Immigration Essay: Immigrants in Canada
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Immigrants in Canada
As the world turns out to be in an era where wars, natural disasters, deadly pandemics surround people, immigrants have to worry about one more issue, inequality in working life. The high rate of underemployment and unemployment or earning less money against the people who have the same level of skills is a big issue of immigrants living in Canada. Moreover, there are also not spoken issues related to inequality in workplaces. Language barriers, neglect of accomplishments that take place outside of Canada, and different approaches against non-white looking people make immigrants uneasy about adopting and ineffective in workplaces. As long as soft skills and how much does a person fits into Canadian culture is taken into account more than the occupation skills that a person has in job applications or performance measures at the workplace, immigrants would continue to be treated unfairly, and their efficiency in the workplace would fall accordingly.
The biggest concern for immigrants all around the world is not to be treated as their abilities but with the prejudices that come to mind about immigrants. As programs like Canadian Experience takes place, we see the importance of being able to adapt Canadian culture as much as having the necessary hard skills such as field knowledge. Whether or not the integration of Canadian culture affects the job performance of immigrants is a question, but it certainly postpones the time that an immigrant adapts into jobs in Canada, thus lowering job performances in the short term. "In seeking to obtain employment, skilled immigrants pursue many avenues to try to demonstrate that they possess Canadian experience; that they possess the appropriate soft skills to allow them to fit in.”( Sakamoto, Chin, & Young 2010, 147) As long as the job is successfully done or a person fits into the job requirements, cultural differences shouldn’t be a big of a problem. As our neighbor, the USA consists of many cultural backgrounds, and there is no such program as USA experience that tries to synchronize a person with another cultural background to USA culture.
There are small issues that understanding one another’s culture might be important. Establishing empathy towards coworkers is important in the workplace. To be able to do that, a person needs to understand the culture that the opposite person has. For example, Japanese people tend to be more work-oriented and show their emotions less in the workplace. Usually, it is the opposite of Canada. If you see your coworker not speaking and doing his/her job with the same facial expression and with little communication, you might think that that person might be upset or not in the mood. Making jokes, small talk, and gestures might be more important in a Canadian workplace than a Japanese one. Furthermore, understanding the culture of a country might change a person’s job expectations. As an example, the superior-subordinate relationship might be taken into more seriously in some cultures, and people might expect you to behave differently against your superiors in different cultures. Standing up when a superior show up might not be necessary for some cultures, but it might be considered as a sign of disrespect in the others. However, cultural differences create different experiences and a diverse working environment where everyone can learn from other’s differences thus, instead of trying to create a single culture nationwide, variety of cultures should be appreciated and instead of looking at how a person fits in culturally to a workplace, how that person’s profession skills fits into job description should be considered.
Another concern that affects immigrants before entering the work or in the work-place is the language barriers. Language fluency is positively correlated with being able to show the knowledge that you possess in the workplace. Even though you might have the knowledge to complete a job better than the others, not being able to present it to others verbally, in other words not being able to advertise yourself at the workplace, can affect the payment that you receive or the approach that the superiors that take against you. "Immigrants with better language fluency will have better interactions and outcomes in the receiving country (i.e., personal mastery), which will lead to higher job search self-efficacy"(Simich, Beiser, Stewart, & Mwakarimba 2005, 329). As the better communication amongst worker is one of the major ways to achieve success, the importance of using language fluently comes up.
A person with a better way of understanding the language that his/her job operates in can understand the job's objectives better, do better research, and evaluate the job better with his coworkers. Furthermore, before taking a position in a company, in job interviews, a person with a more fluent way of using language, can express himself/herself better, thus has a higher chance of getting that job or getting a better rate of payment from that company regardless of the hard skills that person has. Due to the reason that language fluency affects the way a person expresses himself/herself, unnecessary anxiety might occur in job interviews. With having anxiety, that person might lose confidence and might not show actual job skills. Moreover, understanding of market conditions also takes an important place in job applications. An average Canadian will more likely to have a better understanding of the job market than a person who just started living in Canada. Therefore, targeting more jobs that fit into his/her capacity would be easier for an average Canadian. Language takes a big part before/after taking place in a job. Therefore it should be used efficiently by immigrants who want to be successful in their jobs.
Regarding the fact that humans are social beings, not being able to socialize with the environment can affect a person’s job efficiency and adaptation to the environment. An immigrant who recently left his country would probably have all of his friends and family back at his home town. Thus, immigrants won’t receive almost any support from his/her social environment, making it hard to motivate themselves throughout their job search or working life. Changing a country is a big step in someone's life, and in this process, people need their loved ones closer than ever. Having most of your family and friends away from you can make this process more stressful, thus lowering your self-esteem and ability to cope with the new work environment. "Social contacts can convince job seekers that they have the ability to conduct a successful job search (i.e., verbal persuasion) or by demonstrating that other immigrants can conduct successful job searches (i.e., vicarious experiences)" (Guerrero & Rothstein 2011, 328). Thus, having social contacts can help a person to have a wider search area in the job market.
Furthermore, the fact that immigrants have less access to public services such as healthcare creates another social problem, which makes them try to rest or cure themselves instead of going to a hospital when they get sick for the reason that they have to pay money to the hospital. Knowing that you can not use public services for free makes them more inefficient, both psychologically and physically. Accordingly, there are many areas that immigrants feel socially disadvantageous against others under the circumstances that they need to cope with. Regarding the fact that everyone needs a social environment, creating it in a new country with completely different cultures would take time, and immigrants might take time to complete this social adaptation to their environment, in the meantime sacrificing their job performances or phycological health.
After all, Canada is a country that has one of the highest average ages of its citizens, with the number of 42. Therefore, Canada hungers for younger generations of the workforce and has a shortage of workforce in its economy. The median age of citizens of Canada is expected to increase due to its low childbirth rates, and Canada will need more and more immigrants each year to contribute to its economy. At the same time, just like any other country, the immigrants in Canada have some problems which harden the process of adaptation, thus making it hard for immigrants to contribute to Canada’s economy. If these social and cultural problems can be solved or can be minimized to a certain level, both Canada and citizens of Canada would get benefit from it due to the reason that immigrants would contribute to Canada’s economy in a more efficient and productive way.
Guerrero, Laura, and Mitchell G. Rothstein. “Antecedents of Underemployment: Job Search of Skilled Immigrants in Canada.” Applied Psychology, vol. 61, no. 2, Aug. 2011, pp. 323–346., doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2011.00470.x.
Sakamoto, Izumi, et al. “‘Canadian Experience,’ Employment Challenges, and Skilled Immigrants A Close Look Through ‘Tacit Knowledge.’” TSpace Research Repository, 2010.
Simich, Laura, et al. “Providing Social Support for Immigrants and Refugees in Canada: Challenges and Directions.” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, vol. 7, no. 4, Oct. 2005, pp. 259–268., doi:10.1007/s10903-005-5123-1.
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