BC immigrants struggling to find suitable jobs

A new survey reveals that half of British Columbia (BC) immigrants say they do not find jobs matching their training, skills and experience.

According to a new survey by Vancity in partnership with Angus Reid Global, BC newcomers with professional and trades skills feel welcomed but believe their workplace credentials are undervalued.

Of the 400 immigrants surveyed, 34 per cent say they have amassed debt due to employment difficulties experienced here. What’s more, 44 per cent say it has been difficult to provide for their families. The figures are even higher among those looking for work in their chosen field, in which they are trained or have previous work experience.

Among those seeking employment in their chosen field, slightly less than half (49 per cent) say they are able to find work at levels that match their credentials. The rest say they take work in junior positions or find work in different fields. The vast majority of newcomers agree that their work experience, professional qualifications and education from their countries of origin are less respected than the Canadian equivalents.

While nearly all (90 per cent) of the newcomers surveyed say they are glad they immigrated to Canada, and 86 per cent feel that Canadians are generally welcoming of them, 62 per cent still believe they had to overcome racism in order to land a job.

“When newcomers don’t find work in their professions or trades, the effects are broadly felt,” said Catherine Ludgate, Vancity’s senior manager of community investment. “By assigning fair value to international workplace credentials, we all stand to benefit.”

A parallel survey of 800 BC residents—82 per cent of them Canadian-born—reveals a high degree of sympathy for newcomers and a general understanding of the employment difficulties they face. Almost two-thirds of these residents feel that local employers should consider foreign credentials as equivalent to Canadian credentials.

However, while most newcomers (53 per cent) say education standards in their countries of origin are better than education standards in Canada, only 31 per cent of BC residents agree that newcomers are better educated than Canadians. And 78 per cent of B.C. residents believe newcomers should get additional education when they come to Canada.

Article published 20th February 2019