While Canadian evidence on labor market barriers and outcomes facing immigrants to Canada is strong, there is very little research on the experiences of internationally educated researchers (IERs). It is estimated that hundreds of highly skilled researchers (epidemiologists, statisticians, analysts, clinician researchers, monitoring and evaluation specialists) come to Canada annually under these NOC classifications. However, we know very little about labor market trajectory of IERs, barriers they face, social and health impacts of these barriers, and about resources that could be mobilized to support IERs get decent work in research related fields.

If you are interested in this topic, share us your views about the following questions:

  • What are the labor market barriers and challenges faced by Internationally Educated Researchers (IERs) in securing decent work in their field?
  •  How do these barriers and challenges impact them in terms of health and socio-economic wellbeing?
  •  What are the potential solutions and resources to support the IERs in finding meaningful decent work in research related filed in the Canadian labor market? 

 Sumona Liza, Immigrant Insight Scholar, at Access Alliance is working on the Labor Market Study project. She can provide more information and will answer your questions.

 Thank you,


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  • Thank you Aysha for sharing your expectations, I am agreeing with all of your suggestions. 

    I just want to add something that I learned with my own experience and communication with other IERs as well. Many IERs and I came to Canada with many years of experience in research, after our PhDs. We are in our late 40s or 50s, having to support our families financially and our savings deploys quickly. So, entering the job market is so important for us that have us to accept entry level jobs that leave us no extra time for attending a bridge or educational program, and also have negative effects of gradually missing our language proficiencies and even research skills.

    Therefore, the only chance for us would be a paid internship, a research fellowship or post-doctoral fellowship. But, in the real world, there is almost no paid internship for IERs, the post-doc positions are designed for new PhD graduates with less than 3 or 4 years of experience and the research fellowships are granted to young researchers.  I, myself, even tried to get a research assistant job many times in the recent years. But, even with downgrading my resume, I could not get even a single invitation to interview; because, based on the job postings, they prefer young graduates with just a couple years of experience too. 

    I want to conclude by adding my expectations of:

    1) Making some post-doctoral fellowships available for older, more experienced IERs

    2) As well as the research fellowships that are already specially designed for young researchers, make a few opportunities available for senior IERs too

    3)  The IRSN now have a community of researchers and have the potential of giving service to the research centers by, for example, accepting some small projects related to the ongoing researches, like conducting research interviews or observations, literature reviews and anonymous qualitative or quantitative data analysis, and referring them to the interested members as part time jobs.  

    Thank you

  • Hello everyone:

    Please see in below link a very inspiring story about two immigrants, who struggled to find a job. Their story is moving as they found a very creative way of dealing with the difficult labour market in Canada. They used their own creativity and came up with an initiative to not only help themselves but also extend their support to other immigrants:


    What you are about to read is a true story. Any resemblance to real characters is not coincidental, because it means you’ve probably met us; somewher…
    • This is such an inspiring story Emal. Thank you for sharing. The fact they are giving back to the immigrant community once they became successful deserves accolades.

  • Immigration policy encouraged us and we were accepted as skilled workers category. I have more than 25 years of experience as a medical laboratory technologist (MLT) and I had to start from scratch when I landed in Canada. My experience was waved away and I had to complete a learning plan and get certified in an attempt to get a job. I am really frustrated and I think many others like myself are too. I thought of switching my career to research as I am really interested in doing research  related to stem cell therapies. I hold a Master’s degree in biological sciences. Do I have to go into a learning plan and examination before getting a job in research?   Maybe what I am saying appears personal, but I think some other immigrants feel the same thing.

    I need your advice

    • Hi Laila,

      First, thank you so much for joining the IRSN web portal. Second, many other skilled workers face the same challenges and barriers that you have explained. Since you have indicated in your profile that you three years of research experience, therefore, it may sound reasonable to focus on research positions. The research sector is not licensed and there is no examination process in place. You can get further formal training in the field of research, for instance, the Humber College has a research program that seems promising and many found useful. You can send me an email if you require further information. I hope it answers your questions.

      Thank you

  • The robust immigration policy of Canada is attracting many skilled immigrants like internationally educated researchers (IERs), doctors, pharmacists etc. to settle in Canada. However, underutilization of their skills and deskilling is reducing the economy by $2 to $3 billion annually. From our discussions repeatedly a number of challenges/barriers came up: language barrier, communication barrier, networking, Canadian work experience etc. Although the goverment is providing various supports through  language skills development and career bridging programs but it does not seem to serve the purpose for our IERs. Therefore, according to you, what kind of support from the Government would you like to receive to integrate internationally educated researchers into the research field in Canada? Please share your views.

    Thank you,


    • Thank you so much Sumona for providing this information.

    • Hi Sumona

      I am still not aware of any bridging programs for Internationally Educated Researchers. If you have information about any such programs, can you please share that in the portal?

      These are some of my expectations from the government

      1) Provide free bridging programs for IERs in collaboration with the Universities. I have learned that bridging program for Internationally Educated Social Workers at Ryerson has really helped many non-profit professionals get an entry into the job market. Please see the link below
      https://ce-online.ryerson.ca/ce/default.aspx?id=2334. It would be great if they can introduce similar bridging programs for Researchers.

      2) Provide paid internships for Internationally Educated Researchers in various government agencies

      3) Ensure that adequate number of post-doctoral fellowships are granted to internationally educated researchers

      4) Collaborate with settlement agencies to provide capacity building for their employees on how to provide efficient and meaningful services for IERs

      Thank you

      Ryerson University: The Chang School (2018–2019): Internationally Educated Social Work Professional…
      The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada’s largest, most successful continuing education program, with approximately 70,000 en…
    • Hi Ayesha,

      Although there is no specific bridging programs for researchers I have found a few links that could give you some ideas. Most of them are Health Research based. Please check them out.






      Thank you.


      Bridging program helps foreign-trained researcher tap into Canadian job market | Institute for Work…
    • Thank you very much Sumona for sharing the links. I will check them out.

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My success story


It is my pleasure to thank all IRSN members and IRSN team for their initiatives to support new immigrants  in Canada . I was one such immigrant, who benefited from their support. I left a very successful career in my country and migrated…

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