With all her nine years of direct experience and a full-time job back home in the Philippines, Jean thought that once arriving in Canada, ‘everyone would hire me if I applied’.
Instead, she struggled to find a full-time job. When her husband was offered a full-time position, Jean began to understand that her employment challenges as an immigrant may also have a gendered dimension. Jean considers language barriers a key frustration among newcomers, suggesting that when you cannot express yourself clearly, you are less likely to challenge injustice or abuse on the job. As for arriving here with good qualifications and good skills, Jean wishes Canada would offer smoother access to the workforce: “When they came here and passed all the [immigration] requirements, it means they are skilled, they are highly educated, so I think it’s just fair for the government to acknowledge these skills.” Jean thinks Canada not allowing immigrants to contribute all the skills and experience they bring is “a big waste of resources”. “Experience”, she says, “is the best teacher.”