Vancouver non-profit organization trying to help Canada’s newest members

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Although Hasib Wali used to teach IT courses in Pakistan, he’s stuck working at a fast food restaurant and in construction just to make ends meet and help pay for his family in Burnaby. Les Bazso/PNG

Hasib Wali loves computers and information technology — yet his passion, armed with an IT degree, has only landed him a job at a fast food chain.

“My field is IT — I love computers, I love networking,” the 25-year-old Burnaby resident happily told Vancouver Desi.

After earning his degree in Pakistan, he taught IT courses for a year and a half. But six months ago, Wali and his family fled the unsafe conditions and came to Canada as refugees.

Instead of working in the field he loves, Wali is working three days a week at a drive-thru and three days on a construction site.

“I want to search a job in my own field, I want to work and be a professional IT person,” he said. “I’m searching the Internet, sending lots of resumes to different companies, nobody even replies to me.”

“Because of some expenses — my home, my bills — I have to work.”

Unfortunately, Wali is just one of “thousands of immigrants per year” Vancouver’s non-profit immigrant serving organization MOSAIC is trying to help, according to spokesman Christian Saint Cyr. The organization’s latest effort is a job fair on Thursday with nearly 30 local employers at Commercial Drive’s Croatian Cultural Centre.

“Immigrants really benefit when they’re able to meet employers face-to-face,” said Saint Cyr. “(Otherwise) you have a resume, someone with an unusual name … and went to a school you don’t recognize — it’s easy for an employer to sort of pass that by.”

And then there’s the language barriers.

“A person could be … far better experienced and educated than what they would have gotten in Canada, but if they’re struggling to articulate that in an interview or a resume or cover letter then they’re dismissed,” he said.

Wali has sent out more than 100 resumes hoping for something in his field.

“Nobody accepted me because of my language; they say that they need professional English and my English is only basic,” he said.

So he enrolled in an ESL program and is back on the hunt.

It’s even difficult for highly skilled medical professionals, like Anmol Bhangala, who worked as a general physician in Punjab for eight years.

“I’ve been through a bit of a struggle,” he said.

Bhangala moved to Richmond more than a year ago and soon realized he would have to “start from scratch” to get back to the profession he misses so much.

He needs to take a series of tests and then get into a residency program, which could take up to six years.

So he’s had to find a “survival job” working security for the time being.

“It’s very painful when you come here and start fresh again and going through the process and in the meantime working at a very low paying job,” he said. “It was not easy to find this job even.”

“It was very difficult (at first) and I wasn’t sure whether I would stay here or not.”

But for Wali, moving back isn’t an option.

“Canada is much, much, much better than Pakistan,” he said happily. “I cannot go back there, I want to stay here, I want to be successful.”

He just needs an employer to trust his Pakistani work experience.

“If they don’t give me a chance working here how can I get the Canadian experience?” he asked. “I used to teach MS Word , windows installation and these things … they should give me a chance, they should see my work and after that they can decide.”

MOSAIC’s job fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3250 Commercial Dr. The organization held a similar job fair in July where the majority of job seekers were immigrants and, according to Saint Cyr, it was “really successful.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

Tags: , , , , , , ,





Featured

BCCI chief Narayanaswami Srinivasan

India’s top court refuses Narainswami Srinivasan’s return as cricket body chief

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court refused to reinstate the suspended Narainswami Srinivasan on Wednesday after he requested to return as president…
Continue Reading »

Train derailment

Indian passenger train derailment leaves dozens of people with mostly minor injuries (w/gallery)

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GAUHATI, India — A passenger train derailed in northeastern India early Wednesday, and dozens of passengers suffered mostly minor injuries. The engine…
Continue Reading »

Selfies - inked finger-Twitter

Indian city bans selfies inside polling booths (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI The next selfie you snap could land you in jail – for Indian voters at least. According to Indian news publication the Bangalore…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Police tape off a residence at 3319 Kingsway in Vancouver, BC, April 14, 2014 after police shot a man who stabbed a woman and child. Arlen Redekop / PNG

Shot murder suspect under guard in hospital

IAN AUSTIN VANCOUVER DESI VANCOUVER - A 33-year-old Vancouver man has been charged with the murder of his mother and the attempted murder of his niece….
Continue Reading »

Stephen Harper-Canada-Prime Minister

Sri Lanka accuses Canada of using Commonwealth funding as political tool

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka accused Canada on Tuesday of using its funding of the Commonwealth for political purposes. The accusation…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood dancing

Gallery: Blossom Bollywood at Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival

VANCOUVER DESI Shiamak Davar’s Vancouver dance team took part in the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday. Dancers performed…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Muslim Surveillance Program

New York police ends Muslim surveillance program that sparked outrage

TOM HAYS And JAKE PEARSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to…
Continue Reading »

India-crime

Eatery owner stabbed to death over less than $1

IANS New Delhi – A 35-year-old eatery owner was Tuesday stabbed to death while his younger brother was injured in an attack by seven people…
Continue Reading »

Taylor Swift

Gallery: London set to host Victoria’s Secret’s show

IANS London – American lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret will host its next show here. The brand usually host shows in New York city, but this…
Continue Reading »

Human sperm

Sperm may deliver stress too

IANS London – Your dad did not just pass his qualities via genes in you. He may have actually passed some stress too! A research…
Continue Reading »

trudeau

Gallery: Justin Trudeau celebrates with thousands at Vancouver Vaisakhi

VANCOUVER DESI Justin Trudeau, Christy Clark and thousands of others were out in the Saturday sunshine to celebrate Vancouver’s 25th annual Vaisakhi parade. The event,…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Shah Rukh Khan would love to dance on ‘Gangnam Style’ with Psy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan wants to dance with Korean rap sensation Psy on his global hit Gangnam Style, according to the Press…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Hrithik Roshan seeks health tips for ‘shin splints’ from Twitter fans

IANS Mumbai – Actor Hrithik Roshan, who underwent brain surgery last year, is again suffering from “shin splints”. The 40-year-old complained of pain in the…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Rajeev Khandelwal: Being in industry an endless marathon

IANS Mumbai – Actor Rajeev Khandelwal says that being in the film industry is like an endless marathon and the one who survives till the…
Continue Reading »