

Establishing a superintendent

The Province will appoint a superintendent responsible for promoting Fair Credential Recognition, monitoring regulatory authority performance and enforcing compliance with the new legislation.


Legislation process

  • October 23, 2023: Legislation was introduced
  • November 8, 2023: Legislation received Royal Assent
  • July 1, 2024Legislation in force and Fair Credential Recognition Office established

Transition period

  • January 1, 2025: Regulations defining prohibited Canadian work experience and outlining exemptions come into effect
  • July 1, 2025: Prohibition on requiring Canadian work experience comes into effect

Regulators and professionals covered by new legislation

Regulators covered by this legislation

The new legislation covers 18 regulatory authorities:

  • Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC
  • Architectural Institute of BC
  • Association of BC Forest Professionals
  • Association of BC Land Surveyors  
  • Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC
  • BC College of Social Workers  
  • BC Institute of Agrologists
  • BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association  
  • BC Society of Landscape Architects  
  • College of Applied Biologists
  • College of Veterinarians of BC 
  • Director of Teacher Certification (and BC Teachers’ Council)
  • Director of the Early Childhood Educator Registry
  • Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board
  • Law Society of BC
  • Organization of Chartered Professional Accountants of BC 
  • Society of Notaries Public of BC
  • Superintendent of Real Estate (and BC Financial Services Authority)

To view a full list of all B.C. regulatory authorities, please visit Professional Regulatory Authorities.

Explore professions under new legislation

The new legislation impacts 29 professions across many sectors, including construction, environmental sciences, teaching and social work.

Explore the career profile associated with each profession to learn more: 

Download the Fair Credentials poster

Share the news

To share what the B.C. government is doing to recognize internationally trained professionals, download the poster (PDF, 2MB).


Resources and supports for internationally trained professionals

The Province wants to ensure that internationally trained professionals can continue their careers in B.C. – whether they have lived here for years or are just moving to the province. The following resources are available to ensure skilled and experienced professionals can access the information they need:

Learn more about professional certification in B.C.

To understand if you need a certification for your profession and how to get it, visit Getting Certified to Work in B.C.

What you need to apply for certification

Many occupations in B.C. are governed by a regulatory body. Check with the appropriate Professional Regulatory Authority to confirm what documents you need to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and experience.

Why you should come work in B.C.

If you are still considering moving to B.C., learn why B.C. is one of the most appealing places to settle in Canada.

Resources and supports for internationally trained health care workers

Everyone in B.C. should have access to quality health care, and there is a pressing need for health care workers. To help make sure that everyone in B.C. has access to quality health care, government has taken several actions to train and hire more health care workers, including those trained abroad. Actions include:

  • Removing upfront application and assessment fees for internationally trained nurses
  • Providing bursaries for internationally educated allied health professionals (like physiotherapists) to reduce the cost associated with getting licensed in B.C.

Other available resources and supports include:

Prioritizing health and childcare workers

Prioritizing health and childcare workers through the BC Provincial Nominee Program will help fill the critical need for more health care workers and early childhood educators.

Creating associate physician opportunities

Internationally trained doctors not eligible for full medical license in Canada can apply for restricted licensure under the Associate Physician Classification. They can then work under the supervision of attending physicians in acute care and community primary care settings.

  • Contact Health Match BC for information about associate physician employment opportunities.

Welcoming internationally educated family doctors

Expanding the Practice Ready Assessment program for internationally educated family doctors to be licensed to work in B.C. will help reduce the shortage of family doctors. Seats tripled from 32 to 96 in March 2024.

Contact us

For general enquiries about this legislation, contact