With the low unemployment rate here in the southeast, some may think that it's easy for newcomers to obtain suitable employment. However, that's not necessarily the case when it comes to newcomers to Canada.

Laura Eddy, a Settlement Advisor with Southeast Newcomer Services, said there are a number of barriers to employment for those who apply for work in a region with many jobs available.

"It has been a struggle, because there are some misconceptions, [for example], that when somebody with a foreign name applies for a job, we're still in the mentality that they're looking for sponsorship," she said. "Their resume may get overlooked because they're just assuming."

Phone numbers are not always going to be local numbers, and that's most often due to needing to get a phone upon arrival in Canada. "Everybody needs a phone so they don't have a local number."

Resumes don't look the same everywhere, and some are permanent residents, or even Canadian citizens, who haven't had help updating their resume to look 'more Canadian'. 

Eddy said she spoke with members of the Weyburn Chamber of Commerce about these myths when hiring newcomers. 

"They're a newcomer, but they're a permanent resident here, or they may be Canadian. They may have their citizenship. So in that case, you are hiring a Canadian. It's no different than hiring me. So there is some misconception there."

Even well-educated Ukranian refugees, for example, may not have the language level 5, which is considered employable.

"They were forced out of their country, so they're not prepared with their language. So they can't go work at a fast food restaurant because they don't have the language. So it's a labour job, but again, if I had to go do a labour job when I've been a desk jockey for my whole life, it's hard."
Eddy said Southeast Newcomer Services has two employment consultants that will meet with participants to assess and then advocate on their behalf. 

"They meet with the participants and they kind of get a sense they meet with them for a few times, kind of get a sense of their personality and where they want to go look for employment. So it's just having somebody to go out and advocate for them because they don't have anybody local to put on resumes. So lots of times it could be me, it could be the employment consultant, just to give someone here in this community."

She said the employment consultant will go out and market them.

"Lots of times they are very highly skilled, highly educated people. We have lots of nurses from other countries that aren't licensed here as nurses that are working as CCA. They're working at a job that they're overqualified for, so that employer is really winning because they're getting somebody that's skilled," she commented.

It's rather costly, as well, for newcomers to get their credentials assessed. 

"At the end of that process, they might come away with nothing, or a first year university when they have a masters. It just all depends on how that goes, with getting that foreign credential recognized. We have a dentist here, it will cost her $200,000 to get certified. We have doctors that are not being doctors here and lots of nurses, lots of teachers. It's just that cost of getting those credentials assessed. You could have somebody working in a daycare that's a teacher. Most of them are working entry-level jobs and it's not a livable wage." 

Eddy added, factoring in the newcomers are likely also supporting someone back home, which is very common, they are doing so on minimum wage.