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HomeNATIONALThousands of skilled workers on the edge, as Canada's immigration programs get...

Thousands of skilled workers on the edge, as Canada’s immigration programs get harder

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The 32-year-old web designer quit her job in Iran and essentially restarted her career in 2018 when she decided to spend her life’s savings to attend school in Canada. In the past six years, she studied, worked during the pandemic-induced labour shortage and paid her taxes with the hopes of becoming a permanent resident one day.

But with her work permit set to expire in December and the conditions to become a permanent resident a lot tougher than when she first entered Canada, or even a year ago, the Toronto resident faces the “unfair” prospect of returning to Iran by year-end.

“(This phase) actually feels like a big waste in my life,” she said. “A waste of my money, a waste in my mental health. I invested a lot in this country. Going back without getting anything makes me feel like a loser.”

About 500 kilometres away from Ahmedi, in a rural town in Ontario, Dinesh Chandra* faces an even tougher situation. The 29-year-old, who came to Canada from India as a student about five years ago, had to quit working as a cybersecurity analyst in February since his work permit ended in March.

Today, he delivers pizza for a store that’s owned by his friend and earns cash under the table.

“I think I earn as much as I used to pay in taxes every month while working as a cybersecurity analyst,” he said. “This is a drastic change in my life.”

Chandra, whose parents took out a number of loans to send him to Canada, said he has worked on projects that helped prevent hacking attempts against Canadian financial institutions and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of client investments from hackers.

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