New Brunswick

'We are under pressure now': Syrians search for jobs

A year after moving to Moncton as a Syrian refugee, Nidal Rashid is feeling pressure to find a way to support his wife and four children.

Nidal Rashid says 'Syrians, we don't want assistance' and is trying to find work in Moncton

A year after moving to Moncton as a Syrian refugee, Nidal Rashid is feeling pressure to find a way to support his wife and four children. 0:36

A year after moving to Moncton as a Syrian refugee, Nidal Rashid is feeling pressure to find a way to support his wife and four children.

The 41-year-old is still struggling to find a job and doesn't want to have to turn to provincial social assistance to support his family with his federal government funding about to run out.

"We are under pressure now."

Rashid said he graduated as a civil engineer in 1997 and worked five years with a private company in Kuwait.

After that, he worked as a government employee in Syria and spent two years working with the United Nations.

Credentials not recognized

But Rashid said his engineering credentials are not recognized here.

He said he has met with job counsellors and sent out 10 resumes, but so far he hasn't been able to find a job.

"We are as Syrians, we don't want assistance," he said. "We need a real chance … a real chance to start working because we like to work. We like to support our families. We don't like assistance."

Rashid speaks English, but he said many of the refugees who came to Moncton are still struggling with language skills.

We are as Syrians, we don't want assistance.- Nidal Rashid , Syrian refugee

And he said many of them are worried about finding employment.

"In our community it's the man who's supposed to work. The wife she just take care about the kids and here it's too expensive," he said.

"If you work as an ordinary worker you can't support your family at this amount of money."

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

Mayor pledges help

Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold chats with Nidal Rashid and other Syrians in Moncton. (CBC)
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold said the city wants to help refugees find success and will continue to try and help integrate them into the community.

"What I've really been struck by is that's one of the first questions is — we want to work, what can we do?  said Arnold.  "We want to be working and I have found it very interesting that a lot of the men in particular that I've met, they've worked since the time they were 13 or 14, so work is what they know and they want to work."

Arnold said it's in Moncton's best interest to help refugees find their footing.

"It's about the future of our community.  We need more people here." said the mayor.  

"They're providing that and they have these large families that are so happy to be here that want to be part of our community."

While Nidal Rashid ponders his future, he's taking steps to make sure his children find success.

He's put his three sons and his daughter in French school.

"If you're looking for a great future for your children they must have two languages — bilingual and I know French is very hard to catch from communication." said Rashid.

"English because the majority of the people speak English on the street everywhere speak English. You can catch it easily."

Rashid hopes people understand the challenge he's facing.

"If I was in my country I have relatives I have friends I speak the language I can go I can find a job" he said.

"But here ... it's very complicated to us."