July 21, 2017 Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Deskilling immigrants is going to cost Canada tons of money in health care claims Social Work professor. Deskilling refers to immigrants or refugees working in jobs that are not equal to their education and skills.

Dr. Bharati Sethi, Associate Professor of the School of Social Work at King’s University College created a photo series that displays the challenges skilled immigrants face in Canada.

“I did this exhibit so that we can reach a lot of non-academic audiences and policy makers and show what immigrant women are experiencing in terms of their work situation in Canada,” Dr. Sethi told CTV London during an interview on July 19, 2017.

Dr. Sethi gave refugee women cameras to record their work experiences. Sethi converted their images and text into framed displays with themes such as “Health and Family” and “Adaptation.”

A frame entitled “Barriers to work and Resettlement in Grand Erie” shows a picture of a toilet, a red traffic light and a garbage can. Under each photograph, an immigrant woman describes how that object reflects her experience in Canada. “They just see me like I am nothing… just like the toilet” states the text under a picture of a toilet.

Dr. Sethi’s passion for immigrant issues comes from her first-hand experience. She spoke to CTV London about the difficulties she faced to earn her degree while working a full-time job. “We have now some research on deskilling but we don’t know how deskilling is impacting the health and identity of immigrants.”

Dr. Sethi gives examples of women who were directors of human resources or marketing in their home countries who are now working low-grade jobs in Canada. “There needs to be more programs for immigrants who are new to Canada which will help them with the transition.” 

Dr. Sethi is a co-investigator in a multi-grant project with Dr. Sepali Guruge of  Ryerson university that is exploring the integration models of refugees — what is working and what is not. She is the Principal investigator for the London site.

 “Do You See What I see?” will be on display at the Westmount branch of the London Public Library, located at 3200 Wonderland Rd. South, until July 31, 2017.