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February 1, 2019

Settlement and Integration Needs of Skilled Immigrants in Canada

Understanding the challenges and obstacles qualified immigrants might face when they look for employment and settle into a new country.

Canada has one of the highest rates of migration in the whole of North America. The country has a diverse, multi-cultural population. In fact, Canada is quite well-known for its willingness to welcome most immigrants. The best thing is, the government actually does so with open arms, understanding immigration as an asset. Is it just wishful thinking, or is there some truth in such a glowing reputation?

Common knowledge is, skilled immigrants have a rather uncomplicated time when undergoing the process of settling in Canada. According to many experts, everything should be smooth sailing after an initial period of adjustment. Having said that, many immigrants might experience a different scenario. There are some obstacles that might prevent them from succeeding and integrating fully into the local society.

Canada has been highly praised for its Federal Skilled Worker Program. Unfortunately, there are many contrasting statistics concerning the social and economic status of immigrants who are new to the country. Many barriers exist, which might hinder the integration process, and in some cases, such barriers might actually harm an immigrant’s chances of success.

Immigration is seen as a huge asset by the Canadian government, and rightfully so. The influx of skilled workers, providing a fix for issues such as decreasing workforce with specialized skills, as well as aging population and diminishing birth rates. Ever since a radical policy change starting from the late 60s, Canada has widely utilized immigration as a resource, and as a solution to the aforementioned issues. As a result, the country embraced skilled immigrants with open arms, which went on to fulfill many socio-economic needs.

The problem is that although the current bureaucracy does facilitate the immigration of individuals with specialized skills, it does not necessarily ensure that such individuals will be able to integrate in a seamless manner. In some cases, immigrants might suffer from a lack of information or resources prior to their arrival in Canada. Without proper information and tools, even skilled immigrants might struggle to place a foothold in the local market and seize job opportunities that would suit their qualifications and skills. Many immigrants might not be familiar with job searching strategies and other social and ethical customs, which might affect their ability to find work.

Experts suggest that receiving briefing and information before the move to Canada might better prepare these people for their start of a rewarding professional life in the country.

Arguably, one of the biggest struggles to overcome is related to linguistic skills. Even with high-level qualifications, skilled immigrants might struggle to find employment without being proficient in the local language.

In addition to understanding day-to-day communication, skilled immigrants also have another challenge. In fact, many specialized industries have specific insider jargon or professional terminology that might be difficult to grasp for a non-native speaker without advanced communication skills. For this reason, a gap in cross-linguistic communication, and even cross-cultural misunderstanding might affect one’s ability to find employment.

In conclusion, skilled immigrants might greatly benefit from access to information before they move to Canada. In addition to that, they might benefit from linguistic training, including specialized classes relating to their particular industry or specialization. Such resources aren’t always easy to implement on a large governmental scale. Canada already understands that immigrants are the future, and this is already a huge step in the right direction! There is still a lot that can be done to improve the possibilities and career options for skilled immigrants.

Source: MDPI Social Science Review of May publication 2018