On immigration

Contrary to what anyone else says, its hard being an immigrant in Canada. Yes, we do have the easiest process and highest percentages – we’ve been applauded for our easy access, immigrant friendly, “mosaic” of a society, where you can eat pasta and quinoa and spring rolls and curry with baklava for dessert. In fact, in one day I went from eating a hot dog from a street stand for lunch to a blood sacrificial yak at night. True story.

However, many (myself included) would agree that this so-called “mosaic”, or “tossed salad” – please insert as many allusions to the type of “diversity” involved as you like – only really benefits those who aren’t part of the salad. You know, the people eating it. This is primarily the reason why whenever you walk into a Korean barbecue there’s some preppy white boy with Asian girlfriend at hand, gulping down bucket loads of fake kimchi while his future in-laws watch with delight.

“Honey, this kimchi is AWESOME.” *checks out other Asian girls at the bar*

I’m only partially kidding. And also, it is appropriate that they refer to us as a “tossed salad” because you know, ASIANS DON’T EAT SALAD. Yes, that’s true as well, despite the “citrus” salads you get at all you can eat sushi restaurants. You are being fooled!

Anyway, I will not talk about food for this whole post, although that would be good. Maybe I should start a foodie blog and join the legions.

I want to use this post to talk about one of my friend and her husband. They are in a dilemma right now. Although immigrated, they are considering returning to their country of Iran. (Somewhere in the background, Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have a party). Considering the chaos that’s happening over there right now, that’s a pretty weighty decision. Why would they want to return to their country in chaos when they are immigrants of one of the most stable countries on earth?

Let me explain to you how the immigration system in Canada (and probably most other Western countries) works. There is a point system, where potential immigrants are given more points based on their skills and occupation. My friend’s husband is a dentist. We have a major shortage of medical personnel in Canada right now, to the point where they actually have ads on bus stops telling you how awesome it is to be a nurse. So I’m assuming that his point score is high.

However, because he comes from Iran, he has to be certified in Canada. He has taken the dental entrance exam four times, with a good score. This score is not enough to compete against many other immigrants who also wish to practice dentistry in Canada.

Oh, and this entrance exam is not for a license to practice dentistry. No. It is an entrance exam to enter first year of dental school. Meaning that he would have to spend four more years of school learning stuff he already knew. Currently he is working at Home Depot to support himself.

So the situation here in Canada is that we have dentists working at Home Depot, professors driving taxicabs, and accountants working at McDonalds. Oh, and I’m going to say here that it is very much political, very much racial. Some people have said, well it’s like that for all immigrants! This is not true. People from European countries, especially England, find that becoming an immigrant and getting a job is easy. Canadians use language as an excuse, as in, oh that’s because they speak the language! But ultimately, it is about a misguided perception of cultural differences.

It is all about colour in immigration policy.

Sure, we are a tossed salad of a society, but in reality, we are the ones making the salads. Not eating it.


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