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Iranian Medical Doctor Degrees should be awarded 25 points in Canadian Immigration System (Federal Skilled Worker Program)

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Canpars Immigration Services Inc. 1980 Sherbrooke W, Suite#900 Montreal, QC, H3h1E8 The Honorable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P Citizenship and Immigration Canada Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1 March 4, 2010 Subject: Iranian Medical Doctor Degrees should be awarded 25 points Minister Jason Kenny: One of the pillars of Canadian Immigration and Refugee Act is the principle of fairness, a principle that engulfs the spirit of Canada and one of the main reasons that has brought people from different corners of the world to this great country of ours. It is based on this principle in part and other evidence that I am appealing to you to oversee the following matter which has caused serious problems to a particular group of Iranians applying for permanent residence in Canada. Recently, Iranians with Medical Doctor degrees who have applied for permanent residence in Canada and whose cases have been handled by Damascus visa office, have come to experience a shocking blow, that is their studies of over 18 years towards their MD degree have been evaluated as a Bachelor’s degree and consequently, instead of obtaining the supposed 25 points off the selection grid, they were appointed only a score of 20! Hereby, I would like to present my argument as to the effect that General Medical Doctor degrees from Iranian educational universities are by all means equivalent to Master’s degrees in the country’s educational system and consequently according to Canadian Immigration regulations and guidelines those degrees should be given the maximum points in the selection grid, i.e. 25 and not 20 nor 22. To this end, I would not only provide you with official inquiry done after the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MHME) with this regard and official breakdown of the Iranian education system presented by the Iranian embassy, but I would also provide you with detailed curriculum of MD programs and compare it with that of bachelor’s degree to let you judge by yourself that an MD degree is not a BSc degree in Iranian educational system. First, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Medical Doctor program in Iran is a continuous study of at least six (6) years which requires 290 credit units to fulfil the requirements. Here is an excerpt from the Iranian embassy online description of Iranian education system. “Continuous Master Degree: This degree is offered in the fields of dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine as well as some other fields. […] it requires the completion of 210-290 units with a dissertation.” I have also attached the inquiry letter done after the MHME and their response by Dr. Seyyed Amir Mohsen Ziaei, head of the planning and programming committee for Medical Sciences of MHME. Dr. Ziaei’s response clearly states that General Medical Doctorate degree is equivalent to Master’s degree. I have attached to this letter, a rather detailed breakdown of the official Medical Doctor programs as prescribed by the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education which is respected by all medical schools in Iran. The outline of the program is presented here. The Medical Doctor curriculum is devised to be completed in a minimum of six (6) years and consists of four (4) steps and two hundred and ninety (290) credit courses. 1. Step one (Basics Sciences): Two (2) years, 91 credits 2. Step two (Physiopathology & Semio-logy): Six (6) months, 30 credits 3. Step three (Clerkship & Training): Twenty (20) months, 95 credits 4. Eligibility Exam to enter step four 5. Step four (Internship): Eighteen (18) months, 68 credits 6. Final dissertation: Six (6) credits The graduates of General Medical Doctorate have the option to specialize in their profession which normally takes 3 to 5 years of extra studies leading to a specialized doctorate degree, or apply for PhD in a discipline of their choice. When compared to a bachelor program, the following important differences become clear. 1. At least 2 and up to 4 years of difference in the duration of the programs 2. A difference of some 150 credit courses As you could judge by yourself, a general medical doctor from Iranian higher education system under the country’s regulations and laws is by all means a holder of a master’s degree. I would like to present excerpts from the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Regulations and Overseas Processing manuals for Federal Skilled Workers class (OP06) which when combined with the fact that MD degrees are Master’s degrees in Iran where they are issued, help to determine how Iranian MD degrees have to be graded. 1. Section 73 of the Immigration Regulations says: “ ‘Educational credential’ means any diploma, degree or trade or apprenticeship credential issued on the completion of a program of study or training at an educational or training institution recognized by the authorities responsible for registering, accrediting, supervising and regulating such institutions in the country of issue.” , 2. OP6 in Section 6.3 states: “Officers should assess programs of study and award points based on the standards that exist in the country of study. The Regulations do not provide for comparisons to Canadian educational standards.” It would be unfair and unjust to downgrade Iranian MD degrees and compare it with Canadian medical education programs which are different. As stated justly in the law, those credentials should be evaluated based on how they are represented in Iran. Next, it is the guideline as how to evaluate Medical Doctor Degrees from other countries. 3. OP6 in Section 10.2 states: “Medical doctor degrees are generally first-level university credentials, in the same way that a Bachelor of Law or a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology is a first level, albeit “professional” degree and should be awarded 20 points. If it is a second-level degree and if, for example, it belongs to a Faculty of Graduate Studies, 25 points may be awarded.” The MD degree in Iran is a second-level degree based on what presented earlier and as example this is how “Tehran University of Medical Sciences” categorizes its offered degrees: 4. “There are eight schools that offer specialized undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. • A B.S. Course is offered in 4 years, an M.S. Course in 2 years, an M.D. course in 7 years, D.D.S. and Pharm.D. courses in 6 years, a Ph.D. course in 4 years.“ When combined with Canadian Immigration and Refugee Regulations and Overseas Processing manual for Federal Skilled Workers class, it would follow logically and naturally that since: 1. Medical Doctor degrees are recognized a Master’s degrees by the authorities of the issuing country, in this case Iran, and that 2. they belong to the graduate studies department of medical schools and also the fact that 3. it takes a minimum of 18 years to complete the program, It would be fair as required by the principle of fairness in Canadian Immigration and Refugee Act, to award educational credentials a full score of 25 and nothing less. I as an immigration consultant dealing with hundreds of people on a daily basis, would like to appeal to you one more time to oversee this matter as it has very detrimental effects one many of those who deserve fair process of their application. I would be fully at your disposition should you require further information and insight into the Iranian education system. I am very grateful for your time and patience and keenly looking forward to witnessing a prompt change of case processing practice at Damascus Visa Office. Cordially yours, Ali Mokhtari, LLB, LLM, CCIC CEO of CanPars Immigration Services, Inc.

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