Foreign Workers Below Pay Scale

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 Source: Quaye, Stephen A.

By: Stephen A. Quaye,

A nice looking young adult was fortunate to land a well paying job in Ghana after graduation from the country’s premier university, Legon.

Having worked at this well paying company for sometime, he decided to resign and migrate to Canada after saving enough money to purchase his air ticket.

After going through the necessary procedures in getting his visa to enter the country as legal immigrant, he joyfully embarked on the journey which saw him landing in Toronto.

Several months of staying here with out job, this guy started to fill uneasy as regret started to pour in. Finally, he got a job at one of the nice restaurants called McDonalds as a cleaner.

Yaw as he was fondly called by his friends, however never felt happy whenever Ghanaians pass by to get their breakfast and see him with a mobbing brush and a bucket of detergents cleaning the floor, cleaning the mess on the tables as well as emptying the garbage bin.

Especially when his closest friends comes around and see him mobbing the floor with the brush throwing to the left and to the right with a special rhythmic body movement, and says “abrokyere ye de oo” he feels like getting on the next flight back to Ghana.

When he is on break, he sits quietly at one of the tables over a cup of coffee and begins to reassess himself creating a big challenging mind whether he should return and use his certificate to acquire new paying job or stay in Toronto and struggle on.

But he did a wise thing by planning a return journey after having saved enough money for his return journey as well as what could be used to take him through the period in search of a new job.

God willing, Yaw got another well paying job which enabled him to start a responsible life all over again though he has wasted some time off, he was happy and today he is a deputy manager of that company with all better service conditions attached.

It will surprise you to know that it is not only Yaw who have mistakenly resigned from their well paying jobs back home in Ghana to live a better life in foreign country only to realize that there is no green pastures anywhere either. The perception that job opportunities in foreign countries are in abundance and that one could work in two or three companies at the same time is still high among Ghanaians back home therefore the desire of everyone to migrate to ABROKYERE.

But it will interest you to know that in many European countries that Ghanaians are in their numbers as well as in America and Canada, they together with other foreign workers are at the bottom end of pay scale with most of them earning substantially less than citizens in jobs such as live in caregivers, house keepers.

On this issue let me concentrate bout what foreign workers take in Canada. According to the statistics Canada study released last year June, temporary foreign workers earn substantially less than their Canadian counterparts and their most common jobs are as live in caregivers, house keepers and cleaners.

The study has it that, 30 percent of Canada’s 265,000 non-permanent residents at the time of the 2006 census including foreigners in Canada were on work permit and student visas. It said, of these temporary residents, about 230,000 were 15 or older, more than 112,000 were employed full-time, one third of them living in Toronto area, 15 percent in Montreal, 12.5 percent in Vancouver, 5.5 percent in Calgary and 3.7 percent in Edmonton. With what they earned the report disclosed that the biggest cluster almost 14 percent was Filipino, followed by South Asian at 11 percent; Latin American at 9.7 percent and black at 9.6 percent. Forty One percent were female, 46.1 percent were university-educated and nine out of 10 could speak one of the official languages which are English and French with their average ages ranging between 35.1 years and they worked about 44.8 hours a week.

The report revealed that the most common occupation was child care; babysitters, nannies and parents helpers adding that farm workers, housekeepers, cleaners, cooks, kitchen helpers and greenhouse workers, low skilled jobs represents about 20 percent of these foreign workers.

It was also learnt through the study report that about 6.3 per cent of foreign workers worked as researchers and teachers assistants, with another 1.9 per cent hired as university professors as the retail and other marketing industry hired another 6 per cent.

Foreign workers are found at both ends of the income scale; about 5 per cent earned 3,000 Canadian dollars or more per week in 2005, while 46 per cent earned less than 500 Canadian dollars a week.

By comparison, only 2.5 per cent of Canadian-born workers made 3,000 dollars a week, and less than one quarter earned less than 500, the report concluded.

It is good to educate the masses who are still living with the perception that life in Ghana could not be better lived except one travels to a foreign destination including Canada.

What is so dangerous is the rate at which some persons have been selling their private properties such as houses, lands, cars, business entities only to raise money to pay connection men to shove them over immigration borders into foreign destinations.

Some have gone to the extent of using properties such as acres of cocoa farms as collateral for loans to pay connection men to bring them over to Diaspora only to come and regret. It is real as some of these life experience stories keep coming every time people meet.

Currently, the Federal government of Canada is proposing a bill to be passed into law which will grant each refugee claimant 2,000 Canadian dollars to go back home and invest the money in education, farming or any type of investment.

Do you think if there are job opportunities in the country, it will attempt introducing such bill? Let us start to educate ourselves of such issues since it is better to know than letting it be like that and see most of our brothers and sisters wasting their time for nothing.

Getting to know it and refuse to avoid the circumstances those ad practices brings makes no one feel sympathy for you when in trouble.


Columnist: Quaye, Stephen A.