Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Choices and Voices of Immigrant Men: Reflections on Social Integration

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Choices and Voices of Immigrant Men: Reflections on Social Integration

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT/RESUME

The process of immigration entails many changes in the lives of immigrants as they establish themselves in a new country. This paper investigates obstacles and supports in the lives of immigrant men during this process of integration. Information was obtained through participatory action research workshops, group discussions, and a questionnaire survey of a small sampling of unemployed, professional male immigrants. Only a handful of these men are able to secure professional jobs based on their experiences and academic qualifications. More often than not, a variety of barriers including lack of professional guidance and challenges, renders them unable to find employment similar to that held in their country of origin. On the basis of information sampled from a group of ethnically diverse immigrant men, recommendations are outlined to reduce the barriers preventing them from contributing their knowledge, strengths, and skills to the Canadian workforce, thus reducing the negative impacts of unemployment and underemployment.

Le processus de l'immigration necessite beaucoup de changements dans les vies des immigres tandis qu'ils s'etablissent dans un nouveau pays. Cet article etudie des obstacles et des appuis dans les vies des hommes immigres pendant leur integration au Canada. L'information a ete obtenue par des ateliers de recherches d'action participatoire, des discussions de groupe, et une enquete de questionnaire d'un petit groupe d'hommes professionnels immigres sans emploi. Seulement quelques uns de ces hommes peuvent acquerir des travaux professionnels lies a leurs experiences et a leurs qualifications universitaires. Ils ne peuvent pas souvent trouver un emploi semblable a cela qu'ils ont tenu dans leur pays d'origine du a une variete de barrirres comprenant le manque de conseils et de defis professionnels. Base sur l'information recueillie d'un groupe d'hommes immigres ethniquement divers, des recommandations sont decrites pour reduire les barrieres les empechant de contribuer leur connaissance et leurs qualifications a la main d'oeuvre canadienne, et de reduire ainsi les impacts negatifs du chomage et du sous-emploi.

INTRODUCTION

Canada is a nation built on immigration, with more than 200,000 immigrants and refugees arriving each year (Newbold and Danforth 2003). Newcomers bring with them resources, opportunities, and skills. They arrive with great hopes and expectations about building better futures for themselves and their families and contributing meaningfully to Canadian society and its economy. Immigrants bring a wealth of cultural diversity to Canada. The City of Calgary Immigration Fact Sheet 2003 shows that this city is the fourth most popular destination for new immigrants to Canada. An average of 6,900 immigrants arrived in Calgary in each of the past twenty years, resulting in almost 21 percent of its current population being comprised of immigrants.

Much of the literature in migration and development studies is preoccupied with the micro- and macro-economic causes of migration. A number of authors have written extensively on the intercultural aspects of contact, communication, training, and gender issues (Hondagneu-Sotelo and Cranford 1999). Reasons for migration are complex and varied, and many are non-economic (Crewa and Kotheri 1999). The immigrant population is diverse, showing greater disparity with respect to education and income than does the Canadian-born population (Kobayashi, Moore, and Rosenberg 1998). A study on the health status of Canadian immigrants shows that immigrants with lower levels of education and income and higher unemployment levels are more likely to be in poor health than their non-immigrant counterparts (Newbold and Danforth 2003). Finally, a study on access to housing for immigrant groups concluded that black African immigrants faced discrimination in the housing and employment markets (Danso and Grant 2000). This research explores the challenges experienced by immigrant men as they settle in Canada. …

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