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Difficulties that Maghrebian Immigrants to Quebec Face in Finding Work: A Matter of Perspective Presented by: Annick Lenoir-Achdjian 1 Quebec Metropolis.

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Presentation on theme: "Difficulties that Maghrebian Immigrants to Quebec Face in Finding Work: A Matter of Perspective Presented by: Annick Lenoir-Achdjian 1 Quebec Metropolis."— Presentation transcript:

1 Difficulties that Maghrebian Immigrants to Quebec Face in Finding Work: A Matter of Perspective Presented by: Annick Lenoir-Achdjian 1 Quebec Metropolis CentreImmigration and Metropolis Metropolis Brown Bag Session, June 5, 2009

2 Research team Researchers Chief researcher Annick Lenoir-Achdjian (Social work, U. de Sherbrooke) Co-researchers Sébastien Arcand (Management, HEC) Denise Helly (INRS-UCS) Michèle Vatz Laaroussi (Social wok, U. de Sherbrooke ) Research officers Isabelle Drainville (Masters in Social work, U. de Sherbrooke) Amel Mahfoudh (Masters in Sociology, U. de Montréal) * Project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) 2004–2006

3 Background In 2001 –97.6%98.5% –97.6% of Moroccan-born and 98.5% Algerian-born immigrants to Quebec could speak French –29.9%42.5% –29.9% of Moroccan-born and 42.5% of Algerian- born immigrants to Quebec, aged 15 and over, had a university degree 21.8% 14%This was the case for 21.8% of the immigrant population as a whole and for 14% of Quebecs total population. During the same period –17.5%27.2% –17.5% of Moroccan-born and 27.2% of Algerian- born immigrants to Quebec were unemployed. 33.6% 35.4% –Among those who had lived in Quebec for five years or less, the unemployment rates were 33.6% for Moroccans and 35.4% for Algerians. 8.2%.The provincial unemployment rate was 8.2%. 3

4 Research question: –Why is it so difficult for these immigrants to find work? Goals of todays session: –Describe the project and its results (part 1) –Describe the reactions to the results since 2004 (part 2) –Describe the projects outcomes (part 3)

5 Part 1 Project and Results

6 Overall purpose of the study: To answer the research question based on the perceptions of –Job seekers from the Maghreb (specifically Algeria and Morocco) –Job counsellors who work with this clientele Specific objectives: –Identify the differences in perceptions between the two stakeholder groups with regard to the needs of job seekers from the Maghreb –Understand one anothers expectations about how to meet those needs The study does not –Assess job counselling programs –Verify the quality of the counselling provided –Establish whether the needs and expectations expressed are justified

7 Respondents Semi-structured interviews (May 2004–January 2005) with –22 –22 job seekers from the Maghreb (16 in Montréal, 5 in Sherbrooke) –15 –15 job counsellors (8 in Montréal, 7 in Sherbrooke) –All interviews were conducted at the Quebec department of immigration and cultural communities (MICC), a local employment centre or another job assistance organization. Selection criteria –Job seekers from the Maghreb who arrived in Canada after September 2001 as selected immigrants were 25–40 years of age had sound knowledge of French had secondary or post-secondary education were participating in a labour market integration program –Job counsellors working with clients from the Maghreb 7

8 Analysis of the data Phase 1: codifying the transcripts of the interviews based on references to the job search and job counselling themes Phase 2: Analysing the codified results in order to: –Identify job seekers expectations with respect to finding work –Identify the perceptions that various respondents had of the obstacles facing job seekers Phase 3: Analysing the transcripts of the interviews based on the non-deterministic links identified

9 Snapshot of respondents Job seekers –17 men and 5 women –Recent immigration: 10 had been in Quebec from the age of 1 to 3, 12 had immigrated less than a year before –Highly skilled: 1 doctorate, 10 masters, 5 licences and 6 technical diplomas –15 had completed regulated training –15 applications for credential recognition received: 5 full recognitions, 10 lower recognitions Job counsellors –8 women and 7 men –13 native Quebecers, 2 born abroad –6 had foreign work experience –Highly skilled: 4 masters, 7 bachelors, 1 certificate, 3 high school diplomas

10 Shared perceptions Usual difficulties – Quebec employers recognition of education and work experience acquired abroad – Joining a professional order or a regulated trade Difficulties specific to immigrants from the Maghreb – Insufficient knowledge of English – Very high level of education – Need for skills upgrading – Lack of professional networks –I speak French just like other people in Quebec. I came to a place where I can adapt easily." (Noor, a Sherbrooker born in Algeria who had been in Quebec for 6 months) – Link between the events of September 11, 2001, and the increasing difficulties faced by immigrants from the Maghreb when trying to find a job For instance, in interviews, we often ask them What do you think of terrorism? What do you think of Bin Laden? What do you think of September 11? (Germain, a job counsellor in Sherbrooke) 10

11 Conflicting perceptions (1) Perceptions of employment support services Job seekers from the Maghreb think that they have a right to a job because they were selected on the basis of their training, education and work experience. Job counsellors think these job seekers have the same rights as job seekers born in Quebec, and that, consequently, they cant give them priority. Job seekers from the Maghreb think that more should be done to help them integrate into the labour market (easier access to internships, more job search assistance) Job counsellors think that finding work is primarily the job seekers responsibility. " Were left to our own devices. Find yourself a job, look yourself… I was expecting them to offer me personal help and assistance to help me find a job. They asked me to go door to door [to find a job], but I cant go door to door!" (Karim, a Montrealer born in Algeria who had been in Quebec for 9 months). 11

12 Conflicting perceptions (2) Intervention strategies Job seekers want to get the kind of support that would take into account the fact that they are new immigrants. Job counsellors want to provide their clients with skills to find long- term employment and to integrate into the labour market. They stress the importance of knowing the workings of Quebecs labour market. What I try to make that person understand is that … the government is there to offer a little push toward an opportunity, but like it or not, the brunt of the work is still his. He will have to put in a lot more effort than the employer to go meet with him. It means that he will have to build autonomy, and in some cases, it isnt about building autonomy, but discovering what autonomy is. Sometimes, I have to tell them I wont do it for you. I gave you the tools; its up to you to do the rest. (Luc, a job counsellor in Montréal) 12

13 ) Conflicting perceptions (3 ) Factors behind the difficulties According to the job seekers… – They were cheated right from the time they were selected – They now face discrimination on the part of employers – Quebec society is closed to them People dont know why we came here. We arent immigrants who fled a war or something. Were independent immigrants. There are conditions. We have to go through a rigorous process to get in here, and then, employers dont want us. (Mohamed, a Montrealer from Morocco, who had been in Quebec for 3 years) According to the job counsellors, these immigrants must take responsibility for their decision to come to Quebec. – That perspective ignores the local demographic, economic and social reality that these immigrants have to adapt to Many of them are disappointed about this. They tell us, You brought us here! but ultimately, it was their choice. They filed the application. (Hélène, a job counsellor in Montréal) 13

14 Lenses that impede the job counselling process All the job counsellors noted their relative powerlessness to change the situation: –They have limited flexibility with respect to the conditions under which they do their work or in relation to modifying job search structures. –They have no authority to make employers hire their clientele. –When employers act in a discriminatory manner, they have no means to take action because discrimination is indirect and implicit. –In the case of direct discrimination, they find themselves in an uncomfortable position: report the situation and weaken the partnership, or let it slip by unnoticed in order to be able to continue putting forward candidates for positions to be filled. 14

15 lenses through which job counsellors interpret the situationThe lenses through which job counsellors interpret the situation can be seen as their way of coping with their sense of powerlessness in: –Carrying out their mandate (finding jobs for people) –Fulfilling their personal commitment to supporting job seekers But, these lenses combine indirectly and involuntarily with the discrimination that immigrants from the Maghreb experience when looking for a job. –The arguments advanced by some of the job counsellors seem to show that exclusion and discrimination reinforce each other. –However, because of the small size of our sample, we cannot assume that these lenses are present among all job counsellors who work with this clientele. –But, the results still indicate that systemic discrimination might exist. 15

16 Part 2 Reaction to Results, Since 2004

17 Dissemination of results Three distinct time periods: – : 5 papers and 1 popular article – : 6 papers and 3 articles (including 2 scholarly articles) –2009: 2 papers and 1 scholarly article (the final report) Significant changes in how results have been received over time

18 YearDissemination of results PublicReactions paper- Social workersIndifference article (newspaper) 3 papers - General public - Social workers - Researchers - Government policy makers Preliminary results – Presence of discrimination by employers – Lack of professional networks for immigrants from the Maghreb

19 YearDissemination of results PublicReactions papers - General public - Job counsellors - Researchers - Government policy makers Aggressiveness / Rejection of the results paper - Researchers - Government policy makers article (magazine)- Researchers Preliminary result – Presence of possible discrimination in the counselling process itself

20 YearDissemination of results PublicReactions articles (magazine) 1 article (newspaper) 2 papers - General public - Job counsellors - Researchers - Government policy makers Interest Final results –Presence of different perceptions in the counselling process that hamper that process –Presence of systemic discrimination that – impedes access to the labour market (employers, professional orders and regulated trades, educational equivalencies, etc.) – increases during the counselling process

21 Factors in the changes in how the results were received Further data analysis: From preliminary to final Refining of the results presented: From unsurprising to disturbing Target audience: From not very concerned by the results to extremely concerned and media interest Release time: Results released after the commission on reasonable accommodation

22 Part 3 Project Outcomes

23 Solution proposed by job counsellors Anti-discrimination strategy –Get employers to Think about their negative perceptions of Maghrebian clients Recognize that this client group is, like any group, made up of individuals with diverse qualifications and skills Re-focus on their primary concern: hiring competent workers –In the long run Requires a relationship of trust Includes the key elements of all intercultural communication: –Analyse employers needs and expectations, and how they are interpreted –Respond to the needs expressed without validating discriminatory attitudes 23

24 Solutions proposed by research team Better target information during the migration process Provide intercultural training for all job counsellors in order to: –Combat their feelings of powerlessness –Help them counteract discriminatory attitudes and behaviours on the part of employers –Improve communication between job seekers from the Maghreb and job counsellors –Reduce the frustration that immigrants from the Maghreb experience in the face of what they perceive as a failure by job counsellors to take into account their: Work credentials Efforts to integrate Concerted effort by various sectors of society (intersectoral policies) Presence of designated job counsellors at Emploi- Québec 24

25 Project outcomes The MICC and Emploi-Québec are developing training in intercultural communication for all job counsellors who work with immigrant clients. The MICC is updating information that is provided during the migration process. Emploi-Québec is exploring the idea of designating some job counsellors to provide links between individual clients and the various agencies and services.

26 Conclusion For Quebec to reap the benefits of an ethnoculturally diverse labour force, a concerted effort is required from different sectors of society. If integrating immigrants is considered a collective responsibility, the business community must be involved in and committed to this process. A failure to act could be seen by immigrants as a desire to relegate them to being second-class citizens who should only have access to low-paying jobs. That would make it even more difficult for these newcomers to integrate into their host society and would hamper the development of a sense of belonging in Quebec and Canadian society. 26

27 For more information The final report can be downloaded free of charge from the Web site of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, at Lenoir-Achdjian, A., I. Drainville, D. Helly, M. Vatz Laaroussi, S. Arcand and A. Mahfoudh (2008), The professional insertion of immigrants born in the Maghreb: Challenges and impediments for intervention, Journal of International Migration and Integration (JIMI), Vol. 8, No. 1, pp Arcand, S., D. Helly, A. Lenoir-Achdjian and M. Vatz Laaroussi (forthcoming). Insertion socio professionnelle dimmigrants récents et réseaux sociaux: le cas de Maghrébins à Montréal et Sherbrooke, Canadian Journal of Sociology / Revue canadienne de sociologie.

28 Thank you!

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