When Kevin moved to Montreal from Tehran in August 2014 after five years of immigration paperwork, he thought his life was about to get easier.
He’d worked for 10 years as an electrical engineer in Iran and graduated from the country’s top technical university. He’d been accepted to Quebec because he is a skilled worker.
“I thought that when I was accepted as a skilled immigrant, I’d be able to work,” he said.
He was wrong. Shortly after arriving, he learned that he couldn’t work in Quebec as an engineer until he became a member of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. But to become a part of the OIQ, he needs to pass two exams, and each exam is only offered a few times per year.
Without an OIQ membership, experience in Canada or connections, he can’t find work. He’s applied for over 200 jobs, but hasn’t been hired yet.
Money is incredibly tight. Kevin lives in Côte-des-Neiges with his daughter and his wife, both of whom immigrated with him. His wife is also a student, taking insurance classes at Vanier College. They’re living off her bursaries, and piling up debt. “When we arrived here, we weren’t like other immigrants who have family here. We were completely alone,” he said.
Kevin and his family are among the thousands who will receive a $125 cheque from the Gazette Christmas Fund this year. The money helps to make the holiday season more cheerful for individuals and families in need.
He’s going to use part of the money to buy a small gift for his daughter, who turns 3 on Jan. 1, and use the rest for essentials.
In the meantime he isn’t giving up. He’s passed his first OIQ exam, and will write the second one in the spring. He’s taken French classes, and courses in industrial automation. He’s hoping things will get better for his family.
How to help
Donate online: www.christmasfund.com. Phone us: 514-987-2400, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mail or drop off donations to The Gazette Christmas Fund, 1010 Ste-Catherine St. W., Suite 200, Montreal, Quebec H3B 5L1.