Right before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in B.C. in March 2020, Tenth welcomed several new refugee families into the community. And it was earlier in May 2021 – over 365 days later – that these individuals have received their work permits. Typically the process is only a few months; things have been delayed significantly with the virus.
As we celebrate the news, we also now look for entry-level jobs, and employers who are willing to offer employment to newcomers.
Time after time I have met highly skilled refugees with a Master’s degree or PhDs working in the highest sectors of their profession. Yet, landing an entry-level job in Vancouver has been extremely challenging. Despite their extensive education and experience, newcomer resumes are overlooked because of their lack of Canadian job experience. And the likelihood of working the same job in Canada as they did back home is slim to none. This disparity has severely affected their sense of identity and self-worth.
It is easy to be defined by our jobs. But as people who follow Jesus, our calling in this world is beyond the work we do. We have been called to love one another. The careers we hold are opportunities to work for God and welcome His goodness.
Ken Shigematsu’s sermon on May 23 encouraged people in leadership to consider how they can bring compassion, mercy, and justice to their workforces. His example of being a buyer for sweatshops in Southeast Asia is not applicable to all. However, we are all part of a sinful and broken world that needs justice. And we have the ability to make choices which benefit others.
Something we invite you to consider is how you can welcome justice through the workplace. Let us welcome goodness and justice by engaging with those in our midst.
Our community has backgrounds in business, finance, healthcare, communications, non-profit sector, project management, IT, engineering, law. If you are interested in knowing more or connecting with us, email Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.