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Immigrants Deprofessionalized in Canada
High Education - Low Paying jobs.
Filipino Immigrants Deprofessionalized in Canada.
By Edwin C. Mercurio
(Bulatlat.com)Toronto, Canada – Despite having a high level of education, majority of Filipino immigrants end up in lower-paying jobs compared to other immigrants. This was a conclusion of the research study on Filipinos in Canada featured at a workshop on Filipino migration and settlement during the 10th International Metropolis Conference held at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.
The study titled, "The Deprofessionalized Filipino: Explaining Subordinate Labour Market Roles in Toronto", was based on the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ) community survey and research. CASJ is a community-based organization.
It revealed that many Filipino immigrants in Canada experience deprofessionalization, de-skilling and occupational segmentation resulting in high education-low income disparity.
The Canada's 2001 statistics showed that 57 percent of Filipino immigrants had some university-level education compared to 35 percent for all Canadians.
On the average, Filipinos in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and suburbs earn less than other visible minority immigrants as a whole. The CASJ study explored the causes of such deprofessionalization in the Filipino community using survey and focus group methods.
"The main cause identified in the survey and focus groups was the systemic non-recognition of Philippine earned education and experience. As a consequence of this systemic barrier, Filipinos are forced to take on survival jobs to support themselves and their families and to meet financial obligations such as debts incurred due to high cost of immigration."
The survey also disclosed that 53 percent of the more than 420 respondents cited non-recognition of Philippine credentials and professional licenses as a factor preventing them from practicing their profession.
Canadian regulatory bodies that make accreditation and licensing decisions were roundly criticized by focus group participants "for their ignorance of Filipino institutions and qualifications, arbitrariness in application of standards, high cost of enrolment in upgrading courses and the failure to recognize even third country experience, including those gained in the U.S."
As a consequence of this, "many Filipino professionals thus end up in jobs far below their educational qualifications and skills, training and experience."
At least half of the survey respondents wrote that they were "overqualified" in their current jobs.
However, the popularly bandied myth that only newcomers in Canada find difficulty practicing their trades and professions has been shattered as survey respondents revealed that the systemic barriers apply to both old and newcomers alike.
Focus groups were held with engineers, accountants, and nurses and with groups of mixed professionals, both regulated and unregulated. Among those who said they were "over-qualified" in their present jobs, 53 percent arrived in Canada after 1990 while 41 percent arrived prior to 1990.
Another cause of the deprofessionalization of Filipinos revealed in the CASJ study was subtle racial discrimination. "The main basis for work-related discrimination or unfair treatment was race/color (63%). Other leading factors cited were accent, culture, ethnicity, gender and religion."
The article noted that in focus groups, "an outstanding criticism was directed against Canada's immigration policy and the practice of bringing in the best and the brightest immigrants from the Philippines and other countries through their strict point system. Majority of these immigrants, however, are not absorbed in jobs commensurate to their education and training resulting in immigrants ending up as a source of high quality cheap labor."