Essay on Canadian Immigration
This essay will answer the question whether immigration to Canada is a mistake or worthwhile experience. It is my personal conviction that moving to a country like Canada is a suboptimal decision for three main reasons: firstly, newcomers experience severe and debilitating culture shock; secondly, there is a scarcity of good jobs in the country, especially in the wake of the global financial crisis; and last but not least, immigrants have to grapple with language and communication barriers, which have a bearing on two previous arguments preventing them from adapting to the new way of life and finding gainful employment.
Culture shock, which can be best described as stress caused by moving to a completely new environment, is very likely to be experienced by newcomers to Canada. A culture shock occurs “when our own culturally determined behaviors, some of which we may not even be aware of, do not get us the results we expect; this produces a sense of psychological disorientation” (Canadian Bureau for International Education, 2009, para. 4).
In Canada, cultural differences with countries that are most likely to serve as immigrants’ point of origin – those located in Africa and Asia – are indeed significant. While Canadian values might seem very attractive and laudable, such as gender equality, concern for the environment and a firm belief in personal liberty, they are not shared universally around the world. For instance, a Muslim woman coming to Canada might be shocked by Canadian girls wearing mini-skirts and revealing tops.
Another reason why not to immigrate to Canada is the gloomy perspectives for immigrant job-seekers. While Canada is considered to be a classical model of social welfare state, the situation is being reversed now. With the recent liberalization of Canadian economy, the unique social system of that country can be destroyed, and many welfare benefits previously available to Canadians and immigrants will be scrapped. Immigrants are likely to rely on welfare to a larger extent than the country’s citizens, since it takes a much longer time for them to find a suitable job. Immigrant job-seekers have to learn a language and get socialized into Canadian culture. Furthermore, they have to deal with tacit discrimination some employers can implicitly manifest. Even if immigrant job-seekers succeed in finding a job, it is usually low-paid, often part-time, and sometimes illegal altogether. Moreover, there is a constant pressure from new incoming immigrants, who might be so desperate to find a job that they offer lower price for their services, creating a downward pressure on wages. Immigrants who have been in employment already are faced with a choice to accept lower pay or be fired. Overseas job-seekers also might encounter difficulties adapting to Canadian business culture. For example, in many countries of the South as opposed to the North, the importance of personal relationships is very high (Katz, 2006). People coming to Canada from Southern countries might fail to understand that using personal relationships or gifts in business life it totally unacceptable; they might be accused of nepotism and bribery and even pressed legal charges against.
As concerns language and communication barriers, there is an opinion that Canada has traditionally been a cosmopolitan country, ready to accept and accommodate people from different parts of the world and cultural backgrounds. As an immigrant nation, it had to embrace diversity and multiculturalism. The Canadian values are most frequently associated with social cohesion, empathy, and tolerance; the country’s underlying values are believed to be peace, neutrality, and consensus-based conflict resolution. It is true that for many decades “Canada had been among the most tolerant and accommodating countries to its immigrants in the world, and where celebration of diversity for its own sake had been made almost an official fetish” (Dalrymple, 2000, para. 2). However, this might be changing now. Immigrants are no integrated as easily in the mainstream society as they once were. A phenomenon of Chinese or Somali ghettoes is becoming more and more widespread. Immigrants from particular regions living compactly together do not mingle with Canadians or other ethic groups and therefore do not learn the language and do not get socialized into the mainstream culture. This, in turn, causes inter-ethnic relations to sour; immigrants feel they are isolated from the rest of the society and start to build resentment.