UBC Theses and Dissertations
Viewing immigrant labour integration through an intersectional lens : information and identity in the settlement of African immigrants to Metro Vancouver, British Columbia Mabi, Millicent Nnebuogor
Background: Many immigrants arrive in Canada in hopes of finding a better life for themselves and their families. Securing meaningful employment positions immigrants to have a meaningful quality of life and contribute to the host countries’ society and economy. Access to information about employment is crucial to this process and yet inadequately understood. Objectives: This research sought to determine the kinds of information that African immigrants value when seeking meaningful employment, how they access employment information, what information services are available to support immigrant labour integration, how participants utilized these and how these services could be enhanced, and finally, any relationships among participants’ multifaceted identities, information and employment. Methods: Data were collected through qualitative document analysis of information presented on the websites of settlement and employment agencies in five Metro Vancouver cities, and semi-structured interviews with 25 Black African immigrants in Metro Vancouver. The interview incorporated Information World Mapping, an arts-based elicitation activity. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The document analysis revealed an abundance of employment support being offered to immigrants. However, the interviews revealed that participants utilized only a few of these. The interviews also explained this gap and highlighted opportunities for providing information that participants deemed more relevant to them. Participants valued three types of employment information and obtained these both serendipitously and purposefully through a variety of information sources. Sources of information included institutions in Canada, online sources and other people. Participants’ pre-migration employment expectations contrasted with realities in Canada, while intersectional factors such as immigration status and gender were found to be major determinants of employment and information access. Conclusion: This research has made contributions to theory, research methods and the practice of information provision. This project also demonstrates the generative capacity of a novel research method for this type of inquiry and population. This has led to significant methodological insights. Finally, results of the study suggest that employment information provision that accounts for the intersectional identities of the recipients could be valuable in making support more relevant for immigrants. Future research could explore the dynamics of such intersectional information provision.
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