Archive | Immigrant

Recognition of newcomers’ foreign credentials and work experience

Posted on 20 February 2013 by admin

Education and work experience are among the valuable assets new immigrants bring to Canada. Almost one in five newcomers are skilled-worker principal applicants selected for their labour market attributes. While the majority of immigrants are not directly selected through the points system, many also possess skills that are potentially valuable to Canadian society and its economy.

In 2008, close to 45% of newcomers held a university degree, more than double the proportion 14 years earlier.1 Among those who were admitted as principal applicants in the skilled workers category, 72% held a university degree, as did 41% of newcomers in the ‘spouse and dependents, skilled worker’ category, and 33% of family class immigrants. Fourteen years earlier, the corresponding figures were 39%, 21%, and 12% respectively (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2004 and 2009).

Yet newcomers face barriers that may impede the recognition of their credentials and work experience, with consequences for their labour market performance and broader integration within Canadian society. Potential factors include the content of foreign education being deemed less relevant to the needs of the Canadian labour market than the country where the education was completed, linguistic ability in English or French, and the entry procedures in some trades and professions. Unfamiliarity with foreign degrees among employers may also play a role. Others have suggested that the decentralized accreditation system seems to be a hurdle, with numerous trade and professional bodies being involved, and provinces having their own standards for evaluating degrees and setting certification norms for trades and professions

Newcomers experience a higher rate of unemployment than established immigrants and native Canadians. Their earnings lag behind those of other groups. Finding employment is frequently challenging. Education-to-job mismatch is particularly prevalent among recent immigrants with university education. In 2008, two-thirds of such newcomers were working in occupations that usually required at most a college education or apprenticeship, compared to 55% of established immigrants and 40% of native Canadians. Also, a recent analysis of 2006 Census data shows that just under one-quarter (24%) of employed foreign-educated, university-level immigrants were working in a regulated occupation that matched their field of study, compared to 62% of their Canadian-born counterparts. And among immigrants whose occupation did not match their field of study, 77% worked in jobs that do not usually require a degree, compared to 57% of ‘unmatched’ Canadian-born graduates.

Non-recognition of foreign credentials and work experience by employers and regulatory professional and trade bodies can lead to an underutilization of the ‘human capital’ of many immigrants who were selected for their skills, work experience and other socio demographic characteristics.

This study uses the 2000 to 2005 Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) to shed light on the issue of foreign credentials and work experience recognition from the perspective of immigrants, as the survey data are based on immigrants’ responses to interview questions. The period covered by the survey precedes the labour market downturn that began in the fall of 2008. Although recent immigrants were disproportionately affected by the downturn, this study focuses on hypotheses relating to the recognition of credentials that should not be sensitive to the business cycle. This information may be of particular interest to those developing proposals for the federal, provincial and territorial Foreign Credentials Recognition investment program announced in November 2009.

The LSIC was unique in scope and depth. Following a cohort of new immigrants during their first four years of settlement in Canada, the survey captured both the pre-immigration and post-immigration trajectories of these immigrants by providing information on their occupation prior to landing, intended occupation, credentials received prior to landing and plans for credentials assessment, as well as their actual occupation in Canada, the education obtained or training taken after landing, and their labour-market outcomes such as earnings, participation, employment and unemployment.

The same cohort of newcomers (a total of 7,716) was interviewed three times over four years: six months after landing, then two years and four years thereafter. Each time, these newcomers were asked about various aspects of their settlement in the country, including their employment situation and whether their credentials and work experience were accepted in Canada.

This study looks at one specific aspect of newcomers’ settlement: recognition of their foreign credentials and work experience.

The assessment of credential recognition and work experience encompasses a number of questions. How does the recognition rate of foreign credentials compare with that of foreign work experience? Are female immigrants more likely than their male counterparts to encounter difficulties obtaining recognition for their degrees and work experience? Does the likelihood of foreign credential recognition vary depending on whether the immigrant is part of a visible minority? How do newcomers with pre-arranged employment or previous knowledge of Canadian society fare in getting their credentials and experience recognized? Does the likelihood of recognition differ depending on the location of study or work (the country where the degree was earned or work experience acquired)? Finally, how do immigrants selected specifically for their skills and education (skilled immigrants) fare compared to other immigrants?

Source: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-001-x/2010109/article/11342-eng.htm

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Language and Canadian Experience Will Get More Points in FSWP

Posted on 25 August 2012 by admin

Proposed regulatory changes in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will allow Canada to better select skilled workers who can “hit the ground running” upon arrival.

“The Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada’s largest economic immigration program,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “The changes we are making to update the selection criteria are based on a large body of data and evidence we’ve accumulated over the years showing what skills and qualifications are most likely to lead to success for skilled immigrants.”

Following an extensive program evaluation, stakeholder and public consultations, as well as other research, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proposing the following changes to the FSWP:

  • Making language the most important selection factor by establishing new minimum official language thresholds and increasing points for language;
  • Increasing the emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience and remain in the workforce longer;
  • Increasing points for Canadian work experience and reducing points for foreign work experience;
  • Simplifying the arranged employment process to prevent fraud and abuse yet enable employers to staff positions quickly; and
  • Awarding points for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.

Another proposed change is the introduction of the Educational Credential Assessment – a mandatory requirement that FSWP applicants have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations. CIC will then award points according to how an applicant’s foreign educational credential compares to a completed educational credential inCanada. It does not necessarily guarantee that they would become licensed to practice in a regulated occupation.

“This is an important step we are taking to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field,” stated Minister Kenney. “This new requirement will help potential newcomers make informed choices about immigration and Canadian career paths.”

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Muslim Community Services: Collaborating with Service Provides for Newcomers’ Benefit

Posted on 26 July 2012 by admin

By Staff Writer

The employment market is definitely not doing great at the moment but we do provide the new immigrants the advantage of expanding their social and professional exposure.

A newcomer brings another language, a new experience, exposure to international market which can be used as an asset to the companies here.

Muslim Community Servicesis an organization of diverse professionals dedicated to enhancing newcomer community engagement. It was established in 1987 as a non-profit organization to serve and work with newcomers to facilitate their settlement and integration into Canada. We offer a wide range of services and learning opportunities to connect newcomers to a better future in the ever changing Canadian society. GenerationNext got in touch with Janice Hubbard to askhow this organization is making a difference in the lives of new immigrants:

What kind of immigrant services do you provide?

We offer LINC services, language training, employment services. We also conduct classes to help them with no beginning or end period. It depends on their individual requirement.

Do you cater to only Muslim community?

 We serve all clients regardless of their origin or nationality.

Do you find that many South Asian immigrants need English languageservices?

I think that even if they had English training in their native country, there is always a difference of language from place to place. So it is essential for allimmigrants to learn the language as it helps in better understanding of culture and behaviour.

Are the needs of male immigrants a little different from femaleimmigrants?

That holds true for all the females around the world. Women generally have more family responsibilities than men. We try to look at every client and understand the requirements and needs individually. Men usually take care of the financial responsibilities in the house.

Do you help people finding jobs?

Yes, we provide employment services like making resumes, finding opportunities, identifying skills, and mock interviews, preparing them to enter the job market, search and keep a job.

What kinds of jobs do you help in finding, in medical, IT or engineering fieldsetc.?

We deal with all kinds of professionally trained immigrants. We constantly make an effort to connect them with the employers. A newcomer brings another language, a new experience, exposure to international market which can be used as an asset to the companies here. We realize that certain professions are more difficult than other and require further certifications. Hence, we have programs which cater to specific programs.

With the current job market in Canada, how big a challenge is it to find jobs for immigrants and you as a company?

The employment market is definitely not doing great at the moment but we do provide the new immigrants the advantage of expanding their social and professional exposure.

How many immigrants do you serve in a year?

We serve from 11,000 to 13,000 immigrants. We operate from three locations, two in rampton and one in Mississauga

Generally speaking, what age immigrants do you serve?

We serve all age groups and we look at all their activities. Most of our clients range between 25 years to 55 years.We provide guidance to them about health and school. We have group programs to help them excel in their leadership skills and performance.

Do you have programs for seniors and youth?

We have a leadership program for youth. Thisprogramhelps them to be able to impact and influence decisions. We have a Connections Program for the seniors. In this program, we invite seniors on a regular basis for information sessions. We provide them with computers in their own language as it is important for them to be connected with their own family back home.

What makes your organization better than others?

We don’t look at other companies as competitors rather we look at them as complementing services to what we have. We believe in collaborating with other service providers so we are able to provide better services. All our counsellors are multi-lingual, so they can understand and meet the needs of our clients in a better way.

What is your preferred method of communicating?

In all our branches combined, we speak over 18 languages for example Arabic, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Polish, French, Spanish, and Romanian etc. Also we have volunteers who help us in casethe language acts as a barrier.

What major challenges are you currently facing as an organization?

Working in a fast paced dynamic environment is a challenge. To keep our staff up-to-date with policies, benefits from government, services provided by various resources, current developments and changing needs are also some of the challenges. This way, we can refer those to clients, keeping them well informed on what’s going on. We have programs conducted in libraries if the clients are not able to come to our organization. Similarly,we provide programs in 56 schools in Brampton both elementary and secondary. We want to be inclusive and be able to reach everybody. The immigrants that come here have a big advantage of being internationally trained.

What is the organization’s plan for the next five years?

We have another department working on it. It’s hard to comment before our strategic department releases it. We keep in mind the areas to work on, focus more, and improve.

What is your company’s policy on attending seminars, workshops, and other
 training opportunities?

We encourage the staff at all times to update and upgrade their knowledge. In order to maintain the quality of services we provide, it is essential to have trained and well informed staff.

If you are a new immigrant, seeking nay of the services mentioned in this interview, please visit Muslim Community Services at www.muslimcommunity.org or call at (905) 790-1910.

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A Moment of Fury

Posted on 13 July 2012 by admin

By: Zareen Muzaffar Mississauga This is a story of those who left their country, like many others, but failed to settle, unlike others. These immigrants walk in this big city like a ghostly sketch, absorbed in their thoughts, languid walk, and pensive gaze. They either live on welfare, survive on temporary jobs or resort to work hours that may just pay the minimum wage. Wages do bring food to the table, but the inner frustrations escalate with time. Sometimes we sail in ships that don’t reach. What makes sense from far away proves to be a mirage; like all other things in life tangible or intangible. People arrive as immigrants, reside like residents and live like aliens. Segregated, demarcated and aligned. Such is the story of many immigrants who arrive here with the cultural and traditional values embedded in them, much like a birth mark. Hard to hide, difficult to ignore. Brampton has the largest concentration of South Asians in Canada. Making up 31.7% of Brampton’s population are immigrants predominantly from India and Pakistan. Most immigrants who live here have gained employment in blue collar sector. There are some immigrants who are well-educated yet lack “the Canadian experience”, and consequently they find themselves just working labour jobs to buy the basic necessities. And then there are some financially stable families who have a comfortable lifestyle with well paying jobs. I have met different families from various parts of Lahore or Karachi. The third angle is solitary that comprises of single South Asian mothers who have either voluntarily left their partner or have been deserted. Either way, some unfortunate circumstance like incompatibility issues or abuse or extra marital affairs ended the couples’ relationship. This woman I know took the step out of frustration. I don’t know how Ayesha will sleep tonight. Will she feel at peace or will she remain numb and break down after a couple of days. I don’t know. She lived with her husband unhappily for ten years. Although whenever I met her and asked how she was doing, she sounded quiet hopeful and said the same thing every time: things will get better. “I have to think of my children. But all this is normal, every home has troubles. Mine will get better too”. As time went by her responses grew mechanical. And she began to believe their relationship will get better. At least that’s what I thought. Sometimes our frustrations brew calmly under the demure and frighteningly silent patience. According to Ayesha her husband was not a good provider, he would work for a couple of weeks and would voluntarily quit the job as he pleased. Most of the jobs were contractual and at times he would leave the work place without informing his employers. He used to stay at home, watch television, go to the malls, then come home frustrated. He forbade her from meeting her parents and made sure no calls were made from her cell phone. He did not let their children meet the grandparents. She says he shoved her once in front of the children but she ignored it as part of marital strife. Then one day he came home and started beating his son. In a fit of rage he shoved Ayesha and her head hit the wall. After he stormed out of the house she knew what she had to do. After a couple of hours a call was made to 911 and within five minutes police arrived with the ambulance. The caller was the son who had received the beating. He informed the authorities that his father had beaten him and in rage had also threatened to kill them. Ayesha’s husband was sitting at home alone watching TV when the cops arrested him and took him away. In an apartment two floors above Ayesha knew what was happening in her own apartment. She was sitting at her sister’s place with her mother. She knew he would never forgive her for this. And she didn’t care. When I dropped in to meet her she told me she has decided to file for separation. What followed were the details of her husband’s arrest. “Do you want some tea?”, she asked me and I declined the offer. She went to the kitchen and shared a joke with her friend who had come moments after me. I heard loud laughter from the kitchen. As if someone had just set her free. She had set herself free. I sat looking at the room. It looked exactly the same as before. But so much had changed. “I am going to try and make sure that the court issues restrictions on him. I don’t want him to be near my children and me because he is a hazard to our safety now. I can never forgive him, I don’t want to. I don’t want him near me or my children”, she said. For Ayesha’s husband this could mean a final exit from Canada. According to a latest report permanent residents convicted of a crime and jailed for six months or more in Canada would have their immigrant status revoked with no right to appeal under a proposed legislation. This was the same girl who used to tell me things will be fine. The same woman who said women have to make a lot of sacrifices for children. Marriage is made up of compromises. This was the same woman who decided to take charge of her life. In moments of angst she had decided to break this relationship that had required patience from her. Ten years of silence. A moment of fury.

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Tips for getting started in a new country

Posted on 09 August 2011 by admin

According to Statistics Canada, in 2006, approximately half, or 561,240 out of the 1,154,070 people living in the municipality of Peel, was an immigrant to Canada.  This municipality had a surge of immigrants move into the area from 2001 to 2006.

 

Brampton, for example, grew by 33.3% and other areas experienced a dramatic increase in their population.  Brampton is now the 11th largest municipality in Canada and the 3rd largest community in the GTA.  Mississauga is the second largest community in the GTA.  The top 10 ethnic groups living in Brampton were the following East Indian, Canadian, English, Scottish, Irish, Jamaican, Portuguese, Italian, French and German.

 

It is not easy to get started when a person immigrates into a new country.  The newcomers need to get settled into their new neighbourhoods quickly.  An immigration expert, in the July 2011 issue of the Canadian Immigrant, says that there are five important steps for immigrants to take in order to start working.  First, open a bank account.  With out a bank account, it is impossible to deposit your paycheck. Second, get a computer with internet access.  Jobs are found posted on websites and housing information is available on some websites.  Libraries have computers which newcomers can access if they do not have a computer at their home to use.  Third, get a credit card.  Credit cards help people establish credit and a way to help pay for things while they wait for a paycheck.  Fourth, obtain a cell phone for any job interview opportunities.  A recruiter will phone rather than use an email to arrange a job interview.

Fifth, networking is important to improve your chances for employment.  Job opportunities are often found out from a friend, or a relative who is already working at a company.  It helps to make friends and new contacts to improve your chances to get a job and to settle into Canada.

 

These tips can help newcomers get started in their new land.

 

 

Jim Jackson MA is a Professor at Humber College.

 

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Canada to revoke citizenship from 1,800 for fraud

Posted on 27 July 2011 by admin

“I’m here to tell those people that Canadian citizenship is not for sale,” Kenney declared.

(Toronto – AP) The Canadian government said it will revoke the citizenship of at least 1,800 people who allegedly used fraudulent means to obtain citizenship status.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said most of those people were counseled by crooked immigration consultants on how to concoct fake proof of residency.

To become a citizen a person is supposed to have lived in Canada for three out of four years.

“Sadly, there is an industry of what we call unscrupulous agents operating around the world who sell advice on how to take advantage of Canada to break our laws,” Kenny said.

Up to now, Canada has successfully revoked citizenship status — usually an arduous process involving lengthy court appeals — from only 66 people.

But Kenney suggested most of the 1,800 won’t contest the revocation since the evidence of fraud is strong and most don’t live in the country full-time.

Kenney said scamming the citizenship system appeals to foreigners who don’t want to live in Canada but want to take advantage of the country’s free health care, subsidized university tuition fees and the security of the Canadian passport.

“I’m here to tell those people that Canadian citizenship is not for sale,” Kenney declared.

The government conducted a two-year investigation into citizenship fraud and the government is in the process of notifying those whose citizenship will be revoked.

While there is public support for immigration, polling shows a limited appetite for increasing immigration levels. An Angus Reid poll published last year reported that in an online survey of a representative sample of 1,007 Canadian adults, 46 percent of respondents believed immigration is having a negative effect in Canada, while 34 percent believed it is having a positive effect.

The nation of 34 million accepted more than 280,000 immigrants last year — the highest total in more than 50 years. For the past decade the country had accepted roughly 250,000 new permanent residents annually. As Canada’s population ages, some have suggested Canada should take in more immigrants. But some argue that immigrants weigh on Canada’s social system and require greater resources to succeed in the country, such as language courses.

 

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Supporting One Another

Posted on 10 February 2011 by admin

By Surbhi Guleria-Joshi, Mississauga

Most immigrants resort to survival jobs which leaves them little or no time to further their professional careers. The transition from a survival job to a preferred job in one’s profession and maybe…a dream job is a long, hard and tiring process.

Canada, the land of opportunities, is the country that promises highest standard of living, excellent infrastructure, superior educational institutions, supportive health care system, universal human rights – everything that is essential for a fulfilling, safe and a successful life for new Canadians. Although, the ‘Canadian dream’ does not come easy, the support system is available and like everything else can be made better. Arriving in Canada does not guarantee a life that most new immigrants dream of when they reach here. Reality hits hard when finding a job with capable qualification and experience seems like a distant dream. Most immigrants from South Asian origin move to Canada in search of a land that has better jobs, better education, better standards of living. When I say ‘better,’ I mean better. Many of the recent immigrants to Canada are professionals, business owners and highly educated people who had decent quality of living in their home countries. After moving here most families do not have the luxury of going through educational or developmental programs. The immediate need is to find a job, get a place to stay and put food on the table. Most immigrants resort to survival jobs which leaves them little or no time to further their professional careers. The transition from a survival job to a preferred job in one’s profession and maybe…a dream job is a long, hard and tiring process. The journey of finding the ‘Canadian dream’ for many immigrants is confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. It is understandable that anyone coming to a new country would be exposed to a new culture, new way to living and working. Canada is a country that has a different job market, a job market that requires different level of expertise, communication skills, understanding of protocols and approach to work. There is no denying that there is a difference in what the new immigrants have to offer and what the Canadian market requires. So, the question arises how do we bridge the gap to make a new immigrant – a prospect employee for the Canadian market? The answer lies in Co-op positions, internships, job workshops, seminars, professional training, networking & support groups as well as scholarships to help new immigrants develop their skills. But the first and foremost thing to do is to get one’s credentials evaluated and assessed to get an understanding of the opportunities & options available for the future. If there is a clear understanding of goals and expectations the results could be achieved much faster and with a lot less confusion. South Asians are highly intelligent group with a lot of advantages on their stride – such as language skills, adaptability, willingness to work hard and having extraordinary survival instincts. All these skills are extremely important, but there are certain things we can definitely improve upon, such as – learning to respect people and treating everyone equally. Also, opening oneself to learn and adapt to the new culture as well as making an attempt to talk to new people can go a long way in integration into the Canadian society and learning about new culture. On the other hand, learning from other communities that have migrated here earlier might be useful, they have created support systems to help the newcomers of their communities adapt easier. We all share the same human experience and a lot of the challenges we face can be eased by helping each other. Given the support and a helping hand we can emerge influential and successful as a group in the future. Surbhi Guleria-Joshi is the host of ‘Badhai Ho!’ show on Omni television. Surbhi is also the Chair of Design & Marketing Committee at the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. Canada, the land of opportunities, is the country that promises highest standard of living, excellent infrastructure, superior educational institutions, supportive health care system, universal human rights – everything that is essential for a fulfilling, safe and a successful life for new Canadians.Although, the ‘Canadian dream’ does not come easy, the support system is available and like everything else can be made better. Arriving in Canada does not guarantee a life that most new immigrants dream of when they reach here. Reality hits hard when finding a job with capable qualification and experience seems like a distant dream. Most immigrants from South Asian origin move to Canada in search of a land that has better jobs, better education, better standards of living.When I say ‘better,’ I mean better. Many of the recent immigrants to Canada are professionals, business owners and highly educated people who had decent quality of living in their home countries.After moving here most families do not have the luxury of going through educational or developmental programs. The immediate need is to find a job, get a place to stay and put food on the table. Most immigrants resort to survival jobs which leaves them little or no time to further their professional careers. The transition from a survival job to a preferred job in one’s profession and maybe…a dream job is a long, hard and tiring process. The journey of finding the ‘Canadian dream’ for many immigrants is confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. It is understandable that anyone coming to a new country would be exposed to a new culture, new way to living and working. Canada is a country that has a different job market, a job market that requires different level of expertise, communication skills, understanding of protocols and approach to work. There is no denying that there is a difference in what the new immigrants have to offer and what the Canadian market requires. So, the question arises how do we bridge the gap to make a new immigrant – a prospect employee for the Canadian market?The answer lies in Co-op positions, internships, job workshops, seminars, professional training, networking & support groups as well as scholarships to help new immigrants develop their skills. But the first and foremost thing to do is to get one’s credentials evaluated and assessed to get an understanding of the opportunities & options available for the future. If there is a clear understanding of goals and expectations the results could be achieved much faster and with a lot less confusion.South Asians are highly intelligent group with a lot of advantages on their stride – such as language skills, adaptability, willingness to work hard and having extraordinary survival instincts. All these skills are extremely important, but there are certain things we can definitely improve upon, such as – learning to respect people and treating everyone equally. Also, opening oneself to learn and adapt to the new culture as well as making an attempt to talk to new people can go a long way in integration into the Canadian society and learning about new culture. On the other hand, learning from other communities that have migrated here earlier might be useful, they have created support systems to help the newcomers of their communities adapt easier. We all share the same human experience and a lot of the challenges we face can be eased by helping each other. Given the support and a helping hand we can emerge influential and successful as a group in the future.Surbhi Guleria-Joshi is the host of ‘Badhai Ho!’ show on Omni television. Surbhi is also the Chair of Design & Marketing Committee at the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

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No Jobs for New Immigrants

Posted on 15 December 2010 by admin

Aleem Zaidi came to Mississauga from Pakistan two years ago with a post-graduate degree in Agricultural studies and extensive work experience in the banking industry. But after unsuccessful attempts at securing a job that matched his credentials, he applied to the University of Western Ontario to upgrade his education and to increase chances of employability.

“My credentials were assessed in Pakistan and I was accepted in the skilled immigrant category when I applied for immigration to Canada,” said Zaidi.

Immigrants accepted under the “skilled workers” category of immigration are accepted based on their work-related skills, professional credentials, and knowledge of one or both official languages.

Currently pursuing graduate studies in Environment and Sustainability at Western, and gaining experience through a co-op placement program, Zaidi says his potential is not being recognized. “No matter how frustrating it is intellectually, changing professions to adapt becomes the only choice.”

Many skilled workers, like Zaidi, despite having their education and experience assessed prior to immigration are not more likely to be employed or to be able to find employment in jobs that utilize their skills.

Unlike Zaidi, not every immigrant chooses to join educational institutes to increase chances of employment. For immigrants like Mohammad Shafiq, 51, the transition requires quick thinking and fast action. When Shafiq came to Canada from United States armed with a doctorate in economics, he looked around for suitable jobs but not for too long.

“I realized the Canadian job market didn’t require what I had to offer, so I switched gears and went to a community college and completed a certificate in computer programming,” said Shafiq.

But due to stiff competition and aftermath of recession, opportunities are shrinking for newly arrived immigrants. A 2008 study  revealed that the proportion of degree-holding immigrants ended up working as store clerks and taxi drivers even after living in Canada for more than a decade has increased.

About 12 percent male immigrants with a university degree had jobs with low educational requirements in 1991. By 2006, it was 21 percent.

Among female immigrants, the study said, these numbers increased from 24 percent in 1991 to 29 percent in 2006.

“These increases for established immigrants suggest that the difficulties, which have long plagued immigrants who have arrived recently, today have an impact on established immigrants,” said Statistics Canada in a statement.

“If we are accepted in the category of skilled immigrants, then where are the jobs that can help us utilize those skills?” said Zaidi.

It is an uphill task for some immigrants to establish themselves professionally because their work experience and foreign credentials are not recognized in Canada.

A recent report released by the Region of Peel in Ontario shows immigrants lagging behind in accessing the job market. The Peel Immigration Labour Market Survey has unveiled that immigrants are not faring as well as their Canadian born counterparts.

In the sample of 1,425 immigrants and Canadian-born Peel residents surveyed, lack of Canadian work experience was reported as the barrier faced most often. For those who had international work experience, only one-third were successful in obtaining their desired employment.

Laureen Rennie, project manager at Department of Human Services in Region of Peel says it takes around six to ten years for the immigrants to settle down in Canada. “The process is difficult because when qualified immigrants arrive here, they enter a market that doesn’t necessarily require those qualifications,” said Rennie.

Human Services serves as a liaison between the federal/ provincial government and municipalities of Peel region that include Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Immigrants make up 49% of peel’s population.

According to the survey, one in four immigrants accessed some government-funded employment services, and just under one-third obtained more education and credentials in Canada. The Peel Immigration Labour Market Survey is the first study conducted that provides local data on the labour market in Peel, and how immigrants are faring in finding employment. Funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the study was done in collaboration with Ryerson’s Diversity Institute in Management and Technology.

Rennie said that Region of Peel is working on creating a dialogue between public and private companies and the new immigrants so they can be facilitated in the work place.

Author:Zareen Muzaffar

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Vouchers work: more immigrants enrolling in language classes

Posted on 01 December 2010 by admin

Language Training Vouchers are increasing immigrant enrollment in English and French language classes, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today at the Punjabi Community Health Services Centre.

Preliminary results from the Language Training Vouchers pilot project show that more than twice the number of immigrants who received vouchers enrolled in free language training compared to those who did not receive vouchers, and that immigrant women were those most likely to enroll in language classes after receiving a voucher.

Language training in English or French has historically been provided free of charge for immigrants and still is. Since 2006, the Government of Canada has tripled immigrant settlement funding for organizations that provide services to newcomers such as English and French language training. Unfortunately, despite the tripling in funding since 2006, enrollment in language classes has not significantly increased. Only 25 percent of immigrants sign up for settlement services.

Under the Language Training Vouchers pilot project, which was launched in October 2009, 2,000 immigrants, chosen randomly in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Alberta, were mailed vouchers that they could take to an immigrant settlement service centre provider of their choice. This gave them the same right as those not in the pilot: the ability to enroll in free, federally-funded language training known as Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC). The difference was, those in the pilot received a special voucher that they could redeem at the immigrant settlement provider of their choice for language classes. Within six months of the vouchers being sent, immigrants selected to take part in the pilot were more than 100 percent more likely to enroll in free language classes than those who were not part of the pilot.

“I have always believed in the ability of vouchers to encourage competition, promote accountability, and empower the recipients,” said Minister Kenney. “The success of our Language Training Vouchers pilot project shows that, when it comes to immigrants, not only do vouchers work in theory, they also work in practice. No initiative undertaken since I have been minister has so radically and fundamentally increased enrollment in English and French language training among immigrants.”

Among those immigrants who were sent vouchers and subsequently enrolled in free language classes, 60 percent were women, compared to 40 percent in the control group that did not receive the vouchers.

“Language Training Vouchers are empowering immigrant women, who are enrolling in language classes in even greater numbers than men,” said Alice Wong, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, and a former ESL teacher with a PhD in Instruction and Curriculum. “Vouchers are empowering immigrant women in their homes and at work by giving them the tools they need to speak English or French. Vouchers will better help them integrate into Canada.”

The objective of the project was to test if vouchers could increase enrollment in free, federally funded language training. The project will run until January 2011.

Through the LINC program, immigrants learn not only how to speak, read and write English or French, but also important aspects of integration, such as their rights and responsibilities as future Canadian citizens.

CIC funds a number of programs that help newcomers settle, adapt and integrate into Canadian society.

For more information on CIC programs, consult our website at www.cic.gc.ca.

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Catholic Crosscultural Services: Going Beyond Referrals and Information Sessions

Posted on 10 November 2010 by admin

It’s not every day that you get the chance to change a life for the better. However, at Catholic Crosscultural Services (CCS), it’s looked down upon. Of course, changing a life is good, but changing two is better, and changing more is even more so. In fact, CCS has had the privilege to change numerous lives for over fifty years. Our non-profit settlement agency helps newcomers acclimatise to their adopted country on a day-to-day basis.

Born as the Catholic Immigration Bureau, its steady evolution reflects the influx of newcomers to the GTA, and the cultural enrichment they bring along. As a result, today we serve immigrants, refugees, and other non-status newcomers to Canada regardless of race, age, religion or political affiliation. Moreover, we are glad to provide our services in over 30 languages, ranging from Cantonese to Urdu and from Swahili to Tigrigna.

The many people CCS serves is a testament to the amount and quality of services that it offers. One of the most common barriers to success and integration in Canada is acquiring proficiency in English. To help newcomers deal with this problem, CCS offers free English classes that include conversational classes, computer-assisted learning, and free childminding through our LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) program. However, Anisley, one of the many people who has benefited from this program, believes that CCS is not just a settlement agency with English classes.

Anisley, an immigrant from Cuba

“I realized that CCS is more than that. Every single day is an excitement with classes, trips, and presentations that help us to gain practical knowledge about living in Canada”

Originally from Cuba, Anisley came with limited knowledge of English, but “in three short months, I had the confidence to speak with people. I was able to search for a job, and present my skills in a job interview, all thanks to the support and advice of my teacher and friends there.”

Manju Kappa and his wife

Another hurdle that newcomers often face is obtaining employment, as Anisley pointed out. Luckily, CCS offers free Job Search Workshops (JSW) that help newcomers prepare professional, marketable resumes. These interactive sessions allow newcomers to assess their employability skills, get information on accreditation, and access the hidden job market. However, that’s only the beginning, because CCS also provides one-to-one support for clients, where they receive job search coaching, and referrals to other appropriate programs and services.

Our settlement team provides many of these other services, and our counsellors often go beyond providing the basic referrals and information sessions on housing, health care, social assistance etc. They are committed to guiding the dynamic individuals that step into our office everyday.

“CCS has a very good reputation because we respect people. It doesn’t matter what country they come from or what religion they follow, we listen to them and try to help them in every aspect of their lives. We don’t just let them go and say ‘that’s it’. We look at people’s needs seriously because settlement is a serious thing: food, housing, employment…reassurance and hope” – Nayana Mistry, Settlement Counsellor

Manju Kuppa came from Mysore, India, in 2000 as a civil engineer with knowledge of construction work and software consulting. He was introduced to Nayana Mistry, one of our settlement counsellors, through his wife. Nayana promptly began helping him tailor his resume for the Canadian job market. After a difficult period of doubt and discouragement where he faced the common barriers to foreign professionals such as ‘qualification not valid’, ‘experience not recognized’ he then thought about becoming self-employed. Nayana again helped him rebuild his confidence to the point that today he is a successful real estate broker that builds and sells custom luxury homes.

“CCS and its counsellors were always giving us the confidence and patience to do well.”

Moreover, we can proudly say that Manju is now using his breadth of experience to help other newcomers integrate into Canadian society. In fact, he recently facilitated a CCS workshop for first time home buyers.

Yet, despite the best efforts of our counsellors, sometimes the immigration process can still be very difficult and stressful. The situations that can present themselves as a result of this distress can often be very difficult to talk about. Through the support services we provide to women (under the Violence Against Women program), our counsellors ensure that the voice of every woman is heard, and that the situations are dealt with tactfully and reasonably.

Whether you need English classes, job search skills, information on housing, education or training, reassurance, or all of the above, CCS is committed to helping newcomers like yourself adapt to Canada, and then to flourish.

Catholic Crosscultural Services has three office locations:

Mississauga:

3660 Hurontario Street, 7th floor,

(905) 273-4140

Brampton:

8 Nelson Street West, suite 302

(905) 457-7740

Scarborough:

55 Town Centre Court, suite 401

(416) 757-7010

Authors:

Gabriella Utreras

Waleed Ahmed

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