It is commonly observed that immigrants who possess a high level of skill/aptitude are subjected to the perception that they lack the skills/aptitudes necessary to perform many of the same jobs that they would have performed in their country of origin had they not entered Canada.
In the eyes of many, this perception is largely based on three factors: immigrants’ lack of working experience in Canada, their language problems, and the difficulties associated with the recognition of foreign educational qualifications and/or work experience in Canada.
Nita Chhinzer, a human resources management expert at the University of Guelph, specifically stated that there are “biases” among some employers in the country. According to Chhinzer, these biases result in employers discrediting foreign education and work experience, as well as making assumptions about a person’s ability to speak the language. There is no doubt that this fact has had a noticeable negative impact on the lives of some immigrants in this country.
The Consequences of this Perceived Skills Mismatch for Canadian Immigrants
Currently, there is a perception that newcomers to Canada are being overlooked for job opportunities as a result of the immigrant skills mismatch, rather than being given adequate training so that these issues can be mitigated, which has led to newcomers to Canada evidently being passed over for job opportunities.
Tiff Macklem, Governor of the Bank of Canada, stated the same thing in his speech on November 10th at the Public Policy Forum of Toronto. In acknowledging the need for increased immigration in order to support Canada’s workforce, Macklem said the following about immigrants during his speech on the 10th of November.
“Governments need to make sure newcomers have a smooth path into the workforce, with credential recognition and settlement support like language and skills training.”
Macklem also argued against the idea that immigrants and Canadian jobs are severely mismatched.
Several newcomers to this country have also expressed their frustration at the lack of prospects for a prosperous future that they see in their homeland due to the belief that they are not qualified for skilled workers because of a “skills mismatch”.
Solving Immigration Problems
Immigrants in this country are perceived as being disadvantaged in employment opportunities in Canada due to a skills mismatch.
In order for employers in this country to recognize the value an immigrant brings with them through their international employment history, a review of current immigration and employment policies could help Canada better align foreign work experience with Canadian work experience. The same is true for aligning educational credentials with degrees, diplomas, and certificates awarded in Canada.
As suggested by BoC Governor Tiff Macklem, government policy should be reviewed and altered to improve language and skills training for immigrants.
Canadian employers would be less likely to have biases that immigrants are not suitable for/employable at their organizations, hopefully improving employment prospects for all immigrants.