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Immigrants Return to Motherlands for Work

My father always had a very clear idea of what he wanted for me. He never gave up the idea…

By amanda sung , in The Immigrant , on February 9, 2009 Tags: , , , ,

My father always had a very clear idea of what he wanted for me. He never gave up the idea that I was going to return to Taiwan for work after getting as much Canadian education as possible. In my father’s prediction, I would learn English, go to a prestigious university, be the first woman (sorry, no sons in my family) among all my cousins to have a Master degree, and come home with all sorts of glory that he could brag about. It turned out that my dad was right – I have managed to achieve almost everything he imagined. Almost.

I actually never really considered going back to Taiwan for work. I always assumed I would (be able to) earn my dream job and be the kind of woman that I want to be here in Canada. However, with the economy turmoil, I am beginning to realize that Asian immigrants are going to have a hard time competing against Canadian Caucasians regardless how qualified we are.

Last month, an English online news based in China published an article titled Canada Urged to Maintain Ties with Chinese Immigrant Returnees. The story points out the trend that many talented Chinese immigrants and foreign students come to Canada for education and stay only for a short period of time before heading back to their motherlands.

In my previous posts, I have referred to several comments on news stories about immigrants, and many bloggers seemed to assume that immigrants came to Canada only to abuse the education and other resources and that we went back home to work instead of staying here to contribute to Canadian economy after we finish our degrees. Many Canadian Caucasians totally buy into this theory.

Further in the article, the reporter writes that emerging market opportunities in China and the lack of career advancement opportunities in Canada and other developed countries. This is an experience that few Caucasians who are born and raised in Canada all their lives would have a chance to encounter because technically they only have one motherland and that is Canada. Unlike me and other immigrants like me, we exist in two different worlds.

The most recent example I have had is a friend of mine who recently graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Commerce. He applied for an accounting position at Vancouver Deloitte but was rejected. He then applied to the same position at the Deloitte branches in Shanghai and Taipei. Guess what? He got the job right away.

To put this in perspective, I have learned that this new wave of Chinese transnationalism is actually happening all over the world.

According to USA Today, many Polish immigrants have reportedly migrated back to Poland after their job opportunities in Britian diminished.

The Polish immigrants in Britian have this nickname “Polish Plumber” just like the nickname that Chinese immigrants have in North America, “Chinese Maid”.

The media is partially to blame as well. There has been too many cases of stereotypical images of Chinese housekeepers or owners of restaurants famous for their sweet & sour pork, which by the way, “real” Chinese never eat. The truth is, just because the Polish in Britian are plumpers and the Chinese in Canada are maids, it doesn’t mean they can’t do better back at where they come from.

The USA Today article indicates that some Polish immigrants have returned to Poland and “moved up the ladder” to better-paying jobs after improving their English, saving money and bettering their education Britian. What Britian does not offer them can usually be found in Poland. It’s the same concept with Chinese and North America.

Who knows? Maybe I will turn out exactly just as what my father pictured. Maybe in Taiwan I will possess what I can’t be granted here in Canada.