IMPACT Institute of Canada

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Just Imagine

Marc Neal

Just imagine for a moment that you move to a new city. You get there and much to your surprise the qualifications, education and experience you have counts for nothing. You are told repeatedly that you lack local experience. You find out that your driving record is not recognized so you have to pay $5000–6000 for insurance, even though you have had a long and safe driving record. When you try to buy a house or a car on credit or even try to get a credit card but you are declined because you don’t have a credit history in that place, regardless of the amount of cash you have in the Bank. You are expected to put up deposits for your utilities because of the lack of sufficient credit rating. You have the feeling that all the promise this new place held for you was a sham, created so that the locals could take advantage of newcomers, use them for the jobs they would rather not do or to take advantage of your situation because they know they can, and that you will not fight back.

This is not a hypothetical situation, this is what I faced when I came back to Canada after serving this country abroad working for diplomatic organizations as a Canadian. Even though a majority of my career and all my education and credentials were Canadian, I was told by recruiters that I should not expect a position that would be in line with my qualifications because I lacked “Canadian Experience”. I felt as though that being Canadian meant nothing and my experience was diminished to zero. The difference between me and an immigrant is that I was not scared to face these people down and fight against this kind of mistreatment, and eventually I found a few people who would hear me. It took me a year and a half to re-establish a position in this country and there was no social safety net there upon which I could rely.

Imagine if that if this can happen to a Canadian how it must be like for an immigrant. They come here at great expense, they bring their credentials, credit history with them, transcripts from school and most or all if it is rejected. They have to pay higher fees for everything, they have to accept jobs at the lowest end of the pay scale because they lack a mythical thing called “Canadian Experience”. Now add to this that many are blamed for the economic woes of the country, and are immediately potential terrorists.

My experience has given me a great appreciation for the difficulties Immigrants face and based on my own personal experience feel it is my duty to go after anyone who mistreats, takes advantage of or targets immigrants with false stories.

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