Three degrees of frustration for Jordanian immigrant

posted on November 19, 2014

By Herald Business | Link to Article

Sataneeh Al Rousan hit the ground running when she and her two sons arrived in Nova Scotia from Jordan four years ago.

By Herald Business | Link to Article

Sataneeh Al Rousan hit the ground running when she and her two sons arrived in Nova Scotia from Jordan four years ago.

The public administration professional, who has lots of experience and a couple of degrees related to her field, networked in Halifax with organizations such as the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia and completed yet another degree at Dalhousie University.

Her latest unsuccessful stretch on the job market lasted about a year, and now she is back at the books earning her chartered professional accountant designation.

“It’s very difficult to find jobs and to meet people who can help you find a job in Nova Scotia,” Al Rousan said Wednesday in a Halifax interview.

“The non-profit organizations are helpful, but employers can do more.”

She admitted she has been forced recently to begin reluctantly thinking about the potential benefits of relocating elsewhere in Canada.

The experienced public administration professional was one of 50 unemployed new Canadians who participated in an annual CBRE Ltd. event that explores Atlantic Canada’s real estate market outlook.

In an unexpected turn of events, officials at CBRE arranged to have a recent immigrant to the province sit at most tables at the real estate event, which attracted about 600 businesspeople.

“Please introduce yourself to some of our guests and ask something about their qualifications,” said Bob Mussett, senior vice-president with CBRE in Halifax. “They’re here to network and hopefully find a job.”

There was a notable increase in chatter in the conference room as the assembled businesspeople — many of them immigrants to Nova Scotia themselves — took up the suggestion.

Lots of people were observed exchanging business cards.

The province’s poor record of attracting and keeping immigrants was a theme of the annual market outlook provided by CBRE, a major commercial real estate services and investment firm.

As a prelude to the main event, the 2015 market outlook, participants were presented with a slick video production that provided an introduction to some big names in business in Nova Scotia, most of whom had humble starts when they arrived here years ago.

“To grow our economy, we have to grow our population, and sadly, Nova Scotia has fallen far behind immigration rates experienced elsewhere in Canada,” Mussett said.

All businesses in the province should be concerned about this sluggish population growth, he said.

“The provincial government has made some strides, but we cannot rely on government to resolve this problem.”

Meanwhile, Al Rousan said she is doing everything she can to remain in the province.

“I finished a degree at Dalhousie, and then people said I required a CPA. So now I’m working on that. I will do whatever it takes to find a good opportunity here that is in my field.”

Read more