Everyday thousands of skilled immigrants come to Canada with a dream of finding a job and starting a new life in this wonderful country. Unfortunately many are unaware that Canadian work experience is a big part of getting hired, forcing many newcomers to take interim jobs, often completely unrelated to their fields of expertise, in order to provide for their families. 

I have a personal connection to the words ‘Canadian experience’ as my wife immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when she was in highschool. Many of her relatives are engineers, yet they all had a frustrating time finding jobs in their field here in Canada. Working as an IT recruiter I have also met many others in the same situation, including one client that had immigrated to Canada from China with a PHD in software engineering from a very renowned school in China. Even he was nervous to apply for a job position because he only had 3 years of Canadian experience. To me, it’s ridiculous that someone with such a distinguished education would be hesitant to apply for a job because of little Canadian experience.

Personally, I think the phrase Canadian experience prevents highly educated, qualified, and in many cases experienced new Canadians from applying for jobs in their field of expertise when they get here. I think it’s an ugly phrase that we should reconsider. Instead of undervaluing education and qualifications from other countries, there should be programs in place for newcomers to transition into their fields here in Canada. Jobs governed by Canadian laws and regulations such as dentistry or architecture should not force new immigrants to have Canadian experience in order to work in these fields. I think it’s a waste of talent.

My advice for newcomers to Canada -Don’t lose hope!

My boss, CEO of Stafflink, Tim Collins, was recently interviewed by ITWorld Canada on the issue of immigrants having a tough time of finding their first job in the IT industry when they immigrate here from other countries. Tim’s advice was to urge new immigrants to get their international experience and education assessed.

There are many resources in place to help people just like you get ahead in the job search and help you find your first real job here. Organizations such as World Education Services (WES) and University of Toronto’s Comparative Education Services (CES) both provide accredation of international credentials. These services come at an affordable price. The goal of these organizations is to integrate new immigrants into the workforce in their new countries.

In the interview, Tim Collins also mentions that, “Being bilingual can he very helpful.”  As a new immigrant, you can increase your chance of finding a job by emphasizing your language skills. While knowing English is an expected basic requirement for most jobs, knowing French can give you that extra edge in the job market.

To read the full article, check out Immigrant IT pros face tough slog in job market

While it may be tough, I assure you, eventually you will come across an employer that understands the value of your international credentials and will hire you. I’m here to tell you to be patient, do the work, and stay positive, because I have seen many people in your exact situation face the same struggle and come out on top! At Stafflink, we have placed many new immigrants and we are proud to say that we’ve helped many of them get their very first job in their fields here in Canada. If it’s rewarding for me, I can’t imagine how good it must feel for the newcomers that finally get their chance!

I should mention that my wife’s family all eventually found jobs. It wasn’t easy, but the opportunities presented themselves. As for my client from China with the PHD, he eventually was hired by a tier 1 organization that recognized his top caliber abilities. So, don’t lose hope, stay patient, and do everything you can to get your qualifications recognized, and eventually, all the hard work will pay off!

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