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

Published: April 17, 2013

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

Jian Ghomeshi

‘Big Ears Teddy’ Twitter account posted Jian Ghomeshi abuse allegations six months ago

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM In less than a week, Jian Ghomeshi has gone from one of the most well-known and beloved CBC personalities to an…
Continue Reading »

Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Surrey police looking for witnesses to pedestrian struck by vehicle

TOM ZYTARUK VANCOUVER DESI SURREY – An elderly Surrey pedestrian struck down while walking in a marked crosswalk in Newton on Oct. 11 has died….
Continue Reading »

ATM-snakes

Bank customer flees after snake found sleeping by ATM machine

CEN AGENCY A bank customer in India fled when he went to use a cashpoint machine and found a four-foot cobra coiled up in front…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

TransCanada files application to NEB for Energy East crude pipeline

By Lauren Krugel THE CANADIAN PRESS CALGARY — After dozens of open houses and thousands of conversations across six provinces, TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) has filed…
Continue Reading »

Jian Ghomeshi

‘Big Ears Teddy’ Twitter account posted Jian Ghomeshi abuse allegations six months ago

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM In less than a week, Jian Ghomeshi has gone from one of the most well-known and beloved CBC personalities to an…
Continue Reading »

Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Surrey police looking for witnesses to pedestrian struck by vehicle

TOM ZYTARUK VANCOUVER DESI SURREY – An elderly Surrey pedestrian struck down while walking in a marked crosswalk in Newton on Oct. 11 has died….
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Weird news

Video: Vicar wants to ban outrageous farting, rapping baby baptism ad

CEN AGENCY An advert showing a farting baby rapping about being baptized has come under fire from the Church. The 29 second clip which was…
Continue Reading »

Smart 21 communities

Surrey named among World’s Smart21 Communities of 2015

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY, B.C. – The Intelligent Community Forum has named the City of Surrey as one of the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2015. As one…
Continue Reading »

elephant crushes woman to death

Elephant crushes woman to death at India’s nature reserve

CEN AGENCY A school teacher was crushed to death by an elephant when it knocked her over with its trunk and then stood on her….
Continue Reading »

Crime-Vancouver-BC

Surrey Six murders: Allegations of weekend sex party, ‘sordid’ affair between investigator and potential witness rock case

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Six case heard details Tuesday of allegations of sexual improprieties involving a second senior RCMP officer. When charges were…
Continue Reading »

CBC-sexual behaviour-lawsuit

Jian Ghomeshi’s CBC lawsuit is hopeless — even if he’s telling the truth

HOWARD LEVITT FINANCIAL POST Jian Ghomeshi’s $50-million lawsuit against the CBC has everything to do with strategy and PR — but nothing to do with…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Ismaili musicians - Aga Khan foundation

Salim-Sulaiman show underlines Vancouver’s rising Bollywood cachet

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI With big-time Bollywood composers Salim-Sulaiman set to kick off their North American tour at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday, it…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan

Burdwan blast: Shah Rukh Khan prays for better times for Bengal

IANS Kolkata – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, West Bengal’s brand ambassador, Wednesday expressed his unwillingness to talk about the terror blast in Burdwan, but…
Continue Reading »

Ayesha Takia Azmi vegan

Chic Bollywood actress Ayesha Takia poses with a chick for PETA (w/gallery)

IANS New Delhi – Ahead of World Vegan Day on Nov 1, actress Ayesha Takia has posed with a fluffy chick for a new ad…
Continue Reading »