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Dr. Taxi

Dr. Taxi

Canada:  Some say it’s not a country, it’s winter. In some parts of it, for about eight months of the year, the dog shit is too frozen to worry about. But what worries me most is that my fellow Pakistani taxi drivers are on the road all year round. The time has gone when Sikhs used to dominate the taxi business here; now it’s the Pakistanis who rule. From Yellowknife, a city near Arctic Circle, to the eastern cities, I can’t recall a single major city where I haven’t come across Pakistani taxi drivers.

Many of these drivers are those who jumped to the north of the border after 9/11. But a majority of them are highly qualified professionals who migrated to Canada during the past decade for a “better future for their children”. They include doctors, engineers , lawyers, professors, students, journalists and retired civil or military officers.

I also have some friends in the taxi business and many of you might not agree with me on how I see their lives. A majority of these skilled professionals came to Canada on the point systems, also known as the skilled category. Then, there is a large number of those who came here to study and ended up driving cabs. These skilled immigrants wait up to five years to obtain resident visas. However, the moment they land here, their degrees become worthless and the immediate need for survival changes their priorities. There can be no denying the fact that most of these professionals do not get a job even if they have the requisite skills and qualifications. And many of them with a Canadian Masters degree or even a PhD can be seen driving cabs.

The stated reason: No Canadian experience. So, what is Canadian experience? For most employers, it means exactly what it says — you do not have work experience in Canada. But it can also mean that an employer does not know how to evaluate the work you did outside of Canada with how it is done in Canada. It can also mean that an employer doesn’t think you’ll fit into their corporate culture. Or, it can even mean that the employer is discriminating against you. “If you are a person of color, you are seen differently,” an immigrant worker, who knows several skilled migrants engaging in “precarious” temporary employment, told me.

While employment in different fields requires fulfilling some kind of criteria, it seems rather unfair that employers insist on Canadian experience as opposed to thoroughly evaluating and examining a prospective employee. This is also why several skilled immigrants end up driving cabs instead of doing what they have been trained to do. Once, on a -35 degree Celsius cold winter day in Saskatchewan, a taxi driver pulled over near me and greeted me saying: “In Pakistan people call me “Dr. Iftikhar”, but here I am “driver Ifti”. Seeing a Pakistani doctor driving a taxi in freezing prairies was certainly not pleasant for me. Although, this was not the first time I came across a case like this: my first roommate in Canada who was a university professor in Pakistan was forced to work as a cab driver here.

One of the North America’s largest Pakistani communities, of nearly 350,000 people, lives in Ontario. Most of these people live in Toronto and on its outskirts, in Mississauga and Brampton. In Toronto, the Thorncliffe Park Drive area is the hub of Pakistanis and is also called the “Taxi Capital”. Interestingly enough, residents of this area also have one of the highest average years of education attained in the whole country.

Then, there are those who arrive in Canada with almost no command on the English language and they do not bother to work on their linguistic limitations while blaming Canada for not giving them enough opportunities. I know many who could have achieved so much more but couldn’t wait. They wanted to own big houses and drive lush cars and they wanted it fast. Their families hosted parties that got started and never ended. Their real reason for taking this course was mainly greed: earn quick cash by driving cabs and not worry about paying taxes.

But then again, despite the employment downside, Canada offers several social and educational benefits for newcomers, but certain regulated procedures are to be followed in order to gain from them. People who do not choose to follow these procedures are therefore sure to miss out on the system’s positives. I remember translating for an agricultural university professional at a clinic who was injured doing a cash job under the table right after he landed in Canada and therefore had trouble claiming workplace injury benefits. This would not have been a problem had he followed the proper procedures, such as paying taxes out of his income. I wish people immigrating to Canada would use some of the years waiting to obtain their visas to understand the Canadian system and keep the patience they developed while waiting for their visas after landing in order to tailor their skills. Recertification might take many years in Canada but please do not give up. It’s never too late.

Also, mostly, the newcomers are misled by some of our own Pakistani real estate agents. These agents put the newcomers under the burden of heavy mortgages which leads them into driving cabs and working overtime shifts at McDonalds, coffee shops, and sometimes under-paying biryani houses owned by our own desi folks.

Working odd hours is not easy. And when working means driving, it is even harder. It leaves the taxi drivers with no choice but to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle. They also get very little time to spend with their children and many of them often have troubled relationships with the members of their families. Health risks are also of much concern: A physician told me that South Asian cab drivers were increasingly suffering from heart diseases. Worst of all, I recall community radio stations collecting funds for the funerals of taxi drivers who died in horrific car crashes.

Much has changed in the past decade or so. There was a time when people in Canada referred to Pakistan as an agricultural country and the Pakistanis here as doctors and engineers. But this perception has now been replaced by the image of taxi drivers. Every time I joke to my Ukrainian immigrant friend Lonny that his country is famous for producing prostitutes, he shouts back “and your country is good for taxi drivers”. Well, both work on street and it’s not easy.

Mohsin Abbas is a freelance journalist based in Canada. He blogs at www.mohsinabbas.info

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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292 Responses to “Dr. Taxi”

  1. Slaman Latif says:

    It is indeed heart-rendering to know the circumstances of Pakistani community at Canada. Perhaps it would be a major help if the visa-issuing authority or the Pakistani authorities themselves arranged for some sort of English proficiency and skill-evaluation tests so as to give these men, who are lured to those lands, a true picture of the possible future. The worst part if often played by the agents who are the ones luring these men with far-fetched crap incentives, most of which of course go unfulfilled.
    At the same time, our government should really work on 1) improving the educational system so that it becomes acceptable internationally and 2)define definite degree-transfer terms with authorities overseas so that the degrees of Pakistani students are not dumped the moment their employers see Pakistan’s tag on them.

    • Amjad says:

      It has nothing to do with having a Pakistani degree – any foreign degree becomes an excuse not to hire someone when there is a tight job market. Speaking English also doesn’t matter in a comeptetive work place when there is a recession. If there are so many local Canadians looking for work with local qualifications and native language skills- obviously they will get preference. They too are hurting in the global recession. Believe or not, the Pakistanis who speak little English and have limited education often do better everywhere since they are not shy of hard work. It’s the so called educated class which can’t understand they they have to accept any job and work up! That’s why so many professionals from Pakistan and Third World countries prefer to live on welfare rather than do honest work! Welfare is like state social assistance or khayrat that lots of foreginers live on- they just don’t tell people and family back home that they live on asssistance. What amounts to social assistance or khayrat in Western countries lets them fool people at home into thinking they are still rich when they exchange the money!

  2. Saleem says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Pakistani qualification.

    I have seen generally all Pakistanis succeed here.

    Pakistanis who have chosen to live in America are generally very hardworking people & doing well.

    Only those who cannot work due to visa, and waiting for their green card may chose to drive cab. Students generally work in gas stations in the interim.

    We have the second largest population of Pakistani physicians after India, as an example, as a matter of fact, population ratio wise Pakistani physicians are higher in number.

    I have also met few Pakistani Americans who are now successful, and drove cabs early in their career for a short time to make living.

    I think it is good quality to have the built in readiness to drive cab, fix toilets, paint houses, construct houses, fix things, in case one finds oneself without a good paying professional job.

    People who are not ready to drive cab or take on low paying jobs have more difficulty in life when they lose their good paying jobs and not able to find a good one due to recession.

    Driving cab occasionally may teach us flexible attitude, even if we have a good paying job.

  3. Saleem says:

    The ones driving cab in the US are only those who have somehow managed their stay for the time being and waiting for green card.
    Pakistanis have good jobs, specially those who have been improving their skills by getting the certifications that are in demand. One has to be flexible, ready to change fields, and earn certifications, to be in demand.
    My advise to those with Pakistani engineering degree is to pass FE exam.

    Michigan is one of the states that do not impose conditions for taking the FE exam.

    First try to get this certification, then try to apply for engineering jobs.

    Michigan is the world capital of automobile industry.

    You have the largest automobile industries located in Michigan. GM & Ford are doing very well as a result of the recovery loans offered by Obama.

    The largest aircraft companies in the world are american. You have Boeing & Cessna outfits in Wichita Kansas and other places. Boeing’s headquarter is Chicago.

    There are plenty of Microsoft, SAP & Cisco certification you can go for, that the employer demands.

    Try to be in the field, where your presence is important, otherwise it is likely your job will be shipped out to India, and you may be the one imparting or orientation the initial training, and then find yourself on the street.

    Also, it does not help believing that there is discrimination, because think if you can deliver, you know what you are getting into, you have the right attitude, you will not face discrimination.

    It is part American culture & values to be at work early, do as the romans do. It is important to mind your business, and ignore what is not important, be friendly & light, and focus on helping your organization reach goals. The ones who complain, not disciplined are the ones to get into trouble.

  4. Abdur Rehman says:

    Mohsin’s ideas may be true on one hand but on the other, he should realize that there are countless Pakistanis in many respectable Canadian professions. There is no age limit for any kind of education in Canada and all Canadians including the new comer educated immigrants are supported by the government in the form of student loans, bursaries and scholarships.
    The most recent surveys in different universities and other engineering and technological institutions across Canada, shows that Pakistani students have out-numbered even Chinese. This is a good trend. I live in the city of Calgary, the province of Alberta. This city is known as the oil capital of Canada. I know many Pakistanis in this city alone, who are doctors, university professors, technologists, pharmacists and top executives of many prominent companies, living better and peaceful lives than they would have lived in Pakistan. Mr Mohsins should be fair enough to see both sides of the mirror. Yes, many Pakistanis drive taxis but the same taxi drivers can one day go to do education and become more prominent members of the society.

  5. ishfaq says:

    All immigrants out of Pakistan are just “spending their lives”, if you want to “live a life”, come back to Pakistan.

  6. Kashif says:

    Hello Mohsin,

    Whereas your article is insightful it has certain caveats; for example no study has been done to prove that vast majority of those taxi drivers are actually doctors or other educated people. Based upon one incident, a strong case can’t be made. However, taking it as has been portrayed, perhaps again a study needs to be done why those cab drivers emigrated to Canada leaving what Pakistan has to offer behind, and why did they chose to be taxi drivers?

    Now this may appear as a negative comment, however, at its heart it is meant to invoke discourse. Perhaps the treatment event the most intellectual back home get is of such quality that people chose jobs else where which are menial. Whereas my reasons to make this comment may be personal, I feel that whatever the reasons may be, taxi drivers are providing an important service to the community.

  7. Tahir Rizvi says:

    Money earned by honest days work as taxi driver or any other work is respectable. There is nothing wrong being a taxi driver, labor, waiter or handy man etc. Honest work of any kind is good and needed in day to day functioning of any economy. Pakistan lacks good workers in various trades because there is lack of respect for workers in the service trades. Pakistanis should learn to respect all works and all workers not just few professions and senior Government and Military positions. All honest days hard work is respectable.

  8. Saleem Chaudhry says:

    An excellent article. Almost all readers have raised great points, ideas and concerns. Joining others, I would like to raise few concerns too. As we all know, education system in Pakistan is at the brink of disaster. Majority of students who graduate from professional and non professional institutes adopt unfair means from admission to graduation. This is in addition to low eduction standards, which they encounter in institutes. No doubt there are few bright students too, but their ratio is ‘Attay Main Namak’. For these brilliant students, professional exams or competitions, anywhere in the world are normal things. Their abilities are recognized immediately and they find careers of their choice without any hurdle. Others who got degrees through unfair means are afraid to attempt equivalency exams and find solace in blaming Canadian system. As one of the readers have already mentioned, majority of the new immigrants come here with their families, therefore its very important for them to get work as soon as possible and break even financially. This is a fact and they cannot be blamed, but their is another aspect. These middle age immigrants were in middle or end of their careers back home. They were well settled and were having good life. In Pakistan, good life means, laziness, dependence on subordinates and servants. These people are not as hard working as they would have been in initial stages of their careers. Therefore it becomes very hard for them to start all over again. Their bodies are not used to it anymore. Another big problem, which these Pakistani new immigrants face is that, most of the Pakistani married women are not permitted to work outside their homes. In Canadian way of life, every adult member of the family must work. As most of the Pakistani new immigrants live close by, therefore all are shy to break this cultural barrier. To make both ends meet, the male partner is forced to work extra hours, which results in bad health, bad relationship and inability to pursue career goals.

    • Saif says:

      Saleem,

      Our value system is different, when you say we do not “permit” our spouses to work, the fact is that we do not FORCE our wives to work the way Hindus and Sikhs do. It is more important that our children be imparted with good Islamic values. The man should work, if the man has to work 16 hours a day.. so be it! this is what separates REAL MEN from fake men who take the earnings from their wives. If you need a woman to support you, you are not a real man, there are plenty of Pakistanis who do very well and their women do not work rather they keep a good Muslim home where the children are brought up well and not running around like Canadian children.

      • tie2pak says:

        What’s wrong raising children around Canadian? It’s a great country, but it depends on people if they want to be part of the society.

  9. Saleem says:

    What is important, to be able to pay your bills, or sitting at home, and depend on others?

    Your talent, education, skills, family status, rich family members don’t matter, because they will not pay your bills, you have to, they may make you feel loser, who cares!.

    Nobody can make you feel let down unless you allow that person to make you feel bad. So take control.

    What matters is that you are responsible for your affairs, you take care of yourself, you take care of your family, you are able to tell your wife what to do, they listen to you because they know they can count on you, you are the man!

    A person who takes pride in honest hard work, regardless of his qualification, is more honorable than a person who is idle, corrupt, dishonest, has made money through bribes and kickbacks, or any of them.

    No matter how glamorous it may seem, a person who has become rich by stealing money or taking kickbacks and bribes, is a LOW LIFE.

    There is nothing wrong in trying your best, working hard, being able to speak your mind, being willing to take the challenges of life head on.

    Life is all about willingness to take the challenges head on, even if it means going out the door, and driving a cab, cleaning toilets, helping those in need.

    The best route for the college graduates & experienced to make up the difference is to do the research, and earn some valuable certification, pass the test & acquire the certification, and accept any opportunity in technical fields.

    It is important to acquire certifications in the area of your interest. If you like teaching, then work on meeting the state requirements, step by step, as an example.

  10. Imran says:

    The author raises a valid point about the difficulties in joining the canadian workforce… however the article does not acknowledge the fact that driving a cab is actually a very well paying profession.

    Taxi drivers can make more money than most people working average desk jobs.

    Also even though the Canadian government acknowledges the fact that the education that is valued at the time of evaluation for immigration is not valued similarly at the time of employment in Canada, and the country has put in significant steps that will address these issues (slowly.. but surely)

    Also another factor that is mentioned in the article, but not stressed is that, it is the need to earn money to stay afloat from day one that forces individuals to take odd jobs (and I am not saying that driving a cab is an odd job or that there is anything wrong with that). Its really the circumstances of the families that determine the future.

    Canadian Immigrants from Russia / China arrive here with much more money and hence have the staying power to wait and find a suitable job in line with their previous experience, Pakistani’s don’t.

    Most importantly, the situation in Canada really is not that different from other western countries that have open immigrations.

  11. Saif says:

    The biggest problem with Pakistanis here in Canada is professionalism, I have told many Pakistanis here to improve their English, and complete a professional CV, EVERY SINGLE PAKISTANI CV I have received has spelling mistakes, inconsistent formatting, and incorrect grammar. To all the Pakistani Canadians, please proof read your CV, and take the time to hone your English skills, there are free courses offered at night school, these two small things will pay huge dividends. Another item that will help look Canadian, shave your moustache, have a professional haircut, dress like Canadians do, and please, please, please make sure you or your clothes don’t smell like our food, keep your wardrobe closed and put an open box of baking soda and some fabric softener sheets on the hangers, nothing turns off Canadians than the smell of our food.

  12. tie2pak says:

    For those attacking Dawn or the blogger, you can relax. Dawn’s view is not represented here in the blog, nor is its standard in terms o journalism. Blogs are not exactly the same thing as journalism. Further, you should have your own point of view even if it is Dawn’s view here. I agree with the blogger in that professionals are not enjoying their professions is a big deal. They are of course entitled to choose/change their professions at any time in their career or life. But the increasing incidents of domestic violence, deteriorating health conditions of these fellows, less oriented children, etc. that were associated with taking up cab-driving should ring the bell that all these people might not have voluntarily chosen driving taxi as their profession. Then it becomes a big deal, doesn’t it? It could be pure fear they have in a new system, it could be lack of confidence in their own skills, it could be survival needs, it could be lack of knowledge of the system, it could be pure laziness. This list can go on and on. And each reason might go back to the education system back home, immigration system in Canada, social institutional prejudice in both countries/systems, and on and on. For those who have handled all the odds and rise above, hats off to you. For those struggling for a real “better future”, good luck! For those content with whatever they are doing right now, I am happy for you. For those who try to defend, even though I don’t see the need, I respect you for having your own thought. For those who are a little puzzled, please take a little moment to think what you really want because after all, your life is your choice.

  13. Khalid says:

    The fact is that even degree or primary school education from Canada or US is no longer recognized in Pakistan anymore. My daughter is 8 years old and she is currently attending a very reputed primary school in Canada.She went for her school admission tests in a reputed school of Karachi where they straightforward rejected her stating that Canadian educational standard is too low, than the current competition and educational standard of Pakistan. I have lived in Australia for 7 years and found Australia/NZ passport and educational system no better than Pakistan. Australia/NZ is very isolated and very small limited market. In US, Canada,UK or Europe the Australian passport or Australian degrees have same equal value as of Pakistani passport (no difference except just few visitor/tourist visa free entry as it used to be on Pakistani passport too 35 years back). At least EU/UK have a greater competative market which is closer to Canada/US market.These both junctions are hubs of oppurtunities and business.

  14. Moin Kamak says:

    Hi,

    Please don’t blame Canada. I came in 1975 and got a job in two weeks time in my field of Hotel Mgt. Language and accent is the main barrier for Pakistani coming from Urdu medium schools. I went to English Medium school and had good education. My children are all studied here and high paying jobs. You have all chances in the world to rise to the top without any problems. For Godsake do not blame Canadians or its system. In Pakistan, we are Islamic nation but have worse corruption, regionalism and no dignity of labour. Pakistani Taxi drivers are very well off. Go to Gulf countries, you are treated like animals by Muslims brothers. Thank God I am in Canada.

  15. Ali Ahmed says:

    There is discrimination and racism in Canada in every walk of life, against “Pakis” and Muslims. If a person is from Germany, Japan or even India, of other religions that’s okay, as they are not perceived to be a threat to the West. This is the reality of Canada today, where dreams of most of our people are shattered. Many Pakistanis have returned back to Pakistan.

  16. Yasir says:

    What’s so bad about being a taxi driver and what’s so good about being an engineer. We need to change our perceptions.
    More important is we should not immigrate. Not as engineers and doctors even.

    • Natarajan says:

      There is nothing wrong in being a taxi driver. However the author makes a different point – of doctors and engineers driving taxis to make their ends meet.

  17. infant says:

    Really awesome stuff for all blog lovers.

  18. misha says:

    Well in my opinion we are in a state mainly for the choices we make. No one else to be blamed but ourselves. Living in Canada with an MBA from Pakistan and well spoken in English I just got my way through after an initial struggle with the 1st job as they needed “Canadian experience” and I asked them where can I buy it from as I just landed in Canada and so on and my 1st job at American Express bank came through that way and after that on my resume Ive had no issues getting into any other place. Few of them want some more skills and others take me for what I am worth and I am ok with that.

    Now my husband has a different story as he’s a dentist from back home. Most of his friends are still giving exams after 5 yrs and are working part time at mcdonalds etc but THATS my point THEY CHOSE THAT THEMSELVES! they do have goals to achieve and this is just a transitory period so they want to make some money but also focus on their primary goals that are their exams. Medical field is tough to get in here they all know because once there you earn like crazy, its prestigious, well respected and recession free so its worth the wait. They had a choice to sit in their home countries and practice but they saw its worth here so decided to give it a shot. I don’t at all feel bad for anybody here because that’s the choice they made themselves, nobody made them leave their country at gun point. They wanted a better live and migrated. Everything cant be laid out all perfectly for any one. One has to work hard. Plus driving a cab is like a jack pot for the uneducated class from back home. Ive seen them having paid off houses etc here whereas in Pakistan they were hand to mouth. As for the educated class this is just a stop gap arrangement and they know it very well. They can go to US or any where else yet write in billion exams because that’s how it is. Few years of roughing out can give a fruitful future. How can they fail them in exams if they did everything right. Cant be the laws are strict here and they think its not worth it then why did they come here in 1st place. their choice really!

    • primeartist112 says:

      Why you guys are here then?? Go back. And why the he’ll you think you have a right on everything in Canada ??? There ‘re other people of other nations are here, these people have sacrificed a lot for Canada and done a lot of good things for Canada. How many Pakistani ‘s have done a volunteer work , not related with jobs. Just for the welfare or betterment of society. I bet one out of 50. I think we ‘re animals, we know only take, take and take. We ‘re not givers. If you ‘re not happy go back. Yea yea, you can’t go back ’cause you lied in your native land that you ‘re a success here.

  19. Tariq says:

    I strongly agree with Mohsin, our country fellow skilled immigrants should spend some time learning the Canadian job market and get certification instead of jumping on driving cabs….although its is not that, this is kind of inferior job but once some one is in this business, he is trapped and can not come out of it. The biggest attraction for driving cabs is, if some one let say had 3 to 4 kids..he could claim the max benefits from govt. which is approx. 14K per year along with saving by not paying any tax. On the other hand, one need a 80K to 90K job for making same kind of money.Most of the benefits for paying tax and especially contributing comes after retirement like pension benefits. These people are not planning to live in the old age so look for short term goals.

    • Faris R says:

      I agree with Tariq point of “why bother going through the hooplaas” when one can earn same amount of money. I don’t know whats the shame with this line of business although you are your own boss. I admire their hard work. I recall a quote of former PM Shaukat Aziz ” Cabbies send home more remittances than doctors, engineers etc.”

      If the system plays with you than its perfact to play with the system. Canada is a brand new country only and Immigrants have to prove their point; it took Sikhs and Chinese 100 years to get accepted as communities than how come we will get it that fast. The doctors and Engineers whom we are talking about are mainly average ones who didn’t have a good chance in Pakistan and they thought they will make it big here. This country and its big neighbour USA gives fair chance to the best and brightest. So if you could not make a mark in your country how can you make it here?? Admit it West will crown the princes and shrug others.

      There is no easy way out of poverty be it in Canada, US or Pakistan. One has to work hard and if you are willing than one can certainly get whatever they want. I have an immigrant story and successes so why cant my “Educated Cabbie brothers”. At the end of the day bringing home bread for your kids by your hard day toils is something to be proud of be it as a Cabbie or a Doctor.

  20. Maher Elahi says:

    It seems that author does not subscribe to good work ethics. Each society needs its members to carry out various jobs entailing various type of works for wholesome functioning. The lawful and honest day’s works may be different from one an other but none is inferior or superior. It is shame that the work of taxi drivers has been presented in this piece as a high caste but misguided person may present the professions of untouchables in India. Some immigrants who come to these blessed lands can not get rid of their abominable mentality and attitude. they do not fully appreciate the working of the system based on the dignity of labour and abundance of opportunities . One does hope that perhaps their next generations will be immune from such maladies.

  21. Engineer abdul samad says:

    What is wrong in driving a taxi? Is the doctors, engineers, doctors and cabbies ! All are human beings. As far as this article is concerned, i totally disagree because of the fact that in Canada and Australia, you tend to get the facilities of basic necessities like food and electricity. Just look at Pakistan and its corrupt system. If Pakistan system was good than the people didn’t need to migrate.

    • naveed says:

      Dear Friend,

      It is not a bad thing to drive a taxi but if it was your choice than why you have studied Engineering or Medical Doctor Degree? Dear we are also making corruption in this regard since you do not do your job for what you have studied. We should blame ourselves rather system. It is the people who make the corruption not the system. You can bring a very good system and you have corrupt people than what you will say about that? People need refinement brother not the system. Dear we owe our motherland for whatever we have and what we are. Be honest with your country and yourself.

  22. Haris Sheikh says:

    Its a true but dark ride of taxi. Pakistani’s immigrants can succeed only , if they keep focus to their career goals ,save some money and keep hard working. Otherwise, There is no short cut for success.
    Interestingly, Taxi business in Canada , originated after WWII, as a transitional job for the Jews and others European Immigrants. They were in a trauma and not capable for any other long term employment. Those taxi permits ; almost free helped them in raising tax free cash and marinating a healthy lifestyle. Now those retired taxi plate holders (200,000 $ a plate) owns condo buildings. There children make policy decision and are money makers on Bay Street in Toronto, Canada.

    Pakistani’s educated immigrants who end up as corps of taxi drivers, should now move to next level. Build their own businesses, and create employment opportunities for yourselves, as Sikhs are doing in Brampton.

    Also keep an eye on greedy community consultants (from real estates to credit cards makers) and on Desi media (who don’t keep check on fraudulent cases).
    This will create the “Institutional completeness”. The only key to long term success.

  23. Vikas Arora says:

    Pakistani Government invests so much money in educating these bright minds in medicine, Engineering who end up going to countries like Canada to work as taxi drivers instead of contributing to their own country.

    These young bright minds unfortunately find after coming to Canada that their degrees is not worth the paper it is printed on.

    Sikhs own prominent business in Canada and have moved up in the echelons of the Canada, but Pakistani’s are so struck in their own small groove that they spend their entire youth driving taxis.
    When they go back to Pakistan, they behave as if they are doing very well in Canada.

  24. Shabaz Khan says:

    I dont think this is a well rounded article! It seems like an opinion from a highly biased person who doesnt respect the dignity of work, regardless what type!

    • Swinder Singh says:

      Though I didn’t visit any foreign country but I have learnt from those who return from these alien countries that they value and respect work and don’t grade the work like us people. This sort of thinking, if that there in one’s mind he can’t move forward and will remain in the ditch of arrogance.

      I have come to know that sewerage cleaning personnel also enjoy the same status there as that of a doctor or an engineer, and after removing his work suit he relishes his meals in line with them.

      It is our perverted thinking that make a work respectable and the other non-respectable.

      • akil akhtar says:

        Not entirely correct Swinder. A sewerage cleaning person is not insulted in the west like in the subcontinent but they are definitely not given the same social status as a Doctor. But at an official level everyone is treated equally infront of the law, which is why it is more bearable to live here.

  25. Junaid ul Hasan says:

    Whilst i would agree with the writer that Pakistanis would be facing discrimination in Canada and their degrees are not being recognized / considered, i would like to highlight a significant behavioral drawback with most Pakistanis. I have been living in Dubai for about two years and during this time have observed that we are very reluctant to interact, even talk to people of other countries / religion. We are not inquisitive by nature and don’t have the desire to learn or even observe the tradition/culture of people from other countries especially from the west. We like to live in our cocoon and that’s it, just mingle in our natives. And this is one factor which will always be an obstacle for Pakistanis to secure good professional jobs in Canada unless we change our approach / attitude. How can Pakistanis expect to settle in a different country like Canada if they get themselves secluded from the crowd that exist in workplaces. Its not always about degrees, attitude is also very very important!.

  26. Khalid Khan says:

    Premise of this blog is:

    a) levels in education are attained to make a living, and
    b) driving cab is inferior work.

    Looking down at a profession that helps one make honest living and puts food on the table is simply wrong.

  27. nina says:

    This is a very interesting article, which portrays some reality in Canada for a lot of new immigrants. But much is also lost when one decides to immigrate from Pakistan to the west. It is ironic how so much of us speak of a better life for ourselves and a brighter future for our children etc etc, but do we ever consider what implications are in store. Just for greed of more money, we lose our children and ourselves to the religion of capitalism, where our “god” becomes the almighty dollar so that we may pursue material goals continuously.

  28. Aay Khan says:

    These people, who are suffering in Foreign Countries despite their qualifications & experience, must return to Pakistan and avail the opportunities, I assure that qualified people get much more at home than what they expect in Canada. Only self confidence is required to weather the tough competition at home.

    Its not about doing odd jobs in Canada, its about humiliation that they face each day, IMAGINE!!!!.

    • ayesha Khan says:

      1. They must have compared the suffering in Pakistan vs. suffering in Canada and obviously felt that suffering in Canada was less – otherwise they would have gone back to Pakistan within a year or so.

      2. In Canada no-one humiliates people providing service unlike Pakistan where ‘servants’ are treated really badly and humiliated. People say please and thank you to waiters and cab drivers.

  29. Kashif Naseem says:

    I liked the article. I am also a prospected immigrant currently working in Dubai as an IT professional.

    I read somewhere an intresting difference between Pakistanis and Indians. Pakistanis wherever they are, their hearts remain there in Pak and are always concerned about what is happening in Pak (not mingling with other communities). Whereas Indians wherever they are, they build / form their own India there and treat the place like their own home country.

    Having read the article and people’s views, I think we should go to Canada with the following things:

    Long term plan – Not just acquiring the passport
    Consider it your home
    Get a candian degree
    Try to mingle with other nationalities
    Never ever rely upon real estate executives and Taxi drivers
    Carry enough cash
    Be mentally prepared for Odd jobs and don’t consider it a shame
    Be respectful to all other nationalities

    • K. Khan says:

      Kasif, you got the bull by the horns. I came to Canada 14 years ago and this has been my philosphy ever since. Well written.

  30. guru singh says:

    Human beings have always been moving to the greener pastures on this planet from time immemorial for finding better living conditions. Thousands of years back, it was the Indian sub continent where the food and fodder was available through out the year. About half a millennium back people started moving to North America which they are doing till date. Immigrants to new places will always have to face problems to establish themselves. The problems faced by South Asian immigrants today are nothing as compared to those faced by early European settlers in Canada and America. I wish all new immigrants to read history of early settlers in those places and then they will come to know that every body faced similar hardships to settle in new lands. Work hard, be happy and you will be rewarded.


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