New programs rolling out for Canadian immigrants to improve employment rates

April 22, 2015

By Shannon Lough, Globe News |

The streets in Vancouver were cold and windy when newly arrived immigrant Nick Noorani was questioning his decision to come to Canada.

That was in November 1998, when Noorani came from Dubai with 23 years work experience in advertising and marketing with brands like Coca Cola and BMW. He came to find a new life near his brother who had moved to Vancouver two years before him.

But Noorani didn’t expect it would be so hard to find a job.

He eventually found work, just not in his field. He got a job as a telemarketer making $8 an hour. He worked from 3 p.m. until midnight, and spent his mornings job hunting. Noorani is a self-described Type-A personality who said it took about four months to find a more suitable position for his skills at a publishing company.

But he says he knows that not everyone is like him. Since then, it’s become his mission to help other newcomers avoid the employment barriers he faced.

Noorani started the Canadian Immigrant magazine in the basement of his home in 2004, co-wrote a book with his wife Sabrina for immigrants called Arrival Survival Canada, contributed to the government’s official Welcome to Canada guide for new Canadians, and in the past five years he has run a company that focuses on pre-arrival assistance helping immigrants find a job in their field within six months.

It may come as a surprise to some, but pre-arrival training is a relatively new program for immigrants coming to Canada. The government started a pilot project pre-arrival service called the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) in 2007, and by 2010 it decided to turn it into a full-fledged program.

Partnering with other immigration services across Canada, like Noorani’s Prepare For Canada, CIIP connects with future immigrants online while they wait in their country of origin before departure.

Rather than spend that time wondering about life in Canada, they begin the process of learning about where the jobs are, how to get their credentials recognized (one of the biggest barriers for people coming from regulated professions, such as doctors and engineers), and basic cultural orientation.

Read more