‘I didn’t come here to live this kind of life’: Skilled immigrants on desperate hunt for jobs in Quebec

September 27, 2018

By CBC News |

Instead of sparring over how many immigrants Quebec should accept, Abdul Waheed wishes provincial politicians were talking about how to help skilled workers like him get jobs in their field so they could integrate into Quebec society.

Trained as a chemist and armed with two master’s degrees, Waheed abandoned the chance to pursue his PhD studies in Hong Kong to immigrate to Quebec with his wife and three children five years ago.

Originally from Pakistan, Waheed was confident he’d eventually find a job in his field in Quebec — possibly in the pharmaceutical, food or petrochemical industries.

The only job he has found is at a call centre.

He’s scoured countless employment sites and sent out hundreds of CVs, taking almost every job-finding program offered by Emploi Québec and studying French. Nothing has led to a better job.

He says his 11-year-old daughter asks him what’s the point of all his education.

“I feel like a big failure,” said Waheed. “I didn’t come here to live this kind of life.”

Duelling immigration visions

Quebec has an estimated 90,000 unfilled jobs, and municipal leaders, business and employers groups have called on the province to accept more immigrants to fill them.

But immigration has become a political hot potato in this provincial campaign, with Coalition Avenir Québec making cuts to immigration a key plank in its platform.

Both the Liberals and Québec Solidaire say they’d maintain the current quota of immigrants — about 53,000 a year.

The Parti Québécois says it would let the auditor general set the number.

The CAQ wants to slash the number of immigrants by 20 per cent, until Quebec assesses the effectiveness of its programs at retaining and integrating newcomers.

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