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Immigrant stories: Immigrants and their frustrations

“If you do not think that this is right, then you always have the option of going back from where you came.”

 | Feb 29, 2012, 11.02 AM IST

After spending the last thirty months in Canada as an immigrant, I can add with fair conviction that the policy makers of the Canadian immigration department leave no stone unturned to make new immigrants start afresh from zero when they arrive here.Disagree? Let us examine the immigration process from the eyes of an applicant.When a person applies for Canadian immigration in the skilled category, he is appraised based on a points system, which gives higher importance to his educational and language skills and his experience in using those skills in his profession of choice.

This person, a high performer in his country of origin, the ‘chosen one’ by the Canadian immigration, then stands in a line of aspirants who are given a go ahead to arrive here, as and when the opportunities are deemed to have arisen to take in more immigrants. He then lands in Canada, feeling assured of continuing his life from where he left in the country of his origin. 

Alas, within days of arrival, lightning strikes! First comes the realisation that his educational qualifications, earned from some of the top rated universities of the world, have no acceptance here. He needs to have either Canadian education or get his qualifications assessed (for non- regulated professions and that too through a lengthy process) or go through a series of courses and tests (for regulated professions). He has, therefore, to spend the first year or in most cases, years, to acquire the right ‘certification’ at huge costs while earning nothing if he aspires to integrate into the system. Then, if he goes ahead and acquires this certification, he is told that he cannot be still considered for the positions based on his experience and expertise, since he does not possess the right ‘Canadian work experience’. 
Finally, tired, deflated and fast aging, this person realises that after wasting many years in the whole process, he still can only start as a beginner. This is without forgetting the other hardships he faces at all stages due to having no credit history, no credit cards, no income base or support system, no houses (and not many people willing to rent them houses)…. an endless list which could even test the saints. The net result: Majority of new immigrants arriving in Canada let their dreams die first and pick up any survival jobs that they can lay their hands on to make ends meet. Stories of doctors, engineers, chartered accountants, working as janitors, gas station attendants, truck and taxi drivers are endless.

A popular belief is that these immigrants are added strains to the local economy. The advice of a bored, unconcerned officer working in an immigration settlement agency still rings in my ears: “If you do not think that this is right, then you always have the option of going back from where you came.” 

Yes, she is right. Some do go back. Others accept whatever comes their way and adjust with their surroundings, telling themselves and the people who they come across that they are living for the happiness of their children, though never being satisfied or at peace with what they do.

But, there lie a few brave hearts who go out and reach the skies, writing new stories of success, creating wealth and leading happy and joyous lives.

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