British Columbia

Syrian refugees on bus tour to meet Vancouver employers

A small group of Syrian refugees is on a bus tour today that will take them to various employers in Vancouver, with the aim of giving them a look at what it may be like to work in Canada.

With more than 2,200 Syrian refugees in B.C., social service groups are now helping them start new lives

A group of Syrian refugees wait for the bus tour to begin. On the tour, they can ask employers questions about how to land a job in Canada. (Denis Dossmann/CBC)

A small group of Syrian refugees is on a bus tour today that will take them to various employers in Vancouver, with the aim of giving them a look at what it may be like to work in Canada.

About 25,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. The federal government has committed to accepting 44,000 refugees in total this year, from all countries. 

B.C. has accepted more than 2,200 Syrian refugees so far this year.

Twenty-five of those refugees are hopping on a bus that will give them access to employers in retail, service, manufacturing, and construction sectors.

"Many Syrians come with a lot of professional backgrounds, some of them were in regulated professions," Etab Saad, program coordinator with MOSAIC, told CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

"To get back into that regulated profession would take a lot of work — they need to put their foot in the door somewhere."

The Canadian government says this is the second phase in the refugee settlement process. Now that the refugees have arrived, the emphasis is on helping them start new lives.

Finding work

Twenty-five Syrian refugees looking for jobs have the opportunity to visit various employers in Metro Vancouver today. (Denis Dossmann/CBC)

Finding work is difficult no matter who you are, said Saad. But MOSAIC is trying to help refugees who may have additional challenges when finding work, such as language and workplace culture.

"It's very important for them to find work and I think they are feeling the pressure. What we're trying to do with the Welcome to Canada Tour is give them a realistic view of how can they get into it," she said. 

"Whether you are a refugee, whether you are an immigrant, whether you are newly graduated, it's hard," said Saad. "We're just trying to give them the tools that can help them during their journey."

With files from CBC Radio's The Early Edition


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