View Full Version : Alarming rate of Unemployment among Africans, Immigrant Professionals in Canada

15th August 2011, 12:02 PM
Migration has been part and parcel of human nature; people have been migrating from one place to another since the inception of society either in search of greener pastures or safe haven. People migrate themselves to explore the opportunities at their destinations and based on their findings, they either return home or bring their loved ones as well.

Irrespective of whether people migrate alone or with their families, the bottom-line or the rationale behind migration is the pursuit of better lives or as safe haven under certain circumstances. In African migration became very common in the 20th century notably around the 1970ís and the 1980ís. In Ghana in particular migration reached its pinnacle in the 1970ís and the 1980ís, during these yearsí able bodied Ghanaian men and women embarked on numerous voyages.


These years saw Ghanaians migrating to neighbouring La Cote dívoire, Togo, Libya and notably Nigeria. Whilst some Ghanaians embarked on these domestic migrations, the lucky ones migrated to different countries around the world including Canada and some Europeans nations like France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany. Whilst migration was at its peak in those years, its traces are still felt in recent years. Migrants from various African countries continue to move to all parts of the world. The recent uprising in Libya saw many Ghanaians and Nigerians being deported home, visits to various embassies in Ghana and Nigeria will reveal uncountable visa applicants zealous to travel abroad.

Migrating to another country to seek a better life has no negative connotation, migrating abroad has done the average migrant more than good, immigrants have seen immeasurable improvements in their living standards and some have created futures for themselves, their families and generations that can hardly be derailed.

Having said these, the number of professionals including badly needed doctors, nurses, academics, engineers and many others who willingly leave the shores of their countries to other countries to seek better lives either as a result of poor working conditions and remunerations or lack of opportunities in their native countries, but end up being disappointed in these countries because they are unable to practice their professions due to either too much bureaucracies, immigration policies, suspicion of incompetence and all those factors which have rendered most of our professionals unproductive in the western world need to be addressed.

It is believed that most African countries were colonized by various powers, and during and after colonization various schools, colleges and universities of reputable standards were built in these African nations. The universities in Ghana meet all western standards not in terms of infrastructures but in academics. The University of Ghana is a force to reckon with. It has produced some of the worldís most recognised academics and professionals and not to mention other great universities in Ghana neighbouring Nigeria and other African countries.

The products from these great schools and other professional institutions should be accorded nothing but the same recognition and respect like those who have had similar education and training abroad. Gone are the days when graduates from African had to be thought how to turn the computers on, now the average tertiary student in African knows about the uses of the computer and can work with it.

How long should we continue to see our valued professionals willingly enslaving themselves abroad?, how long should we continue to see our sisters and brothers with all levels of education sitting home unemployed or doing some sub-standard works to survive? Most of the people who throng various employment agencies seeking general labour jobs have up to the university level education, how sad and worse can this be?

People are sitting on valuable credentials and potentials which can hardly be explored because of one reason or the other. Most of the African immigrants loitering about and looking for jobs have education above the high school standard, so the question is why canít they be employed or absorbed into the working population so that their dreams of better living can one day be realized?

Most immigrant professionals are doing jobs against their wishes, but they either have no other options or hope that doing those jobs will be means to an end. At this point the question which looms in peopleís minds is why do these well trained professionals leave their countries where they could be treated with respect and migrate to these countries where their dreams are hardly realized? It is an absolute reality that most African professionals including lawyers, doctors, university professors and many more have been very successful outside their homelands, there are great African lawyers and doctors in London England, America, Canada and other parts of the world.

However, the number of successful professionals abroad is far below the number of professionals struggling to gain their feat. Research has shown that there are uncountable professional nurses from Africa, the Philippines and other countries who cannot practice their professions because they donít simply meet the standards set up by the Ontario College of Nurses, but the funny thing is these are highly trained nurses who were saving peopleís lives in their respective countries without any concerns, so are they simply being denied the opportunity to work or their professional trainings are not recognised because they attended schools outside where they now reside?

It is a reality that governments have the responsibilities to ensure that their nationals are employed to maintain a sustainable level of employment, so the question which surfaces is: Do these governments intentionally reserve these jobs for their nationals or the professionals who were locally trained and believed to be more competent? If so then why do countries like Canada encourage professionals through their skilled labour programs to migrate to Canada with promises of good living and job availabilities?

Most professionals with all levels of education and potentials have migrated with their families into this country without realizing any of their expectations, professional bank managers and financial analysts have been deceived into coming into this country without even getting bank teller jobs. The problem is these professionals eventually become depressed and frustrated and these frustrations are extended on their innocent spouses and children. Most immigrant professionals have had conflicts with the laws through domestic violence, abuses and altercations against their significant others and their children mostly due to frustrations and their inabilities to realize their dreams by getting the jobs that they have spent almost their entire lives schooling for.

In conclusion, it is very normal for people to seek for the right treatments and remunerations after spending their entire lives and resources to get education and training. In Africa the pressure is extremely unbearable due to the extended family system under which most of us were cared for, raised, educated and even helped to travel abroad by family members who were not our biological parents. Most African scholars and professionals were educated by their uncles, step fathers, step mothers aunts, cousins and other family members. In these situations, the expectations become a cycle, your uncle who raised and educated you expect reciprocal help from you, his children and all the members of the entire family also expect you to do likewise.

The African system of extended family is a force to reckon with but its subsequent pressures on immigrants who are still struggling to make ends meet is very unbearable. Foreign governments are not under any obligations to employ all professional foreign nationals, they are obligated to provide jobs for their nationals and employ foreigners who meet the qualifications of the remaining jobs. So whose fault is it for all these needed professionals to remain in foreign countries where their expertises are either abandoned or under-utilized?

The obvious answer is our leaders. Let us all pray that one day the merciful God will touch the hearts of our leaders to eschew greediness and selfishness and create the right working conditions and opportunities similar to those in the western worlds so that our professionals will remain home to provide the badly needed care, services, assistances and impart the knowledge that our youth badly need in this challenging world.