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Abgeschickt von JOBS JOBS ?? am 10 September, 2003 um 22:43:15:

This article appeared in Toronto Star today. Decide for yourself!!! (bottom of the fornt page!!

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Job search frustrates newcomers
StatsCan study shows many have to work outside their fields

Immigrants `hit a wall of silence,' says Pakistani geologist


New immigrants to Canada are unlikely to get a job befitting their education and professional training, according to a report by Statistics Canada.

Six out of 10 newcomers switch their fields altogether after coming to this country. Many highly trained professionals settle for positions in sales or manufacturing, if they manage to land a job at all.

"It is frustrating. It's a shock to me how difficult it is to get a (related) job in Canada," said Fuzail Siddiqui, a geologist and doctoral degree holder from London's King's College, who traded his $200,000 a year job with a Zambian mining company for a $12,000 job as a golf course maintenance worker in Toronto.

"You hit a wall of silence everywhere," Siddiqui said. "For a lot of highly educated immigrants, it's hard to get your dignity back once you come to Canada."

The report, "Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada," was released yesterday by Statistics Canada. Conducted in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, it's the first part of a long-term study of how Canadian immigrants adapt to life here and how government programs can help them make the transition.

Susan Scarlett, a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said the study will give the ministry a better grip on issues faced by new immigrants and how to develop programs to better serve them.

"These are big issues that the department has been focusing on for a long time ... when someone makes a life-changing decision to leave the county where they live and emigrate to another country," she said.

The study's authors interviewed 12,000 of the roughly 164,200 immigrants, aged 15 and older, who arrived in Canada between October 2000 and September 2001. The initial interviews took place six months after the immigrants' arrival and will be repeated in two and four years.

The findings confirm the experiences of many immigrants, said Jane Cullingworth, project coordinator of the Policy Roundtable Mobilizing Professions and Trades (PROMPT), an advocacy group representing 20 organizations involved with immigrant employment issues.

"This isn't new information. We have an aggressive immigration policy that targets skilled workers to come to this country, but we don't have an aggressive policy once they get here to make sure they are able to utilize the skills for which they've been recruited," she said.

Professional and independent immigrants made up 67 per cent of the newcomers in the survey, followed by those sponsored by relatives, 27 per cent. Only 6 per cent were admitted as refugees.

"Finding employment was the area where most immigrants reported some difficulties," the study states. "Seventy per cent of newcomers who tried to enter the labour force identified at least one problem with the process, such as transferability of foreign qualifications, lack of contacts and language barriers."

Forty-four per cent of the immigrants found employment within a short time and that increased to 70 per cent after six months. However, even then, 42 per cent of the job holders were still looking for another position.

Markham resident Siddiqui, who is Pakistani and speaks fluent English, travelled widely across Africa in his work as a production geologist.

He came to Canada with his wife and family in 1998 after 24 years spent working in his field, but all his calls about geologist jobs were unanswered. Like other new immigrants, he is a fixture at the Human Resources Development Canada's offices and has enrolled in courses such as a computer class to upgrade his skills.

Still: "Everywhere you go, there's no response to your applications," Siddiqui, who has three grown children, said.

Frustrated with gloomy employment prospects, 67 per cent of the new immigrants planned to obtain further training to upgrade their skills. And 67 per cent of university-educated immigrants intended to pursue further university-level training.

The study found 76 per cent of new arrivals had at least one type of foreign educational credential higher than a high school diploma, but more than a quarter of those said they experienced difficulties in getting those foreign credentials assessed and recognized.


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