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Open hearts and open access for immigrant professionals [microform] : a case study of Chinese immigrant engineers in the Greater Vancouver region, British Columbia, Canada Bai, Lian


Successful economic integration benefits both recent skilled immigrants and Canada. Researchers have indicated that human capital, social capital and gender all affect the economic integration of skilled immigrants. Few studies, however, examine the association between post-immigration human capital development and occupational attainment. Little is known about how professional regulatory bodies, immigration services agencies and educational institutions affect the development of social capital once individuals have arrived at their immigration destination. There is also limited knowledge about how female skilled immigrants overcome dual barriers as "immigrants" and "females" to achieve occupational attainment. In this dissertation I draw on data collected through interviews on the employment experiences of 23 Chinese-Canadian immigrant engineers who live in Vancouver, Canada. My findings indicate that human capital is not static; rather it undergoes continuous development in response to changes in the skills deemed important from one labor market to another. Financial support from Canadian governments is needed in order to raise the economic returns of post-immigration human capital. I also find that institutional involvement helps Chinese-Canadian immigrant engineers acquire social capital. The coordination between key stakeholders will facilitate economic integration of skilled immigrants. Finally, my study indicates that female Chinese-Canadian immigrant engineers actively forge and mobilize social resources in order to successfully develop their careers in Canada.

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