SKILLS ARE SKILLS
There are specific criteria for any job seeker to be considered
“skilled.” Hard skills can include education and credentials, and
soft skills can be less defined, like fitting in with the team, conflict
resolution and workplace communication. Some of these skills are
manifested in particular ways in Canadian workforces, yet that
does not mean that someone who did not acquire their experience
in Canada does not have these skills.
In talent acquisition processes, skilled immigrants should be
subjected to the same hiring process as any employee in Canada.
Employers and regulatory bodies may ask about previous work
experience, but where they got their experience should not matter
as long as they have sufficient knowledge, skills and abilities
(KSAs). According to Professor Sakamoto, both employers and
policymakers play a major role in helping immigrants overcome
the “Canadian experience barrier.” Skilled immigrants often already
have the expertise and experience – the “know-what” and
“know-why” to do the job – but what they really need is the help
to develop contextual knowledge and contacts – the “know-how”
and “know-who” to be successful in the Canadian environment.
Yet these are not deal breakers for most jobs.
Discrimination begins from the assumption that skilled immigrants
don’t have sufficient KSAs from their credentials and work
experience, and that Canadian experience should be a requirement
to assess their ability.
According to Statistics Canada, about 70 per cent of immigrants
who arrived in Canada five or fewer years earlier have a university
degree or higher educational level, and more than 10 per cent
THE ISSUE AT STAKE IS THAT EVEN ASKING FOR CANADIAN
EXPERIENCE, IN MANY CASES, SEEMS LIKE A EUPHEMISM
FOR LACK OF TRUST IN SKILLED IMMIGRANTS.
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ OCTOBER 2015 ❚ 29