New Brunswick

Moncton chamber encourages the hiring of immigrants

The chief executive officer of Moncton's Chamber of Commerce said there are still misconceptions among some business leaders in the city when it comes to hiring immigrants.

Newcomers are being hired, though numbers could be better, says Moncton chamber CEO

Carol O`Reilly, the chief executive officer of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, encourages the hiring of foreign newcomers in the community. (CBC)

Misconceptions about paperwork and language abilities may still keep business leaders from employing Syrian newcomers, according to the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce's chief executive officer.

But Carol O'Reilly said there are also many people working together to help Syrians settle and find work in the southeastern city.

And a recent member survey by the chamber shows that 32 per cent already hired immigrants, including people from Syria, the Middle East, Africa and the United States.

"There is hiring. Yes, it could be better. But I do think that that is a good direction for the business community to be going in," she said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton on Wednesday.

Some Syrians struggle finding work

Since December 2015, New Brunswick took in more than 600 working-age adult refugees from Syria.

According to the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, 15 per cent of them are self-employed or work in full- and part-time positions.

In a previous interview with the CBC, Syrian refugee Nidal Rashid said he struggled to find work in Moncton.

Nidal Rashid has lived in Moncton for a year and is still looking for work. (CBC)

The 41-year-old previously worked as a civil engineer in Kuwait but his credentials are not recognized in Canada.

But he said he does not want to depend on social assistance to support his wife and four children, so he is looking for work.

So far, he's had no luck despite talking to several people and sending out ten resumes.

"Until now, I did not receive any real opportunity to go to work," he said.

A lot of misconceptions

O'Reilly said the chamber frequently hears from members asking for more language training support for the newcomers.

But this training is already available for all new immigrants from a number of organizations, she said, including the Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area, the Alliance Française de Moncton, and the university.

People also seem to think that people from other countries cannot speak English, she said.

Syrian refugees arriving in Canada are permanent residents, which enables them to work immediately without the need for tedious paperwork, said O'Reilly. (CBC)

"If you go down … to the Moncton market on Saturday, you'll see that there's a table of women and men from Syria who are serving their food and their level of English is really quite astounding," she said.

"If someone takes language training for six months, they may not come out absolutely speaking perfect English, but they definitely are able to communicate."

She added the Syrian refugees arriving in Canada are permanent residents, which enables them to work immediately without the need for tedious paperwork — another concern amongst some in the business community.

Many agencies work with newcomers

So far, 46 per cent of chamber members reported in the survey that they are familiar with programs available to newcomers and subsidies that can help them hire people.

Another 54 per cent are interested in taking part in a job fair.

O'Reilly said the Moncton chamber will continue to publicly share information about employing the newcomers and is also sending information directly to its members.

She also stressed that there are several organizations, settlement services and the city government, who are working "extremely hard to make this happen."

"Things can always be better but I do think that what we interpret from all this [survey] information is that the business community is open to hiring immigrants and newcomers in their businesses," she said.

Wiht files from Information Morning Moncton