The Toronto Star has published an excellent expose that shines a light on how Canadian companies are squandering new talent in this country and damaging Canada’s economy as a whole. Kudos to Nicholas Keung for his excellent reporting.

The main culprit is the age-old and insidious requirement for Canadian experience, which forces highly skilled immigrants into sub-par jobs. We’ve heard this story again and again. Yet, Canadian employers seem incapable of understanding two simple factors that would mitigate any requirement for existing Canadian work experience in a particular field. These are:

  1. Highly skilled new immigrants, armed with Ph.D., professional degrees, and years of overseas work experience in sophisticated markets such as the U.A.E. or India itself (just look at India’s thriving start-up landscape), arrive in Canada after spending thousands of dollars to obtain their permanent resident status, are going to be some of the most productive individuals you can hire. They have something to prove and need to rebuild their careers, so they are going to lead with their right foot and work hard. They will not be jaded or jump to the next available job. New immigrants are highly motivated, highly productive employees.
  2. Their so-called Canadian experience deficit is mostly perceived. It’s not an actuality. It wouldn’t take more than two or three months for a highly motivated, eager new employee to adapt to any office culture, or tweak their way of doing things, and so forth. Any adjustment pains are grossly outweighed by the infusion of fresh energy and new ideas that a skilled immigrant brings to the table.

The zealous focus on the need for Canadian experience sends a poor signal from Canadian employers: they are saying they have no confidence a new employee can learn anything new.

Is this how Canadian companies want to portray and position themselves in the global market?

Canadian companies, by carrying on with an outdated 1980s old-boys mentality, are going to be eaten alive by the competition. It’s time for a major change of paradigm for Canadian companies.

As the Star’s article states, new immigrants are bee-lining it back to Dubai or taking up job offers in the U.S., where employers understand the value of enthusiasm to prove oneself.

Particularly shocking is the section of Keung’s article that discusses how an immigrant from India, Komal Makkar, was advised to remove qualifications from her resume and shave off years of work experience to avoid being overqualified for entry-level positions. This means she was advised, from the onset, to not reach for her potential but instead apply for entry-level positions. Is this what moving to Canada has devolved into?

Canadian employers don’t seem to realize that the current generation will not sit quietly and waste years in low-skilled jobs in the hope of eventually finding work in their desired fields. They are going to pivot to another country, and rightfully so.

That article states that a conservative estimate suggests that 15 to 20 percent of immigrants leave Canada within 10 years.

Frankly, given the immense damage this almost subconscious, auto-pilot disease of demanding Canadian experience is doing to Canada, the Canadian government of the day should strike a Standing Committee to urgently find policy solutions that will make Canadian companies stop demanding Canadian experience. It’s fine to demand experience per-se in a chosen set of skills, but in the age of A.I., it is not okay to demand Canadian experience – which can mean any number of things – but mostly means nothing at all since learning curves can be surmounted by competent employees in a matter of weeks.

It almost feels like this dark history of forcing new immigrants to “deskill” the moment they arrive at Pearson Airport should be made illegal. I’m obviously not actually suggesting any laws that would make the requirement of Canadian work experience illegal. I state this as hyperbole to make a point.

What is even more distressing is that, at the end of the day, ending this diseased addiction to requiring Canadian experience is not even about helping immigrants. It’s about helping Canadian companies compete and thrive. Companies don’t even need to have a charitable, selfless intent. Bringing skilled new immigrants into the payroll is only going to strengthen Canadian companies and help the next generation of Canadians. Win-win.


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Param Tooray

Me and my wife turned to Borders Law Firm when I was trying to migrate to Canada as I am a UK citizen and my wife was born in Canada. They made the process really easy for us guiding us all the way. I am now a permanent resident in Canada thanks to Jenny and Devika. We would definitely recommend this firm to anyone looking to move to Canada you will not be disappointed!!

Madhuker Akula

Associated with Borders Law Firm for 13+ years, I have nothing but the best things to say about their services. Devika and Andres are very knowledgeable and they treat you with respect and compassion. Working with Jenny, their Associate Lawyer during the most recent recent experience has further assured that the firm has the best people portraying their wealth of experience in all aspects of Canadian immigration law.

Michael Freeman

The team at Borders - specifically Devika and Jenny - were an extraordinary support in navigating the Permanent Residency process. They were responsive and easily available, and incredibly detailed and thorough in their work. I strongly recommend them for anyone navigating the immigration process, and feel so grateful for their expertise and kindness that made a tricky process feel smooth.

Richa Jain

Our biggest dilemma while researching for an Immigration Consultant was someone we could trust and that could manage our application well. We are so glad to have found Borders Law Firm. Devika gave us exceptional guidance due to which we got ICT Work Permit approval. Big thanks and appreciation for Jenny Mao for such professionalism and dexterity shown while handling our application. Kudos to BLF team for their superb work and simply for the trustworthiness they have ..… Best Wishes !

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