Canada is part of the global economic competition to recruit highly skilled immigrants with professional experience. The country is known for its points system, which selects candidates for immigration based on how many points they accumulate from categories such as proficiency in English and/or French, educational background, and work experience, age, arranged employment, and adaptability (Library of Congress, 2020). This process is considered to bring more human capital than other avenues of immigration such as the family class (i.e. bringing family members of a Canadian resident).

The emphasis on work experience and education, however, is inaccessible to many individuals wanting to move to Canada and is highly gendered considering the opportunities worldwide for men to work and seek education over women. Most significantly, the immigrants who are selected specifically because of the education and work experience that they have, often face obstacles to have this experience and education recognized. Sometimes degrees are not accepted. Other times, hiring managers do not understand the international experience or look at it as inferior.

A scholar from the University of Calgary, Guo (2015) writes about this deskilling and devaluation of credentials, explaining that many people see the skill as colour-blind (i.e. the perception of the skills that someone has are not affected by that person’s race), but in the context of racialized immigrants, colour-blindness is not the case. Racialized immigrants face barriers that white settlers do not when trying to get their skills and credentials recognized. Some people assume the reason for immigrants not progressing in their fields is that they aren’t working as hard as those born in Canada, but this sentiment does not take into account that many professionals have to repeat education or training, and face discrimination, among other obstacles.

In 2009, parliament attempted to pass legislation to address the issue of deskilling of immigrants, and measures were put in place to offer pathways and documents for credential recognition, however, some people think that the interpretation of these skills is too subjective (Rivas‐Garrido & Koning, 2019). Even with documents and credential equivalents, skilled immigrants continue to face obstacles and discrimination that prevents them from putting to use the high skills that they bring to Canada.

The Canadian government welcomes immigrants when it is of interest to Canada’s economic and population needs, accepting prominently skilled workers, yet when they arrive, there is not enough effort being made to address their needs. Canada must continue to take steps to support the valuation of the skills of its immigrants.


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