PEI

Hundreds of newcomers looking for work on P.E.I.

The P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada says hundreds of newcomers are still hoping to find work in the province.

'I need a chance, an opportunity'

Amy MacLean said it often takes longer for newcomers to land a job. (Laura Meader/CBc)

The P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada says hundreds of newcomers are still hoping to find work in the province. 

Amy MacLean, the employment services co-ordinator with the group, sees clients regularly who are coming in telling her they need a job. The employment program has about 260 clients registered with them right now. 

Sandra Salinas moved from Mexico and hopes to stay in P.E.I. She's been looking for job since January. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"It is a lot, but you know we do our best to manage that number," MacLean said. "It's the type of clientele that's extremely motivated." 

MacLean said if people have limited English skills, it can be tough and it can be difficult to navigate the workforce and network in a new country.

"They don't know where to start, they don't know where to begin," MacLean said. 

'I need a chance'

Sandra Salinas is originally from Mexico and moved to P.E.I. last fall; the 31-year-old has been looking for a job for the past few months. 

She would like to work in the financial sector as she previously studied accounting in Mexico.

Suliman Alialeyan hopes to find construction work in P.E.I.

"I have a masters degree, but in Mexico, so here in Canada I have to study again, it's difficult,"  Salinas said. "I need a chance, an opportunity," 

English still a challenge for some

Suliman Alialeyam moved from Syria more than a year ago. He was a cabinet maker and hopes to find carpentry work in P.E.I.  He is still taking English classes at Holland College but wants to work as soon as possible. 

"I am now looking for a job in P.E.I.," he said. "Anything for kitchen, carpentry, yes." 

Alialeyam said it's hard for him because he knows he doesn't understand everything in English, but he doesn't want to sit home. 

"I like work, I think when I start work, I (will) understand," he said. 

'Our economy needs newcomers to stay'

The Association for Newcomers said in general, English language skills are improving among clients and most have moderate to high language skills. 

"In recent years we've had more clients come in with a little bit higher language levels than years past,"  MacLean said.

A lot of the time, clients are not able to work in the sector they did in their own country.— Amy MacLean

​MacLean said P.E.I. employers are hiring newcomers and most clients are able to find a job eventually. It may not be in their field of choice at first, but she said entry level jobs can be a good start. 

"A lot of the time, clients are not able to work in the sector they did in their own country," MacLean said. 

MacLean hopes newcomers stay positive in their work search and that employers realise the importance of keeping immigrants here.

"Our economy needs newcomers to stay," she said.

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