40% of immigrants are in jobs that don’t match expertise: Calgary report

WATCH ABOVE: Calgary is an attractive place for newcomers hoping to make a new life for themselves. Many move from out of country with big dreams that can get put on hold when the job they hope for is put just out of reach. Global’s Carlos Prieto has that story.

CALGARY – Economic instability is having a strong impact on Calgary’s immigrant population. People from around the world come to the city every year through programs like Canada’s Skilled Workers, many are not finding the job opportunities in their field of expertise they thought they would.

It’s a problem for Vipul Patel, who graduated from an industrial chemistry program in India and achieved two postgraduate certificates. Patel worked for five years in Ireland before he moved to Canada in 2013. Despite his expertise, he was unable to secure a job.

“I was in the IT section of Canadian Pacific. We had a restructuring, and because of that, half of the section was asked to stay at home,” Patel said. He is currently working at an electronic store in Calgary.

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In 2014, just over 50 per cent of landed immigrants worked full time in the city. The 2015 Calgary Well-Being Report suggests four out of every 10 immigrants are in jobs that do not match their educational qualifications. It said almost a third have more experience than their job requires.

“Immigrants in Calgary are in a job that is not using their skills, education, and experience fully,” said Jeny Mathews-Thusoo, issues strategist for the city of Calgary. She added that some employers have a bias against immigrants when hiring for senior roles.

“There are many ideas that we have: that they lack communication and leadership skills,” said Mathews-Thusoo. She also said immigrants don’t find jobs related to their fields until they’ve lived in Canada for between five and ten years.

Alberta Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Lisa Sigurdson said immigrants participate more in the labour force in Alberta than in many other provinces across Canada. However, she admitted the province is looking to improve services like the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.

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