Immigrants hoping to find work in their professional field are getting some help from the Manitoba government.

Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun announced on Thursday more money and resources to improve the recognition of foreign qualifications and help connect employees and employers.

Many immigrants to Canada find themselves working as taxicab drivers or in the service industry, even though they have engineering or doctorate degrees from their home countries.

“Navigating the world of qualifications recognition can be complex,” said Judith Hayes, executive director of Manitoba Start, which provides career services to immigrants and connects them with businesses through a job-matching service.

Jobs announcementLabour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun announces money and resources for new Manitobans to find work in their fields. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

“By having better information and clear guidance on navigating the licensing process, newcomers will be in a better position to achieve full certification in their profession as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

In 2015-16, Manitoba will pitch in $3 million for the Manitoba Start Program to fund the following:

  • A career development curriculum and training resources.
  • Profession-specific resource guides to help newcomers navigate the licensing process in regulated professions.
  • Referral and guidance services to newcomers on accessing financial supports such as microloans.
  • Job-matching services to help newcomers work in their occupational area.

“These new resources and supports will help newcomers transition more smoothly into the labour market and help them build a life and successful careers in Manitoba,” said Braun, noting that since 1999 more than 150,000 immigrants have come to the province.

Newcomer ‘still looking where to fit in’

Fatima Idowu, who arrived in Winnipeg from Nigeria in May, says she’s struggling to find work even though she has a master’s degree in business administration and she worked as a bank manager in her home country for several years.

“I’m just on my own, still looking where to fit in. But right now I don’t really mind any job — just to pay my bills,” she said.

Idowu went to Manitoba Start to help get her foot in the door, but she said she’s surprised and frustrated with how challenging it has been to find work so far.