By Jorge Villanueva
On paper, Gary Lin would be your ideal immigrant.
Prior to coming to Canada in 2001 from his native Taiwan, he had a PhD in engineering, was educated at an American university and was even proficient in English.
But, as Lin quickly learned, an impressive resume doesn’t automatically equate to success in Canada.
“[In 2000], Canada was recruiting skilled immigrants especially in the engineering field and in environmental engineering, which is my major,” Lin says.
“I saw an ad in the newspaper by an immigrant consultant and called them. It looked like a good opportunity.”
Based on his credentials, his application was approved in about one year and he quickly made the trek to Canada with his wife and two young children. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Lin wasn’t able to find a job in his field right away. In fact, it took him two years to get back into engineering.
“[When I came here], I didn’t even know where to start,” he says.
“At the time before I came here I managed to get Microsoft certification. So [when I got to Vancouver] I did survival jobs in IT.”
For two years, Lin worked multiple jobs in the IT industry and as a part-time teacher at private colleges in order to make ends meet. Better than working as a cashier or taxi driver, but still not his ideal career.
In 2002, almost two years after immigrating to Canada, Lin signed up for an Immigrant Services Society (ISS) of B.C. job placement career development workshop.
It changed his life.
“The one thing unique is that they encourage the use of cold calls. Nobody likes to make cold calls, right? Especially in my culture from my country, nobody dares to do it,” he says.
“I was brave enough to give it a try. I went to the Vancouver Public Library, I did some research and identified some potential [engineering consulting] companies and then I just made the phone calls.”