Recruiters of the Canadian province Saskatchewan are in Dubai to help local physicians migrate to Saskatchewan.
Recruiters Saskdocs have set up a stand at Arab Health to aid medical professionals interested in making a living in Canada as family physicians.
“Doctors sometimes move to Canada without a plan, and end up as taxi drivers, or in a pizza joint. They seem to be unable to find the job they were hoping to find,” said Dennis Kendel, CEO of the government-linked recruitment agency.
Saskdocs works with physicians, medical students, medical residents and communities to help find the right position at the right location. But it is not just recruitment services they provide. The organisation also helps to assess the opportunities of a medical professional in Canada, free of charge.
A reason that many doctors have trouble finding a job in Canada is due to a discrepancy between the credentials of the foreign professional, and the stipulations of Canadian regulatory bodies that set the standards, Kendel explained.
“The credentials of every professional are evaluated by regulatory bodies in the provinces of Canada. There might be differences in the standards set in Canada and other countries. The migrant must be prepared to practice in the local environment.”
The opportunities for a foreign medical professional partly depend on the country of origin, Kendel continues to explain. “There are countries that set standards that are quite similar to those set in Canada, such as the US, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Ireland or the UK.
“However, in other countries the credentials obtained may not mean the same in Canada. While there are very good institutes that produce qualified professionals, there are others where a diploma can be obtained by paying a good amount of money.”
When the candidate does not hail from one of the countries mentioned above, there are several steps that need to be taken in order to assess the readiness of a candidate to practice the profession in Canada.
Saskdocs offers 90 candidates per year an assessment programme, determining eligibility for a job in the province. When passing the assessment, the organisation links the candidate with an employer, on the condition that the candidate remains employed in the province for a period of three years.
The programme contains a pre-screening, and two assessment parts: the centralised assessment and the clinical field assessment. Only when the first is passed the candidate can continue to the next part, explained Rhoda Yakubowski, recruitment consultant at Saskdocs.
During the programme, which takes about three months, the candidate is provided with accommodation and all the material needed for the training course, which is to prepare the candidate for working in the province.
“This programme is a step into the market of Saskatchewan. It is tough to get a job there, but this programme helps leading people in the right direction,” said Rhoda, adding that it maintains a 78 per cent passing rate.
Saskdocs is currently offering its services to a physician from Abu Dhabi, and is keen on attracting professionals from within the region. “We have successful candidates from Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Nigeria.
“At the moment 24 per cent of the new physicians have enjoyed education abroad, and the foreign labour force has always been very important in the province. We will never close our doors to foreign doctors,” said Kendel.
“I think this is a great idea, which will be very appealing to people in this region,” commented Sam Bayat, Immigration Lawyer at the Dubai-based Bayat Legal Services. “People sometimes stay in the country for 2-3 without finding a job.
“Currently the Canadian workforce in the medical industry is on the rise, so finding a job will become more challenging. It is a great opportunity for physicians to avail such support. If successful, they can get a better pay in Canada, and obtain residency.”
Since the launch of the programme 4 years ago, the province has seen an influx of medical professionals from the Middle East, Kendel pointed out. “We are hoping to make people aware of the programme and of the various challenges facing them when they migrate to Canada.”