Twitter Chat Summary for #ImmigrantsThrive

This afternoon I participated in a World Education Services (WES)-sponsored Twitter chat, with the hashtag #ImmigrantsThrive. I thought I’d share my answers to their questions, along with some resources others shared that I found interesting and useful.

Q1: Access to affordable childcare and housing, reliable public transport, and good health care are critical predeterminants of financial stability. How can we ensure immigrants and refugees have access to these social supports and the ability to use them? #ImmigrantsThrive

A1: These are are crucial & critical predeterminants of stability for all Canadians. We’ve seen this become even more clear during the pandemic. Getting it right for newcomers means getting it right for everyone. #ImmigrantsThrive 1/3

A1: There are good examples of efforts that meet the unique needs of newcomers. Cities have a key role to play. That’s where settlement & inclusion happen. @citiesmigration Refugee Portal (& entire site) is a great space for inspiration #ImmigrantsThrive 2/3

A1: This video of Senator @ratnaomi discussing the origins of the @CitiesMigration project provides some important insights on the role cities can play: #ImmigrantsThrive 3/3

Q2: What strategies can financial institutions, non-profits, and start-ups deploy to advance the financial stability of immigrants and refugees? How might North American financial culture and services evolve to become more inclusive of these populations? #ImmigrantsThrive

A2: In a globalized economic system, I’ve always been struck at the lack of recognition of global credit. A credit card is a credit card. Too often newcomers have to restart their credit history, w no recognition of their international credit. That should change. #ImmigrantsThrive 1/7

A2: Banks have certainly been at the forefront of client-side inclusion, since newcomers are a growth consumer market for them. They also tend to be active in funding & supporting newcomers through mentorship, which is great. #ImmigrantsThrive 2/7

A2: We know that start-ups, like many employers, still have work to do to recognize the value of diversity. This is reflected in @MarSDD report Tech for All: Breaking Barriers in Toronto’s Innovation Community #ImmigrantsThrive 3/7

A2: Non-profits have much work to do when it comes to diversity. Senator @ratnaomi has excellent writing & links to recent research & reports on this. We know it’s not a new problem, one that has simply gotten a new lens put on it. #ImmigrantsThrive 4/7

A2: DiverseCity Counts started measuring the lack of diversity in institutional leadership in 2009. It is worth reflecting on the fact that we’ve known about the value of diversity-in-leadership for many years, along with ongoing inaction. #ImmigrantsThrive 5/7

A2: #ImmigrantsThrive only when all institutions (public & private) take on the task of diversity & inclusion more deeply. We have more signs of hope this year, but much work yet needs to be done. 6/7

A2: Places like @RyersonU Diversity Institute are doing important work on this As is @fsc_ccf_en in its research #ImmigrantsThrive 7/7

Q3: Which sectors and jobs do you foresee as having the greatest growth in the next ten years, and how can immigrants and refugees prepare for these high-growth jobs? And how can employers broaden their reach into these communities? #ImmigrantsThrive

A3: I always like to turn this over to @JohalSunil’s work. In this 2019 presentation, he explored the idea that Canada’s economic future hinges upon its success on getting immigration policy & settlement right. Always worth a watch. #ImmigrantsThrive 1/6

A3: Given that we cannot assume that the past drivers of economic growth will hold over the next few decades @JohalSunil suggests that immigration is a potential stable driver of economic growth. #ImmigrantsThrive 2/5

A3: Half the battle is for employers to listen to researchers like @JohalSunil. Then they need to actually act… Too many employers still haven’t taken those steps. & there are plenty of amazing resources on this Twitter Chat who can help them do just that! #ImmigrantsThrive 3/5

A3. Something important that @JohalSunil also discusses is Automation, the Future of Jobs, and Immigration. We need to be aware not only of future job trends, but also how automation will affect jobs typically filled by newcomers. #ImmigrantsThrive 4/5

A3: To get at the data & trends on automation and the potential impact on newcomers, watch @JohalSunil’s 2018 presentation Immigration in the Age of Automation 5/5

Q4: Let’s turn to policy: What policy solutions might help to break down undue barriers to employment for immigrants and refugees? Please respond with either U.S. or Canadian examples.  #ImmigrantsThrive

A4: There are decades of reports & learning on this. Here are just a few: We need to start writing fewer reports that ultimately make similar recommendations & actors need to act. #ImmigrantsThrive 1/4

A4: I like to refer people to various national & provincial task forces for a reality check of how far we’ve come. This 1999 paper is insightful: The Non-Accreditation of Immigrant Professionals in Canada: Societal Dimensions of the Problem #ImmigrantsThrive 2/4

A4: @JohalSunil has great ?s for policy-makers: Should we place a technology-screen on the skills prospective immigrants have? How can we ensure long-term coherence of immigration policy in light of labour market uncertainty over the medium-longer-term? #ImmigrantsThrive 3/4

A4: What data will inform decisions? How can we apply a human-capital lens to decisions? How can we ensure immigrants well-placed to thrive where soft-skills are prized? How will we ensure newly landed immigrants have access to adequate skills-training? #ImmigrantsThrive 4/4

Q5: Online learning is key for developing professional skills and competencies. How can online learning best support refugee and immigrant needs? What are some best practices in ensuring access? #ImmigrantsThrive

A5: We need to recognize that online learning isn’t for everyone, & that a lot of online teaching is poorly done. That being said, online learning isn’t new to newcomers. It’s global: Top 20 eLearning Statistics For 2019 You Need To Know #ImmigrantsThrive 1/3

A5: Online learning for newcomers can & should start before they even arrive in Canada. Much is already being done in pre-arrival services. More can & should be done, connecting them seamlessly to domestic services (in-person or online) when they arrive. #ImmigrantsThrive 2/3

Q6: What soft skills do immigrants and refugees need to navigate the North American workforce? What are best practices in ensuring access to effective training, especially during the pandemic? #ImmigrantsThrive

A6: The same soft skills that anyone needs to navigate the workforce. @linkedin has great data on trends in this area #ImmigrantsThrive 1/3

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A6: @nicknoorani has a great document outlining 9 Soft Skills No Immigrant Should Be Without Always great, practical, & insightful advice. #ImmigrantsThrive 2/3

A6: Here are some from @JohalSunil: Social and emotional intelligence; adaptability, creativity, & desire for constant learning; computational & analytic thinking #ImmigrantsThrive 3/3

Q7: What are some of the best scholarships and financial aid opportunities available to immigrants and refugees who want to study and improve their career trajectory in North America? #ImmigrantsThrive

A7: Innovative microloan programs like @windmillcanada are great examples. They are not yet large enough to reach all newcomers. But they are having an impact, and are growing. @citiesmigration has other great examples of this type of innovation Let’s replicate & grow them! #ImmigrantsThrive 

Q8: One final question: What is the single greatest opportunity/most important strategy to ensure that immigrants and refugees can contribute to the post-pandemic recovery in Canada and the U.S.? #ImmigrantsThrive

A8: Look at the treasure trove of knowledge, evidence, & policy recommendations that have been on the table for decades. Note the themes & recommendations focused on economic inclusion that resurface every few years. Act on & implement them this time. #ImmigrantsThrive 

Interesting resources shared by others:

WES Advisor E-Guides – tips and advice for international students and skilled immigrants in the U.S. and Canada

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