Indian Architecture Degree has often been a cause of curiosity for many architecture enthusiasts. It is believed to be one of the most sought-after qualifications in the architectural field. For aspiring architects seeking to work in countries across the world, India’s architecture degree has become a popular option. But does this qualification have equal validity in Canadian domestic architecture jobs?
In order to be eligible to work in Canada, an applicant must possess a recognized certificate or degree in architecture and be registered or qualified by therelevant provincial or territorial association. In the past, many Indian architects have been able to secure positions in Canada based on their qualification obtained from India. However, the qualification obtained must be accepted by the relevant association or governing body in the prospect country. Therefore, the test of acceptability of an Indian degree lies in its recognition by a Canadian architecture association.
The Canadian Architects Accreditation Board (CAAB) is the organization that decides on the eligibility of a foreign qualification for assessing the qualification of international applicants wanting to pursue architecture in Canada. CAAB reviews applications and decides if the qualifications are equivalent to a recognized Canadian architecture programme. A successful assessment by the CAAB will enable the applicants to apply for registration with the relevant Canadian body, which would then allow them to practice architecture in the country.
Although the CAAB does not assess the Indian architecture qualifications, it does consider the programmes offered by the Indian Schools of Architecture (ISA). The ISA is a collaborative union of the six Indian schools of architecture, including the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Bengaluru and Rajasthan School of Architecture. These institutions come under the purview of the Council of Architecture (CoA) and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The ISA schools offer a variety of degrees, such as Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture, which are open to citizens and non-citizens alike. These degrees are recognized and respected worldwide and, thus, accepted by the CAAB and other similar councils.
In addition to CAAB, several international bodies such as Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB) also accept Indian architecture qualifications. A successful evaluation of a qualification by the relevant body of Canada or foreign countries would enable the applicant to pursue opportunities for registering with a corresponding Canadian body. This will ultimately allow the applicant to practice architecture in the Canadian market.
Apart from qualification assessment, Indian architects seeking to work in Canadian markets are also expected to obtain a valid work permit. Canadian employers often prefer to hire foreign workers who already have a work permit. In general, foreigners without a valid work permit cannot stay longer than six months in Canada, as that would require additional permission or a visa. Therefore, obtaining a work permit is a key factor in considering the feasibility of an Indian architect to pursue a job in Canada.
To apply for a work visa, an Indian architect is expected to meet certain eligibility requirements. These include a positive assessment of the qualification obtained from an Indian University, along with a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. Candidates may also require proof of their work history, funds to support their stay and other legal documents in order to apply for a work visa. Once the requisite requirements are fulfilled, the process for acquiring a work permit is fairly straightforward.
Indian architects should also remember that the job market in Canada is primarily occupied by Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents. Therefore, when applying for a job, it is important to keep in mind that one’s experience, qualification and all the relevant documents must meet Canadian standards in order for an individual to successfully compete for an architecture job.
Once the individual has all the necessary certifications, it is important to prepare for the Architectural Practice Examination Part I (ACPET) test. The ACPET test measures aptitude in architectural practice and how prepared an individual is to professionally practice architecture. This test is mandatory for Indian architects who want to pursue a job in Canada as a certified architect, and thus is an important factor in getting registered as an architect in Canada.
The test is held at five centres in Canada, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Candidates appearing for the ACPET test should ensure they read through the document carefully and complete the application form accurately. The ACPET test consists of two parts and applicants need to meet the minimum criteria of each to pass the test.
In addition, applicants are expected to prepare for and pass the Canadian Architect Registration Exam (CARE) in order to be eligible for registration as an architect in Canada. The CARE exam assesses the candidate’s knowledge of the legal environment and practice of architecture in different provinces and territories of Canada.
Canadian Immigration Process
Successfully clearing the eligibility criteria, tests and other formalities would make the individual eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada. To apply for permanent residency and start working as an architect in the country, an individual is required to satisfy certain requirements, such as minimum score in language proficiency tests like IELTS and Canadian Experience Class assessment. On successful fulfilment of the requirements, the individual will be invited for a permanent residency interview, after which a final verdict on the immigrant status of the applicant will be made.
The Canadian immigration process is quite exhaustive and, therefore, Indian architects must prepare and assess their documents, knowledge and references in order to respond to the Canadian immigration norms. It is also important to take into account that the immigration law, policies and procedures in place are subject to change, and applicants must ensure their documents and knowledge is up-to-date with the latest norm.
Canadian employers tend to prioritize those applicants who can demonstrate professional aptitude, soft skills and meaningful experience in their respective fields. For Indian architects, building a strong network within the architecture community in Canada is an important step to open doors to job opportunities. With the right connections, one may gain access to job postings and internships in the country. Networking can also help to build a personal network in the industry, which can be beneficial for the candidate in the future.
In addition to personal networking, it is advisable to join professional architecture forums and participate in workshops, programs and conventions related to architecture in the country. This will help in gaining valuable insights from seasoned architects in the county, getting exposure to the latest trends and gaining valuable contacts. Such opportunities can be leveraged to get a foot in the door and to open up numerous job prospects for oneself in the architecture space in Canada.
Competition for Jobs in Canada
Even after acquiring all the certifications, tests and clearing the immigration formalities, the competition for an architecture job in Canada can still be quite fierce due to the availability of domestic resources. Candidates may need to rework on their resumes and other application documents in order to make them more attractive to Canadian employers. Furthermore, they may also need to take part in hackathons or create sample projects related to architecture in order to demonstrate their technical skills.
Another important factor that influences the competition for jobs in Canada is the nature of job applied to. Generally, suitable profiles are in demand in certain regions only and the competition for the same will be higher. Thus, one should be mindful about the city or province in which they choose to apply for an architecture job. It is recommended to focus on smaller cities or towns, where resources may be in higher demand and the competition for qualified professionals relatively easier compared to the larger cities.
In conclusion, it is possible for Indian architects to have their Indian qualifications be accepted by the Canadian governing bodies. The key is to understand the Canadian regulations, preparation for tests and evaluations, along with a thorough understanding of the job market in Canada. Moreover, it is also important to make use of networking opportunities and build a database of industry contacts in order to benefit oneself in the field. With proper preparation and planning, one could carve their way into the Canadian architecture space.