The disconnect.

Haroon Siddiqui, a writer and columnist with the Toronto Star, says, “Unemployment relates to the structural problems with policies that contradict status quo. The country has an influx of 300 thousand people every year. That means 300 thousand jobs lost by Canadians and immigrants each year.”

Doug Piquette, executive director of the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council, points out that skilled newcomers deal with challenges relating to language, unrealistic expectations, isolation and depression. Disconnect between the information given by the embassies overseas and the labour market reality in Canada cannot be overlooked either.

Piquette also talks about assumptions that employers have about newcomers. “Some are concerned about the integration of an immigrant into the organization,” he says.

An employer’s awareness about existing programs like IQAS is sometimes limited. IQAS does not concede the prior working experience of an immigrant, and the accreditation of skills is difficult and expensive.


Going back?

Combining the difficulties with workforce penetration and cultural integration with the fact that economies in developing countries are advancing, Canada is witnessing a reverse trend in migration – immigrants are considering going back home.

Siddiqui has carved an incredible career for himself in Canada, however, he feels the upward moving economies of developing countries will encourage immigrants reconsider returning home. He says, “Today, India’s economy is so strong that I don’t see any reason why an Indian from Bangalore or Delhi should come to Canada. Given the current volatility in Pakistan, a Pakistani coming here is still comprehensible.”

Sujata Sudarshan, CEO of the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre, was reported stating to The Globe and Mail that in 2011, about 100,000 immigrants returned to India, and that number was expected to grow in coming years. Similar reversal was being witnessed among Chinese expatriates.

There are, however, some exceptions to this trend – like MLA Peter Sandhu from Edmonton. Sandhu believes change is vital to growth. He says, “I came to Canada as a farmer, and look here, I have found my way into the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.” 

Cut to my workstation. My email opens to at least two-dozen job offers from Mumbai. As I peruse them, the newsreader behind me shouts: India’s growth hits a two-year high. Aah!


Irum Khan

Irum Khan is an Indian journalist who has recently moved to Edmonton. In India, she worked for The Economic Times, F&B News, The Indian Express and The Times of India Newspaper in Education.


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