Country of Origin: South Korea
Arrival in Canada: 1998
“Let me have my freedom. Let me work.” Able, educated, and willing – that’s how June* describes herself. Despite having completed high school in Canada as well as an honours degree in economics from the University of Toronto, June still had to work for a furniture company before eventually registering as an investment advisor and finding a position.
Soon, she was managing $50 million in assets for nearly 500 clients. But when it came time to re-apply for an extension of her work visa, June was stunned to learn that investment advisors are categorized as self-employed, and that the system only recognizes immigrants who have a formal employer. Now unemployed and worried, June feels ‘handicapped’ because “the system just would not allow me to work.” June’s story compels Canada to re-examine how we categorize work visa applications of foreign workers so that each one is reviewed as a “person” – “we are not applications.”
* name has been changed at the request of the interviewee to protect her identity