‘No Canadian experience’ barrier : a participatory approach to examining the barrier’s affect on new immigrants

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Petri, Kristen
employment barrier
bilingual and multicultural education
ethnic and racial studies
New immigrants to Canada, specifically those of non-Western origin, frequently experience the phenomenon of the ‘no Canadian work experience’ employment barrier. This paper is based on information gathered in a focus group comprised of male and female new immigrants with university education and advanced skills and work experience who have been in Canada for less than five years. The focus group revealed respondents did face the ‘no Canadian experience’ barrier. But they actively created strategies to overcome the barrier, which included: researching and doing more preparation for the realities of the Canadian job market prior to arriving in Canada but not simply relying on insufficient information provided from Canadian government, having decent English language abilities and a mild accent, altering their resumes and verbalization of their experiences to fit in with Canadian employer expectations. This paper also found that government and settlement organization current strategies and services were ineffective for highly educated and skilled immigrants and ignored the needs of immigrant women with young children. In conclusion, issues related to intercultural communication need to be considered for smoothing immigrants’ integration into the Canadian workforce.
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