Advocacy program aims to help foreign engineers


Six years after Rubaiyat Khondker immigrated to Canada as a professional engineer, he’s yet to get a job in his field.


He’s worked three years as a lab technician, and completed a masters degree in material science and engineering from McMaster University. But the engineer with 10 years of experience overseas still can’t get a Canadian job.


Because of situations like this the Engineers Association of Bangladesh in Hamilton has launched a Foreign-Trained Immigrant Engineers Support and Advocacy program.


It aims to lobby government, employers, recruiting agencies and settlement services to integrate engineers in their field.

“We did not come here to drive cabs,” says the association president Reazul Hasan. “The stagnation of (our) dreams ultimately leads us to bury our professional career.”

Hasan told the audience attending the launch of the program earlier this week that the statistics of their members here show that 72 per cent have bachelors degrees, 21 per cent a masters or some university or college diploma from Canada and 7 per cent a PhD.

Despite this, adds Hassan, about 80 per cent are working survival jobs and fewer than 15 per cent are employed in engineering-related jobs.

Every engineer must have a minimum of a year’s experience in Canada to able to be able to certify an engineering job. But with no job opportunities or programs in their field, skilled professionals will not be able to get that experience.

The association has made a number of broad proposals to the government. Included are:

• If engineers must undergo Canadian training, the government should pay the cost.

• Recognize engineering skills and experience while also providing the opportunity for Canadian experience.