Global Talent Bridge Partner Blog

News on practice and policy affecting internationally trained immigrants and refugees

In Brief: York University Immigration Research Symposium

Friday June 8, 2018 | by Shaunna-Marie Kerr

At the recent York University Immigration Research Symposium international academics, researchers from the immigration and settlement sector, policy makers, and service providers discussed some of the challenges and changes that may be on the horizon of the Canadian migration landscape.

Whereas many Canadian conferences focus on traditional streams of migration and subsequent settlement efforts, The Future of Immigration considered broader migration patterns and themes.

Speaking on the importance of the research symposium, Dr. Luin Goldring of York University (and a founding member of the International Network for Migration and Development) stated, “I was impressed by the breadth of the topics. Conferences on immigration and settlement often focus on the experiences of immigrants and refugees that come through ‘normal’ streams… What I particularly appreciated was the attention to topics that are not always included in conferences of this kind.”

Goldring continued, “These included presentations on settlement, legal status, and transnational practices; a socio-legal perspective on how to study and conceptualize the criminalization of migration; and several fascinating talks on immigrant detention in Canada.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Alice Bloch from the University of Manchester Department of Sociology opened the symposium with a presentation on intergenerational transnationalism and the implications of second-generation refugees returning to the home countries of their parents. Dr. Bloch stated: “The continued transnationalism of refugee generations allows for greater introduction of global perspectives and reflections.”

Dr. Jelena Zikic, associate professor at York University, shared her recent work on the career transitions of skilled migrants in relation to the intersection of professional identity and structural or institutional barriers. Dr. Zikic highlighted the importance of local social capital for upward mobility of skilled immigrants, and provided the specific example of WES partner TRIEC’s Mentoring Partnership. Since 2004, the TRIEC Mentoring Partnership has created over 16,000 mentorship relationships in the Greater Toronto Area. In her presentation, Dr. Zikic also discussed the strong and lasting impact that structural barriers such as credential assessment and recognition have on migrants’ well-being and professional identity. Outcomes were considerably more positive in cases where skilled migrants’ educational and professional qualifications were recognized, and where migrants were able to leverage social capital. While research in this area traditionally focuses on the role of individuals in navigating the local labour market, Dr. Zikic suggests further examination of the responsibility of local communities and employers is essential.

Denise Jillions, director of credentialing initiatives and special projects at WES Global Talent Bridge recently spoke on this same issue at the Global Migration Forum in Geneva. As a leader in academic credential assessment, WES advocates not only for the recognition of migrant workers’ qualifications, but also for innovative practices and programs to support the labour market inclusion of skilled immigrants in Canada and the United States.

With presenters from a variety of disciplines and geographic locations, the York University Immigration Research Symposium offered participants a wide-range of presentations to consider. The day concluded with a series of panels on upcoming research by preeminent settlement and migration scholars.

For more information on current research initiatives of World Education Services, please visit our Research and Resources portal and World Education News + Reviews.

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Shaunna-Marie Kerr

Shaunna-Marie Kerr is a Senior Manager at WES Global Talent Bridge Canada.