We’ve all heard stories of foreign-trained doctors working as cab drivers and fresh-off-the-boat engineers slugging away at low-skill cashier jobs. That, said the federal government on Monday, has got to change. Officials have pledged that, starting in December 2010, foreign-trained professionals who apply for certification will be told within a year whether or not they are eligible to work in Canada. Architects, engineers, accountants, pharmacists and nurses who were trained abroad are all expected to fall under the new scheme. “It used to be that it could take two years after someone got here just to find out how to get their credentials evaluated,” says Minister of Human Resources Diane Finley. “We recognize how important it is for newcomers to put their training and their knowledge to work here in Canada… It’s vital for them, and it’s vital for their families and it’s vital for our economy.” According to Statistics Canada, 42 per cent of immigrants aged 25 to 54 are overqualified—that is, they have a higher education level than their job requires. For born-and-raised Canadians, that number is 28 per cent.