|[ canaDA ] in KIDS
글 쓴 이(By): TACK (T@CKt@ck)
날 짜 (Date): 2005년 11월 23일 수요일 오전 09시 42분 21초
제 목(Title): Broken Promises
얼마전에 CTV W-5 에서 방송된 내용입니다.
By Marleen Trotter, W-FIVE
Canada, like many other wealthy countries, wants to attract the best and
brightest from developing nations.
The promise? Bring your education and skills and the jobs are waiting. In
particular, the Canadian government has been encouraging highly skilled
and highly educated immigrants.
In a major speech in September, Prime Minister Paul Martin put heavy
emphasis on the need to increase immigration levels to combat an aging
population, low birth rate and a shortage of skills.
"We need immigrants," said Martin. "Quite frankly we need more and we need
them to succeed."
But can we really accommodate more? What about the tens of thousands
Many who came with dreams of a better life find it impossible to work in
their chosen profession and complain of a system that offers little help
to allow them to practice their skills.
Federal government documents obtained by W-FIVE show that skilled
immigrants are shunning Canada. In 2000, Canadian embassies and consulates
abroad received more than 300,000 immigrant skilled worker visa
applications. But in 2004 that number declined to only 177,000.
Even more dramatic is the fall in skilled worker applications from China
(including Hong Kong), which dropped from 60,000 in 2000 to only 8,000 in
The Maple Leaf
For Eva Zhai, who grew up in China, the Canadian maple leaf represented a
symbol of opportunity and independence in a far-off land.
Zhai immigrated to Canada because she dreamed of a better life for herself
and her daughter Nicole.
She didn't leave China because she was poor or desperate. At home in
Shanghai, she was a successful marketing executive for a large
multinational company. Hers was just the kind of expertise she was told
would land her a good job in Canada.
But Zhai hasn't been able to find any job that matches her qualifications.
Her dream is starting to die.
"Like now I feel a bit lost. Like a failure for the career improvement,"
says Zhai. "I thought I have a very solid multinational background you
know. It should be I can fit in."
Prescription for dissatisfaction
Hamid Zarrinkalam was also led to believe he would have no trouble fitting
in once he immigrated to Canada.
An experienced pharmacist back in Iran, Zarrinkalam was told he would have
to be re-certified in Canada. But he was never told it would take almost
three years, that he would literally have to start over, go back to
school, write five exams and do another internship to re-qualify.
Zarrinkalam feels fortunate to have a job as a pharmacy technician to
support himself while he studies for his licensing examinations. But his
work as an assistant is a long way from managing a pharmacy, which is what
he did back in Iran.
"I passed my university (in Iran). I got my degrees over there," he says.
"So I'm ready to (work as a pharmacist). But here -- no."
By the time W-FIVE met Raj Kumar, he was already packing up his dreams for
a better life in Canada, along with his wife Shivani and their two
children. After five years in this country, the engineer with a PhD from
New Delhi has been unable to find any work in his profession.
"I never thought that I would not find a job here," Kumar told W-FIVE.
Disappointed and desperate, he's giving up on Canada and moving to the
United States. There, he found a job with a high-tech company based in
Princeton, New Jersey.
"Within ten days I got two offers (in the U.S.)," he said.
Before emigrating, Kumar was educated and taught at one of the most
prestigious technical schools in the world -- The Indian Institute of
But once in Canada, he couldn't even land an entry-level position and
ended up doing tutoring and courier jobs. He never thought he would be
unable to find work once here.
Immigrants come from different countries, with different backgrounds. But
they all have one thing in common. They qualified to immigrate to Canada
under its point system for skilled workers. It is a point system that
rewards higher education and experience. Everyone must pass an
international language test.
A government presentation shown to prospective immigrants, obtained by
W-FIVE, shows what's needed: 10 points for being in the right age bracket;
25 points for education; 10 points for arranged employment; 16 points for
speaking one of Canada's official languages (French or English); 8
additional points for the second official language. A prospective
immigrant needs 67 out of 100 points to qualify.
The huge number of points given for education means that it's very easy
for prospective immigrants with university degrees and good jobs.
Skilled immigrants are invited into Canada based on their impressive
education, experience and language abilities only to find out that once
they get here those credentials aren't recognized, their foreign
experience doesn't count and their English isn't good enough.
They find themselves locked out by employers who want Canadian degrees and
Canadian experience, by regulated professions that make it almost
impossible to re-qualify.
Skilled surgeon can't work while Canada needs doctors
Joshua Raj, an experienced orthopedic surgeon has performed more than
1,000 joint replacements in Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
Canada needs orthopedic surgeons, but once he arrived in Canada, Dr. Raj
he was told he would have to go back to medical school for a year, then
wait in line and do another four-year residency, if he could even find
one. Dr. Raj has come to the conclusion that he will never be able to
practice medicine in Canada.
"When I make an incision in patient in England, Ireland or Wales under the
skin they look exactly the same as a Canadian," says Dr. Raj. "The bones
are the same, the arteries are the same, the nerves are the same. I don't
see why I cannot work here."
One couple in Alberta is determined to take on Canada's failing
immigration system. Prem and Nessa Premakumaran are suing the federal
government, accusing Canada of wooing professionals like themselves under
Now living in Edmonton, Prem and Nessa were educated in the United Kingdom
and worked for 20 years in London, England, in accounting and office
administration before emigrating to Canada.
They claim that during their interview at the Canadian High Commission
they were told they would have no trouble finding work in their fields
given their experience and qualifications. Today, they complain, that they
were sold a bill of goods.
"If they are looking for slaves to do the jobs, menial jobs, they should
advertise they are looking, Canada is looking for slaves to do the menial
jobs," complains Prem.
Since coming to Canada, it's been a constant struggle for Prem and Nessa
to support their young family. In spite of their global experience and a
booming Alberta economy, no one would hire them.
Instead of working in finance and office administration, the Premakumarans
have been forced to take whatever jobs they could get to survive, cleaning
hotel rooms and offices.
At one point Prem was even forced to shovel snow in front of Canada Place
to make ends meet.
Ontario condemns federal immigration
So what's wrong? Ontario's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Michael
Colle blames a federal visa system that is out of touch with the reality
of the job market. Colle says the federal point system gives priority to
people with academic credentials regardless of whether there is work for
"The immigration system in Canada is broken," Colle told W-FIVE in an
interview. "It's like inviting someone for dinner to your home and you
basically feed them crumbs.
"The problem is that we in Ontario may need welders, we need construction
workers, we need truck drivers. So the point system doesn't do you any
good if you're a truck driver who wants to come to Canada from Romania.
Yet if you're a PhD from Bucharest you'll probably get in but you may not
get work but if you're a truck driver you get to work immediately. Well,
then the point system isn't working? That's an understatement."
Bad news spreading fast
Our reputation as a nation that welcomes the world is at stake. And the
bad news about how tough things can be for skilled newcomers in Canada is
spreading fast -- via the Internet, messages posted by disappointed,
highly technical immigrants who are plugged into the global marketplace.
A recent online article out of New Delhi warns "Far from being the El
Dorado of repute, for many immigrants Canada has emerged as a land of
unmitigated disaster. From rampant discrimination to hidden booby traps,
Indians have been forced into an economic quagmire, having to settle for a
dead end job."
And then there's a website, NOTCANADA.COM, that blasts Canada as a "land
of shattered dreams" where "careers, finances and lives are destroyed".
The website lists the top eight reasons not to immigrate to Canada. Number
one is "No Jobs."
The negative warnings from disillusioned immigrants posted on the
website's forum are shockingly blunt:
"My Canadian dream turned into a nightmare."
"Canadians must be proud of having highly skilled immigrants sweeping
floors and washing dishes"
"All of you wanting to migrate: DO NOT DO IT."
Federal minister responds
W-FIVE went to Canada's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Joe
Volpe, to talk about the disconnect between immigrants and the labour
In particular we asked him about the many immigrants the program
interviewed, who told us they passed the point system and were led to
believe they would get jobs in our field, but once in Canada, just hit a
brick wall and ended up in dead end jobs.
"I'm one of those that doesn't believe that any job leads to a dead end,"
responded Volpe. "I think that work actually ennobles the human spirit."
Volpe appeared taken aback when shown the NOTCANADA.com website.
"Does something like this trouble anybody? It troubles me," he told
reporter Victor Malarek. "I want the most positive remarks regarding
Canada and my job is to be able to fix the system so that people we invite
into our country can hit the ground running."
"The system needs to change. How long is that going to take? Years? I'd do
it tomorrow if I could because every day thousands of immigrants are
coming only to find jobs aren't available."
However the immigration minister believes immigrants will eventually find
success in Canada.
"The characteristics of immigrant is when one door opens another closes. I
don't mean to be cavalier but I would say to those immigrants they
shouldn't be discouraged while we're building a system to realize
End of the road
But the immigrants W-FIVE met during its investigation are discouraged. If
things don't turn around for Eva Zhai soon, she and her family will go
back to China where the economy is booming, even if it means losing face.
Pharmacist Hamid Zarrinkalam is determined to finish what he started and
get his licence in Canada. Zarrinkalam insists he will not go back to Iran
a failure. But he admits that if he had known the barriers he would face
and the time it would take, he would never have chosen to immigrate to
Canada. And his decision to come here has cost him his future wife.
Zarrinkalam's fiancee, a doctor back in Tehran, has decided not to pack up
her career and move to Canada after watching him struggle for so long.
As for Prem and Nessa Premakumaran, of Edmonton, their fight to hold
Ottawa accountable suffered a setback, when a Federal Court judge recently
dismissed their claim ruling: "It is not the role of the courts to order
that agencies be set up to assist immigrant workers. These issues … have
to be settled at the ballot box."
The couple is not giving up. They've taken their case to the Federal Court
But Raj Kumar has given up; leaving the country he chose to move to in
favour of a guaranteed job in the United States.
"It's really tough," he said, while packing boxes for his move.
But it's a move he has to make. The job in the U.S. offers a chance to get
back into the engineering profession, to regain his confidence and reclaim
his future. Kumar says he owes it to his family, who sacrificed so much
for him back in India.
And maybe with American job experience under his belt, Raj might one day
return to Canada and get a job that fits his skills here.