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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experiences of Mainland Chinese immigrant professionals who believe they have made a successful transition : strategies that help or hinder Zheng, Lulin


Existing literature details the unemployment or underemployment situation of immigrant professionals in Canada. Very few studies describe or explain how, in spite of the barriers and challenges, some immigrant professionals handle their transitions well. The purpose of this study was to explore the first-hand experiences of Mainland Chinese immigrant professionals who believe they have made a successful transition. The study asks the questions: What helped or hindered immigrant professionals to successfully deal with changes that affect their work? What would have been more helpful to deal with changes? Eleven immigrant professionals from Mainland China volunteered to participate in the study. Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT) was used to elicit helping and hindering critical incidents and wish list items. Data was primarily analyzed using CIT methodology (Flanagan, 1954). The study elicited seven helping, hindering and wish list categories: (1) Personality/Traits/Attitude; (2) Support from Family/Friends; (3) Taking Actions; (4) Education/Credential/Work Experience; (5) Government/Community/Professional Organization Resources; 6) Work Environment; (7) Self-care. The results of the study highlight the structural and personal barriers faced by the immigrant professionals, which reaffirmed the findings in the existing literature. The study also identifies various strategies used by immigrant professionals to do well. Specifically, personal attitude, being prepared and networking were among the most cited helping strategies. Although the majority of the immigrant professionals in the study experienced negative emotions with the transition from one country to another, some appeared not affected by this process. Also included in the study are practical implications of the study results and future research.

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