‘State of shock’: As Canada ramps up immigration, unsuspecting …

Of note, the reality vs the promise:

A year after hearing “welcome home” for the first time at the Canadian border, Shahzad Gidwani found himself questioning whether he and his wife made the right decision to start a new life here.

The timing wasn’t ideal, arriving in Toronto from India with their son just as the pandemic began sweeping the globe. Yet the 53-year-old held high hopes for his family’s future. He was bringing with him decades of international work experience in sales and marketing, and a master’s degree in business from the U.S.

But as inflation crept toward a 40-year high, eating away at the family’s savings, panic began to set in. Gidwani struggled to secure a permanent job with a living wage because employers didn’t want to hire someone without Canadian experience.

“We hadn’t prepared for inflation,” Gidwani said. He estimated they were spending nearly $6,000 a month on rent, furniture, food and basic necessities when they were first settling in. “We were in a state of shock.”

“We thought about whether we’d made the right decision because we were burning through money. What you spend here in one month would last you nine months back in India,” Gidwani said.

Many newcomers like Gidwani come to Canada dreaming of a better life, but lately they have found themselves pummelled by the highest inflation rate in four decades, unable to afford adequate housing, food and basic necessities. And as the federal government responds to historic labour shortages by ramping up immigration — targeting an unprecedented 1.5 million immigrants over the next three years and issuing work permits to non-Canadians at record highs — newcomers are arriving only to find mostly low-skill, low-paying jobs available to them.

Many Canadians are feeling the strain of exorbitant living costs, but those struggles can be more acute for recent immigrants and those trying to secure permanent residence. Newcomers can face discrimination and precarious work conditions while scrambling to fulfil convoluted immigration requirements. According to a recent RBC report, they earn less than the general population and are more likely to reside in inadequate housing.

“Because of competition and favouritism and racism, the Canadian dream of working your way up after you get here often doesn’t happen,” said Jim Stanford, economist and director of think tank Centre for Future Work.

Source: ‘State of shock’: As Canada ramps up immigration, unsuspecting …

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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