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Immigration and computer professionals

Hi,

I live in both Vancouver and Toronto and in Canada we have a lot of immigration (I am one of them). I see a lot of young professionals immigrating from everywhere. Some of them are very capable, however for some, they either experience difficulty finding a local job or perceive that it's much better to go back to where they come from and continue working back home. The primary reason seems to be 1) the lack of networking or networks available to them. They don't have friends or professional peers to look to for jobs that suit them; 2) the language barrier. Computer professionals in particular end up opening computer stores and internet cafes, which uses very very little of their potentials. Even worst, doctors and nurses finds it very time consuming to restudy their field of experties to get the required local certifications.

Some of my friends are immigrants (from places in Australia, New Zealand, China, and South Africa), how can I be helpful to them to help them find a job?

Li-fan Chen
Monday, March 15, 2004

Hi,

I don't want to be rude, but if your friends don't know the language in the country they want to find a job, they won't have much chance to succeed. If I were an employee, I wouldn't hire them.

If you want to help them, teach them the language ( English I'd presume in Vancouver and Toronto )

When I went to Japan, I didn't expect much to find a job due to the fact that I speak very little of Japanese. The only thing I find is guess what, teaching French for free in a University class.

Your friends are lucky they haven't landed in Montreal. They would have to learn English and French.

Anonymouche
Monday, March 15, 2004

For some of my friends yes the language barrier is the primary show stopper (and I have been urging them to take night schools--to help them improve their business english or the english of their profession). Another big problem is rebuilding their networks, any advice on this issue?

Li-fan Chen
Monday, March 15, 2004

Speaking as an immigrant (from Australia) and someone who has had a number of foreign assignments, the answer is fairly straightforward:

It's tough. Social networks are absolutely crucial when it comes to finding jobs (and for many other reasons). When you arrive in a new country you don't have that social network, so you have to actively work on that. Building social networks takes time and will not magically happen by itself.

That means that these people should actively seek to get involved in their community. The more people you meet and become friends with, the better. Sometimes it's hard work, but you have to keep reminding yourself that it's very important to enage with the community that you're now part of.

Obviously, this isn't going to help in the short-term for someone who has just arrived and has no job. In that case, all they can do is keep trying - and if things don't work out, just get any job they can at first -- and keep working on getting a better job. Immigration is hard -- they knew that before they immigrated, and therefore should be prepared to go through some difficult times; that's just part of the process. If anyone is expecting everything to be handed to them on a plate the moment they step off the plane, they're in for a rude shock.

If they don't have work experience in a Western country, they will have a hard time having your work experience accepted by employers. They need to plan accordingly. I've never been in that sitution -- but I realise it could be very difficult to get hired, especially in the current job market, which is still pretty tight.

None of this advice applies to those who are doctors. Foreign doctors in all but a very, very tiny handful of specialities are effectively banned from working in Canada. Canada's medical profession has worked hard to exclude foreign doctors -- with a truly remarkable level of success, despite a big shortage of doctors in Canada. My advice to foreign medical professionals: go to the US.

Burninator
Monday, March 15, 2004

PS: I very, very strongly agree with Anonymouche. If they don't know English (or French, in Quebec), they have no business expecting to get hired in Canada.

They also probably have no business immigrating to Canada. One of the *requirements* for immigrating to Candada as an independent immigrant is that you must be fluent in either English or French.

Are you telling us that they lied?

No wonder nobody wants to hire them.

Burninator
Monday, March 15, 2004

"Foreign doctors in all but a very, very tiny handful of specialities are effectively banned from working in Canada. Canada's medical profession has worked hard to exclude foreign doctors -- with a truly remarkable level of success, despite a big shortage of doctors in Canada."

Banned? Don't you think that word is a tad excessive?

The reality is that most foreign doctors have a huge leg-up on getting their Canadian medical certification (they aren't starting at step 1), and with a bit of an investment and time they can cross-grade their training to comply with Canadian requirements. For a career that has guaranteed job security, great pay, and tremendous societal respect, is this really such a burden? Of course it isn't, but it isn't surprizing that the special interest has made this out to be some travesty. I find it amazing that people can come here without verifying how their credentials translate, and then bleed their hearts out to the Toronto Star about how much of an injustice it is.

Regarding the doctor shortage claim (versus the "government imposed regional maximum" reality), if there's really a shortage then obviously that needs to be addressed in the university system -- or are Canadian kids not willing to get their hands dirty in a low end job like medicine?

Dennis Forbes
Monday, March 15, 2004

So far as doctors in the US, I know one from Vietnam and two from Romania, M.D.s (or the equivalent) at home, who all had to do all their schooling over again when they came here in order to practice.  Apparently it's due to liability issues; if Dr. X made a mistake, and it came out that he'd been trained over there, not over here...

At least it was probably pretty easy the second time around.

(Interestingly, my boss, the one from Vietnam, writes for medical journals and speaks at medical conferences but still has an absolutely horrendous accent when he speaks.  I can understand that he might not have learned correct pronunciation at home, but apparently he hasn't put forth any effort on it since then.  I'd be embarrassed to speak Romanian the way he speaks English.)

Kyralessa
Monday, March 15, 2004

Dennis - trust me, "banned" is fairly good description for it.  I'm familiar with the process that foreign doctors must go through to become licensed to practice in Canada because a close friend of mine is a doctor and I helped her research the topic in some depth.

Having very strict requirements and very high standards for medical licensing is an excellent thing. That should never change, and I -- nor anyone else (special interest groups included) -- was suggesting that such higher barriers to entry be removed.

In theory it is possible for a foreign doctor to become licensed to practice in Canada. In reality, the system has been carefully rigged. The catch is not the exams.

The reason is that in order to become a licensed doctor in Canada, the medical licensing board has deemed that you almost always have to do a postgrad degree at a Canadian university (irregardless of your current medical training). Sounds fine so far, right? Well yes... except that only about 8 places in such courses are avaiable to foreign doctors -- 8 places. In the entire nation.

The USMLE by contrast, is still very tough -- but it also provides a genuine opportunity for the best and brightest. There's no hidden catch.

Anyway... back to the original thread...

Burninator
Monday, March 15, 2004

Li-fan Chen, the other side of the immigration thing is that those guys are taking other peoples' jobs. I'm in Australia and it has occurred to a massive extent here.

And secondly, and I'm talking specifically about computer professionals here, I've run into some immigrants that speak English appallingly.

As in, it's so bad I avoid dealing with them because I don't have two hours explaining something that should take 10 seconds.

The issue is that these people are meant to have English competency, yet clearly don't.

Scam detector
Monday, March 15, 2004

I just want to thank you guys for pointing out some important issues. I will take all these information and insights into consideration and see if I can use it to help the people I know ... well.. bring home some bacon.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, March 15, 2004

I find it highly ironic that people who's ancestors were immigrants who effectively stole their livelihoods from indigenous peoples complain so much about modern day immigrants.

Is English the native language of America? Is French the native language of Quebec? Is English the native language of Australia?

What thought did your ancestors give to the indigenous people's livelihood?

Apart from a couple of hundred years the only difference between your ancestors and today's immigrants is that today you are stronger than the immigrants whereas it used to be the other way around.

Kura-Kura
Monday, March 15, 2004

Just one small economic fact.  No one can take someone else's job, especially if they didn't have it in the first place.

The world works because of movement; goods, money and people.  Stopping any of them, stops the world working. 

That's not to say that sometimes it wouldn't be better for skilled people not to emigrate but given most of the countries they want to emigrate to exist in the way they do solely because of immigration its a little hard to expect them not to want to do it as well.

I would think most people would dislike the alternatives of entirely controlled allocation of jobs.

Simon Lucy
Monday, March 15, 2004

Kura-Kura:

The thing is this: *I* didn't steal from the original natives, hundreds of years ago. It's been 'only a couple hundred years', but the thing is: no one alive today was involved, on either side then. If I was one of the natives then, and my government was capable of protecting me from destructive outsider's, I may well appreciate that protection.

Then they couldn't, and I won't try to excuse the crimes against them. But just because it couldn't be done then doesn't mean it shouldn't be done now. It also doesn't necessarily mean the converse.

The past does not excuse the present, and niether does the past condemn it.

anon to protect the guilty
Monday, March 15, 2004

Simon Lucy, you're right.

Let's get rid of our Army and border controls right away.


Monday, March 15, 2004

Great comments, Burinator

VP
Monday, March 15, 2004

"I find it highly ironic that people who's ancestors were immigrants who effectively stole their livelihoods from indigenous peoples complain so much about modern day immigrants."

My God the "aboriginal" argument is tired, and this bit of rhetoric comes up whenever someone wants to attempt to morally "beat" the West down (usually under the "why I deserve what you have" line of propaganda). Tell me -- what society can rightfully claim that, without a doubt, they were the first people's to stand on their land and thus can righteously complain about Westerners? Can you prove it? There is virtually no society that didn't wrong a society before it (because that's the way the world worked) or raise itself on the backs another, but it doesn't stop the blood aboriginal argument from regurgitating ad nauseum.

Having said that, the foundation of this argument is the classic bullshit argument that Westerners walked into a land of milk and honey, and all of the riches are just falling out of the sky, while poor immigrants are just trying to come and get their share of these free riches. This self-serving bit of bullshit is to pretend that the true value of the West is the society that's been built up that others now want a piece of.

.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I've always thought the problem with the aboriginal argument was it's too people centric.

I remember my Australian history teacher asked who discovered Australia first. Of course someone said Captain Cook, and she asked "What about the Aboriginals?". I asked "What about the kangaroos????", and she didn't have any answer to that. ;)

The land belongs to the single celled organisms, always has, and most likely always will. They're the dominant life forms. Our squabling over how many thousand people to let in seems rather insignificant when you consider that there are more single celled organisms than that in a typical patch of dirt the size of this full stop.

Sum Dum Gai
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

"Li-fan Chen, the other side of the immigration thing is that those guys are taking other peoples' jobs. I'm in Australia and it has occurred to a massive extent here."

Don't you think those people who YOU believe lost these massive opportunities were not competent and skilled in a first place? Think long and hard.

Cosmo Kramer
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

If you can find enough people to put away their fears then border controls will disappear.  Europe is trembling on the edge of a larger contiguous set of independant nations with no border controls.  Even so the trembling has caused the original EC nations to raise the barriers of entry to its new citizens because of the belief that there'll be mass migration westward.

No doubt there will be a migration in the beginning, especially amongst those discriminated against such as the Roma.  But that's been true for the past 5,000 years or so.

As for disbanding armies, I can't see the immediate relevance of that to whether jobs and people are moving.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The problem with Canada is that there is a very aggressive campaign world-wide by Canadian immigration lawyers.

They never bother to explain the pitfalls because they only get their fees if somebody comes over.

The government certainly should be doing something to inform would-be immigrants of the lack of employment opportunities. There are more than a few highly qualified people who emigrated to Canada from the Gulf or elsewhere and saw all their savings disappear as they found themselves unemployed for the first time in their lives.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

We got rid of our border controls 230 yrs ago. Now there is free trade and immigration allowed between all 50 independent soverign and united states.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

> The government certainly should be doing something to
> inform would-be immigrants of the lack of employment
> opportunities

Why? Exactly?

I certainly agree that the government can and should stomp on the immigration "lawers", who are largely a con to extract money from people who don't know any better.

But it is the responsibility of the immigrants to inform themselves of the situation before they decide to immigrate. If they can't even be bothered to do that, then I suggest they should re-think the whole idea of immigration. Successful immigrants have initiative, drive and actively seek opportunities.

If you're not that kind of person, don't immigrate anywhere.

Burninator
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Cosmo Kramer, I'm sorry but there are large numbers of very good IT people in Australia looking for jobs. It is certainly not the case that they're "not competent and skilled in the first place."

If it comes to that, I seriously question the capability of many of the IT immigrants. But at least they're happy to accept low salaries.

Scam detector
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Burninator,
                  These are not people who should not emigrate anywhere. In most cases they have already emigrated once already and now wish to use ther savings to leverage themselves into a democratic society.

                    Where do you suggest they inform themselves if not through the Canadian government, which could at least let foreign  doctors know that there are only eight places in Canadian universities to do the post-grad course necessary to convalidate their qualifications, as it appears from Li-Chan's post. Or should we expect doctors to read the posts on Joel on Software.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

[> The government certainly should be doing something to inform would-be immigrants of the lack of employment opportunities

Why? Exactly?]

Because if they are properly warned, some may decide to emigrate elsewhere or stay put in their own country.  Either that or they'll be better prepared when they do arrive.

It doesn't do the immigrants or the country they land in any good if they aren't properly prepared to be productive soon after they arrive.

T. Norman
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Stephen: doctors are a special case -- you're right that there should be transparency, and the current system for doctors is very dishonest. Up until quite recently, doctors were ordinarily denied visas to Canada because CIC was aware that it is almost impossible for a foreign doctor to practice in Canada. I'm not sure how the recent immigration law changed affected this - they may still be denied entry - I'm not sure though. Note: yes, there are various loopholes, etc -- I am talking about the general case here.

In the case of more general professions,  there is quite a variety of information available -- much of it provided by the government itself, and it is provided when you apply to immigrate. The is a lot of information available for those willing to make an effort, so the level of unemployment should definitely not come as a surprise.

Burninator
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

soon English wont be the most spoken language in the US... so if you wait a while.. they wont even have to learn it English.

pedestrian walking by
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

> Are you telling us that they lied?

Most definitely no. Ordinarily if professional immigration were all that's allowed by Canada this would be probably be the case--you must speak impeccable english or else...

Not all immigrations come under professional immigrations. A friend of my for example is a high nurse (equivalent to Registered Nurse in Canada) from a non-english speaking first world country working in a major research hospital, intensive wards. She immigrated to Canada under family immigration instead of professional or entrepreneural immigration to be with her husband. I do have to say that her english, written or spokan, are very good. Now she's a waitress at a diner. It's heart-breaking considering how much experience and expertise she has. I do know people who have made the transition a lot smoother, but I'd like to help my friends when possible.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

"Now she's a waitress at a diner. It's heart-breaking considering how much experience and expertise she has."

Life is unfair, and obviously the benefits of being with her husband outweigh the detriments of not being able to practice in her field without additional training (and if she wasn't responsible enough to be prepared for this, she should pack up and leave). Sorry if I fail to cry any tears in her honor, but I'm personally sick and tired of sobbing "I'm educated in blah blah blah, and just because I'm an immigrant I can't find a job!". There are thousands, neigh HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, of "native Canadians" who are working in fields totally unrelated to what they were trained in. That's life in a capitalist economy.

.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

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