News / Toronto

New project aims to help qualified immigrant researchers land jobs

Access Alliance launches fellowships for researchers and experts whose qualifications were obtained abroad.

Access Alliance senior science researcher Yogendra Shakya.

File / Torstar News Service Order this photo

Access Alliance senior science researcher Yogendra Shakya.

A new project looks to bridge the career gap for internationally-educated researchers as they go through the integration process.

Immigrant Insights Scholars Initiative awards fellowships to newcomers who qualify as epidemiologists, statisticians and evaluation experts. With the grants, they pursue career-development programs, mentorships and networking opportunities through academic and research institutions across the country.

The initiative is led by Access Alliance, a Toronto non-profit that provides services and addresses health issues for vulnerable immigrants and refugees. It’s an attempt to tackle the longstanding issue of qualified immigrants who end up in precarious employment as their credentials are not approved in time or just can’t break into their respective domains.

“As a country we are losing out on so much,” said Yogendra Shakya, senior research scientist at Access Alliance. “Some of these newcomers are overqualified and their skills are easily transferable in our economy. All they need is local knowledge.”

Three inaugural scholars – from Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Iran – were each offered a $30,000 fellowship to spend a year immersed in research programs at McMaster University, St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Work and Health.

Shakya said in addition to the annual fellowships, the Alliance will create a researchers' support network for more qualified newcomers to get peer-to-peer support to help them break into stable careers.

More details can be found at

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