Soon after coming to Canada I started looking for work in the research field in Canada. I felt confident about getting a job in my field. However, my confidence was fading away and was being replaced slowly by the frustration of not getting an interview call despite having the professional training and work experience that were sought by the job advertisements. Soon, I was advised by my acquaintances that I need Canadian work experience or academic training to get a job in Canada. My frustration level had elevated with that thought. I promised myself that I will integrate into the labour market and find myself an employment in my field. I started looking for scopes to gain Canadian experience. I discovered that there are several placement opportunities, publicly funded, for skilled immigrants with finance, marketing, computer etc. related background.  Not a single opportunity had I found helps immigrants with research background by providing placement opportunities until I become aware of a new initiative launched by Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services in Toronto. The Immigrant Insight Scholar Initiative (IIS), an idea that was designed by the pioneers at Access Alliance, the Senior Research Scientist Yogendra Shakya and Director Axelle Janczur, to create a career-bridging program for internationally educated researchers (IERs). I randomly came across to the IIS opportunities and the rest is a history. The history of the beginning, the history of the journey of an internationally educated researcher who is passionate and determined about her research career.

The program offered me with the mentorship opportunities from the best researchers in the town. I was placed at the Institute for Work and Health and McMaster University and received tremendous guidance and support from my mentors Dr. Agnieszka Kosny and Dr. Stephanie Premji. During my fellowship period under the mentorship of Dr. Kosny and Dr. Premji, both of whom are the investigators and collaborators on projects focused on the work and health experiences of the newcomers to Canada. I worked in two projects which helped me hone my research skills, gain insights on the Canadian research sector and build a strong professional network. I finished my fellowship tenure and had a successful one year of local work experience to put in my resume. Without making any exception to the expectations posed by this design thinking by the pioneers at Access Alliance, that this fellowship will help internationally educated researchers to integrate into the Canadian labour market, I received an employment opportunity as a Research Associate and am currently working at the Institute for Work and Health. I believe, the IIS opportunity is the milestone in my journey of integrating into the Canadian labour market. I am grateful to everyone who believed in this initiative and supported this to develop. I have a strong desire to be in a position from where I can support this initiative in a meaningful way to bring about positive changes in the professional lives of the internationally trained researchers.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Immigrant Researchers Support Network (IRSN) to add comments!

Join Immigrant Researchers Support Network (IRSN)


  • Congratulation Momtaz!

    Your story of success reminds me not to give up and continue to find your own ways.  Thank you for instilling hope!

    All the Best


  • Hello Momtaz,

    Thank you for sharing this story that drives hope and enthusiasm for career life in Canada.

    I wish you all the best. 


  • Hello Momtaz,

    Thank you for sharing your story. It's really motivational for researchers who get tangled between professional aim and harsh reality. Your perseverance leading to success is amazing.

    The Immigrant Insight Scholar Initiative is one of it's kind that provides a platform to researchers as a stepping stone into the Canadian reseach environment and the IRSN network provides an excellent chance for networking. I hope more research organizations, like Institute of Work and Health, will come forward to innovative research opportunities for Internationally Educated Researchers. It will not only provide scopes for the IERs to integrate but also add to the continuous success of the organization itself.

    Wishing you all the best!


    • Thank you for your comment. I totally agree with you Sumona, more research organizations should come forward to support this amazing inititatives. 

  • Hi Momtaz,

    You are an inspiration for many of us, especially setting the high standards of quality work as part of Cohor 1 of IIS fellows. It's wonderful to see how an innovative approach like Immigrant Insight Scholars Initiative from the rsearchers at Access Alliance is actually helping to harness the potential of internationally educated researchers like us and simultaneously providing growth opportunities as well!

    Its even more fascinating to get to network with amazing researchers out there in the field through this IRSN portal to learn from and enrich our professional experience and learning.

    I wish you much more success in your future endeavors as you truly deserve!


    • Hey Neelam, thanks so much for your encouraging words. Can't agree more on how innovative the IIS initiative is! I totally love the IRSN platform.

  • Nice to hear from you Momtaz. You are a real inspiration for many here. I also appreciate Access Alliance that identified your ability, and brought out the best in you! Best wishes to you!

    • Hi Usharani,

      Pleasure hearing from you! Thanks a lot. Wishing you all the best!

  • Hi Momtaz

    This is an amazing story  wish you all the best



    • Thanks you Arwa. Wishing you all the best!

This reply was deleted.

Online Course: Research and Front-Line Work with Newcomers to Canada

 Learn how to apply research findings to your own practice and improve services for immigrants, refugees, and people with precarious or no status in Canada.The Wellesley Institute is excited to offer a second opportunity to take our new online course, Research and Front-Line Work with Newcomers to Canada. This training is intended to build knowledge and skills among front-line workers and their managers in the Greater Toronto Area in how to design, carry out, and share research with…

Read more…
0 Replies

Human Centred Design vs Design Thinking vs Service Design vs UX …. What do they all mean?

Not sure if this is appropriate to post here, so admins please feel free to delete this if not.As I explore and try to make sense of the terms, I came across this article on linkedin that attempts to explain them, and thought someone might find them useful. Anyone who works in or has knowledge of any of these, welcome to comment.

Read more…
1 Reply · Reply by Hossam Bakir Jul 27, 2021

Migrant aspirations

A new artilce (systematic literature review), published recently, summarises drivers of migration-why migrants live thier countries of origin. What do you think?

Read more…
1 Reply · Reply by Elda Dakli Jul 28, 2021