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Canada needs to stop wasting the talent of skilled immigrants

Neoliberal democracies across the world have looked up to Canada as a leader in economically driven immigration.

The merit-based immigration system was used to fill labour market shortages and has been a go-to solution to the country’s aging population and recently, the post-pandemic economic recovery.

We recently undertook a Photovoice project, Take a Walk in My Shoes, with recent immigrants who shared their experiences of securing professional employment in Durham, Ont., through photographs and interviews depicting their lives. The goal of the project was to explore their experiences, identify gaps in employment services and have skilled immigrants propose solutions to those gaps.

Labour market integration?

There is a broad consensus in society that labour market integration of immigrants is the most critical indicator of their success in their new home country. However, deskilling and underemployment of immigrants has been well documented.

Perceiving immigrants as unable to get their credentials recognized by professional bodies in Canada and their “cultural differences” as standing in the way of their successful career development have been part of public sentiment.

Research suggests that the Canadian skilled immigration policy is also grounded in the belief that educational and professional credentials guide immigrants toward professional success in Canada.

However, the collective story of immigrants seeking professional employment (illustrated by a photograph by one of the participants, Bushra) suggests that while Canada has opened the door to some, “it only leads to a brick wall on the other side.”

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Source: The Conversation, Vinita Srivastava, 15 mai 2022

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