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The harsh reality of Pakistanis living in Canada

Updated Nov 29, 2016 02:38pm

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Zara is four years old and a face of child poverty in Canada. Her parents are immigrants from Pakistan whose financial struggles continue even after toiling for 12 years in their adopted country.

Zara’s story became front-page news that named Toronto — where 27% of the children live in poverty — as the child poverty capital of Canada.

Zara and thousands of other children like her are stuck in ethnic enclaves like Thorncliffe Park that are known for poverty and some even for violent crimes.

Four years ago, a piece I wrote for Dawn.com highlighted the plight of Pakistani Canadians, whom I described as the new face of poverty in urban Canada.

Hundreds wrote in anger to the publication, some erroneously suggesting that the census figures I had cited were wrong. Others asked my employer to either dismiss or discipline me for offending their sensibilities.

Most who were angered by the numbers were in denial. Today, Zara’s piercing dark eyes on the front-page of Canada’s largest newspaper leave no room for that denial.

One in four residents of the 20,000-strong Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto speaks Urdu. Men, women, and children dressed in traditional South Asian garbs are a common sight.

Halal food and grocery stores, mosques, and storefronts with Urdu lettering are indicative of the multicultural milieu of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.

But hiding behind the celebration of diversity is the sad truth of poverty-stricken lives of immigrants who continue to face the same struggles in their adopted homelands as the one they had escaped from.

Income inequalities have been rising sharply over the years in North America. The top 1% and the super-rich have been able to amass unprecedented riches over the past few decades.

At the same time, the bottom 20% saw their purchasing powers deplete. Joseph Stiglitz, a Noble Laureate in Economics, explained that even when the lowest income workers toiled for longer hours, their earnings grew only marginally.

Professor David Hulchanski at the University of Toronto documented the growing divides in Toronto in a landmark study in which he identified three distinct types of neighbourhoods.

The first category comprised those areas where relative incomes grew significantly between 1970 and 2005.

The second group included those where incomes either grew or shrank by less than 20% during the same time period.

The third group contained neighbourhoods where relative earnings had declined considerably since 1975.

Thorncliffe Park is one such neighbourhood where residents have not experienced a meaningful improvement in their welfare.

Like other struggling areas, Thorncliffe Park houses a higher than usual share of recent immigrants who have become the unintended, yet the first casualty of income inequality.

Read next: How Pakistani candidates embarrass us in Canadian polls

Three out of four residents in Thorncliffe Park is a visible minority. Canadian Census reported in 2011 that more than one in five immigrants living in Thorncliffe Park arrived in Canada after 2006.

Among the recent immigrants, Pakistanis constituted the single largest group followed by Indians, Filipinos, and Afghans.

Thorncliffe Park bears the typical telltale signs of a struggling neighbourhood.

Over 90% of the housing in the area comprises high-rise buildings. Overcrowding is rampant where large families are crammed into tiny apartments.

The neighbourhood’s income profile reveals that 38% of the housing units do not meet Canada’s national occupancy standards.

The rate of poor quality housing is two times worse than that of Toronto. Every other household in the area spends more than 30% of the family income on shelter costs.

The unemployment rate in Thorncliffe Park stood at 16% in 2011, which was more than two-times that of Toronto. Even the employed were not earning enough to support a middle-class lifestyle.

The average after-tax household income in Thorncliffe Park stood at $46,275 compared to $70,945 in the City of Toronto.

Why do some Pakistani immigrants continue to struggle?

For starters, demographics of Pakistani immigrants pose additional challenges. Their families are larger in size, which imposes higher housing and other living expenses. The already lower household income becomes even more inadequate when compared on the per capita basis.

In a typical Canadian family, both husband and wife work, which is not the case in a typical immigrant family of Pakistani origin.

Canadian government statistics reveal that immigrants from Pakistan report a female labour force participation rate of less than 50%.

With more than half of the women of Pakistani origin not working, their families’ struggle for economic parity remains an elusive goal.

Another reason for poor economic outcomes for Pakistani immigrants is the relatively inferior quality of education in Pakistan.

As they land in Canada, most immigrants try to obtain employment based on their credentials earned in their home countries.

While the human capital (education and work experience) earned elsewhere by immigrants is often discounted by the labour markets in Canada, some immigrants’ human capital is discounted more than others.

Pakistani immigrants fare really badly in Canada for their human capital. From an employment perspective in Canada, "Pakistan is the most penalised location of study.”

Related: The perils of Pakistani migrants heading to Europe

Thorncliffe Park and other similar neighbourhoods in Toronto are natural traps for new immigrants.

These areas offer cheaper rents to cash-strapped immigrants who are also enticed by the nearby makeshift mosques and grocery stores selling Halal products.

The downside of these locations is the lack of opportunity and ghettoisation, where the newly arrived immigrants don't enjoy better social networks to break out and find gainful employment.

What should immigrant communities do?

Whereas Toronto’s community-based organisations have been working on improving the welfare of recent immigrant families, some immigrant communities have not yet taken up the cause themselves.

The Muslim community living in Thorncliffe Park has shown a willingness to struggle for traditional causes, such as the right to build a mosque or to have the School Board permit students to say Friday prayers in local school’s cafeteria.

They should also consider initiatives to improve their human capital. The struggling immigrants will benefit from community-based initiatives to re-train and re-purpose workers looking for work and to motivate others who have given up searching for jobs.

Their foreign-earned credentials lack market acceptability in Canada. They must consider improving human capital through education and apprenticeship programs.

Consider, for instance, that several billion dollars in infrastructure spending are being planned for Toronto and the neighbouring cities.

Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates 147,000 construction-related jobs will be available over the next 15 years.

The smart thing to do for Pakistani expatriates is to launch initiatives to help train and certify un- or underemployed community members in construction-related trades, which pay much more in hourly wages than a recent university graduate earns in Canada.

Whereas the struggle against income inequality will continue in Canada, Pakistani immigrants need not be the face of urban poverty.

The community collectively has sufficient human capital and gumption to turn things around.

The community must, however, identify its priorities.

It can spend resources on building mosques and asking for religious accommodations at work and school.

Or the community may choose to strive for developing skills in pursuit of shared prosperity instead.

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Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of Regionomics.com.

He tweets @regionomics


The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.



Comments (280) Closed



Nikesh Nov 28, 2016 11:56am

When educated people migrate, it is because of their skills and knowledge. Hence they will not find much difficulty in obtaining a decent job in the West. But I seriously fail to understand the charm associated with migrating to a foreign land which is highly valued by lower middle class and labour class population both in Pakistan and India. When you are destined to live in poverty, then better live in your homeland and toil to make your life better here first.

Saqib bhatti Nov 28, 2016 11:59am

Very good article. And these people also getting monthly stipend from Canadian Govt. Very sad state of affairs.

FSU Nov 28, 2016 12:05pm

It might be immigration by design to bring in people for low paying jobs. Not sure if that is the case, however, Key to success in Canada is higher education acquired in Canada or as mentioned Trades certification. Other factors include communication skills, being presentable, etc, which also are found wanting. Unfortunately, there are no schools for teaching these basic requirements.

Farooq khan Nov 28, 2016 12:09pm

Excellent analysis.

Abdul Awaal Nov 28, 2016 12:09pm

Its not the place but the attitude which contributes to your progress.

Avtar Nov 28, 2016 12:15pm

Somehow Pakistani immigrants are also less involved in Canadian politics as compared to their Indian counterparts. Community education/involvement should focus on forgetting the "back home values" as a majority of them will never go back. Sooner one adapts the new homeland the better.

staying here Nov 28, 2016 12:18pm

Sad but true. The author is correct in his analysis. Conditions of many recently migrated Pakistanis are self-made. Local, provincial and federal governments provide ample opportunities to immigrants with NO discrimination for Pakistanis. It is unfortunate that most moved to Canada for better life, yet they got stuck and have not gotten rid of baggage from the old country. For their conditions Muslims including Pakistanis take refuge in "Discrimination" as the reasons for their misfortunes. Most come here for Social Welfare.. Nothing will change for these immigrants unless they are willing to accommodate ,not a, respect the laws without assimilation. There are many many Pakistanis in Canada who are doing very well, Thank you.

Third Opinion Nov 28, 2016 12:17pm

Why don't poor Muslims immigrate to rich Muslim nations for prosperity?

mansoor mubeen Nov 28, 2016 12:22pm

struggling for rights to perform religious chores should not be compromised for the struggle to obtain vocational and professional trainings. these are two different endeavours, and require an entirely different set of efforts. nevertheless, learned author has drawn the attention towards one basic flaw in pakistani society, that is of not acquiring enough skills needed in the future land of residence. people decide for immigration and wait for papers and other formalities often for more than 5 years, but do not utilize this time in acquiring the skills which will land them as a better paid worker.

mudasar Nov 28, 2016 12:26pm

come back to sweet home Pakistan, Pakistani economy is getting better by the day.

Optimistic pakistani Nov 28, 2016 12:37pm

@Nikesh that's true my friend...most people think atleast in Pakistan if they move abroad their problems will be solved and this can be even at the cost of their and the country's self respect. They are happy in their world of living in US UK Canada and show their relatives back home they live abroad. These countries are very focused on what they want from you and unless there is something on offer for them it would be unlikely anyone will gain. There were times when even the labour class have become millionaires but those chances are very slim. Hope they are happy in canada

Hyder Nov 28, 2016 12:41pm

Sir

Very informative article about plight of south asian immigrants in canada. Same is their plight in England as well. Large number of pakistanis, indians, bengalis continue to live in poverty forever and face continued discrimination and endless poverty.

It is better to eat half loaf with dignity in your homeland instead of suffering torture in foreign land!!!

Optimistic pakistani Nov 28, 2016 12:47pm

@Third Opinion those who get jobs their move to Dubai Saudi Arabia Qatar Oman etc and work as labour or whatever jobs they get. The reason for immigration in these western countries is not because they love poor people but because they don't have enough labour or population to run the country.now it's very difficult to immigrate to US or UK because they don't need people.

raja Nov 28, 2016 12:53pm

Pakistanis situation in UK is the same. Although lots of UK pakistanis are doing well, a equal nr are not. They should learn from indians the meaning of hard work!

Skeptic Nov 28, 2016 12:55pm

Canada is the quintessential dumping ground for refugees and promised land for all third-world aspiring immigrants who cannot get a visa to the Australia, UK or US. It is the last resort to be in the West.

Ghettos where most South Asians converge in cities like Toronto - Brampton, Scarborough / East York, Mississauga - have gained infamy because these Asian, once allowed to settle in Canada, don't assimilate and interact with main-stream Anglo population of Canada.

Many Asians, especially older generations, don't even speak bother to learn proper English or French to be able to integrate into the Canadian system, and many live and behave with the mentality of their own homelands, and do business with, socialize and interact with only other ethnic Indo-Pak groups. They shop and eat at only South Asian-owned shops. Many struggle themselves defeat the entire purpose of immigration to the West and fail miserably because they refuse to give up their old habits and mindset.

Khan Nov 28, 2016 12:57pm

Good article to highlight something which is based on census or research from organization want to make money out of government coffin.

The reality could be different. A lot of families or people continue to live in this conditions because they want to live like this. Thorncliffe is a lively area for the life style they want to enjoy. If the grocery stores like Iqbal grocery open 7 AM to mid night, Bamiyan restaurants makes money and regular or make shift mosques continue to raise funds - then it means that neighborhood have enough disposable income to spend at these places. No one from affluent neighborhood comes to spend money here.

It will be interesting to find out their occupation or study life styles- few people even though rich in their home country pose as poor OR Few don't want to report cash income to draw maximum out of government programs like child benefits, welfare etc.

naji Nov 28, 2016 12:57pm

Very true. Pakistani community in Canada is among poorest community, that mean about 50% Pakistani migrant are living under that level or their annual declared income is less than 16 thousand C$/year. Middle class People living in Pakistan cannot maintain a quality life even with monthly Rs 100,000 plus home. Where as in Canada if both husband wife (with 2 kids) will work they can make C$3000 to C$ 4000. In this amount they can survive easily. In my opinion and thorough observation Pakistani immigrant family have only one working hand and 80% of Pakistani women are not working, probably more than this. Whereas Indian and Sri Lankan families (Man & Woman) start work from day one. In Canada family can get reasonable child benefits, free education, free medical, free emergency hospitalization, unemployment allowance if worked for 8 months.

Amir Nov 28, 2016 01:04pm

Except for healthcare graduates and those who graduated in the late 1990s, every foreign student I know of who graduated from an American state university was delivering pizzas, selling used cars, driving a cab, assistant managing restaurant or otherwise working jobs that don't require a degree.

Asif Ahmed Nov 28, 2016 01:10pm

Pakistanis are least prepared for the move as well as are stubborn to change in lifestyle. Pursuing further education in Canada helps a lot and breaks the barrier for better jobs.

BAXAR Nov 28, 2016 01:12pm

@staying here is better decision. People in south Asia have opportunities available at home, but that requires long struggle. The migration was to avoid the struggle at home, so obviously they'll avoid there as well. Once tired of living with less, they'll be forced to start the long struggle they refused at home. So why do they migrate in the first place? At home effort is required to create environment, meaning opening opportunities for others as well. There, the environment is already in place, so no need to make efforts for others. Moral of the story, you can't have a better life, if it is not available for others.

Port kazim Nov 28, 2016 01:14pm

Come back to Pakistan, Job and housing assured under cpec projects

Shahryar Shirazi Nov 28, 2016 01:14pm

@raja In Muslim families of South Asia, the concept of leaving their parents and loved ones is not that prevailing. As a result, you see less and less of educated people migrating as compared to Indians ( which you wanted to compare against). I don't know much about England, but in USA, you can find affluent Pakistanis in California (LA and SFO), Chicago, Boston, Connecticut, Seattle. You will also find struggling Pakistanis who are not so educated in some portions of Houston, Chicago and NYC. It's all in numbers. Just as a data point, in 2015: 77,000 Indian students went to USA as compared to 3,200 Pakistani students. Keeping the ration of 1:7 on the side, there is still less of a trend for Pakistanis to go abroad.

Abdullah Humayun Shafi Nov 28, 2016 01:17pm

@Nikesh Remember though, poverty in Canada is completely different from Poverty in South Asia. Poverty in South Asia means malnutrition, bad healthcare if you're lucky, injustice, a near constant insecurity and so many other things that whittle away at human dignity.

JSR Nov 28, 2016 01:33pm

Migrate only when you are selected based on the skill requirement. If you migrate to other country thinking some job will wipe out poverty, it will lead you to such sad conditions of life. Rather stay in your own country... In eastern border, villagers adopt a policy of raising two cows atleast, which will give 8 litres of milk per day which is enough for the survival...

SAR Nov 28, 2016 01:33pm

Poverty in Pakistani immigrants in Canada are partly to blame on Pakistani education system. Public education system in Pakistan is total fraud. Plagiarism, cheating , has rocked the foundation of education. If you are a graduate from public institution in Pakistan you have got very low class education that's why we are not getting good jobs in Canada and second thing Is jobs in Canada are not plentiful and Canadian economy is totally stuck with no growth in economy. Thirdly discrimination in good paying professional jobs are rampant and very visible and fourthly Canada is very expensive, to maintain a good decent middle class life style if you have a family plus two three kids you need at least 4000 dollars take home salary which is hard to come by If you are in minimum wage jobs.

Syed Shah Nov 28, 2016 01:45pm

@ Nikesh- the problem is people in the west, although, may be somewhat under-skilled, but nevertheless, get paid. In Pakistan or the likes of Indian, it is the sheer injustice and the income does not come anyway near to the expenses. Hence, the families or otherwise individuals move or are inclined towards the west because at least they will earn something which is always better than nothing.

I do agree, it is an illusion that people in the west earn millions. It is not an easy life. In the UK, families struggle to put the heating on in winter - enough said!

Mahmood Nov 28, 2016 01:48pm

The desi population in places such as Toronto, CA and South Hall, UK are themselves to blame for their plight and misery.

They had mediocre education in their old countries. But once afforded an opportunity to better themselves and the future of their children, they fail to take advantage of free education and training programs in their adopted countries to improve their skills and marketability. It is all in the mind. The attitude, behavior, believes and expectations go hand in hand. Live in Canada, but behave and interact with other Third-Wolders without leaving your ghettos, and you expect things in your life to magically improve, because you have Canadian immigrant status??

Insanity is defined as doing some thing over and over in the same manner, and expecting different results.

kash Nov 28, 2016 02:00pm

£27,500 is a decent wage. Why can they not make that work in Thorncliffe Park, Toronto. I get paid less than that over here in UK and I cope with it just fine in a family of 6.

Khan Nov 28, 2016 02:09pm

@Third Opinion No one has discussed the religion here. Please don't put a different perspective to this discussion.

Skepsis Nov 28, 2016 02:18pm

@Third Opinion - They do buddy, the place is called the middle east, it is teeming with migrant workers.

Leo Nov 28, 2016 02:45pm

Well written and documented. The last 3 paras say it all.

janan Nov 28, 2016 02:49pm

Regarding inferior quality of education in Pakistan, me and my colleague are working for Canadian company in Dubail from last 5 years. During this time my company fired 5 engineers in India, and more then 10 in Canada office. But we are still surviving because we had inferior quality of education from Pakistan? No sir no. You can't judge people from Education and where they came from. Btw its only me.

prafulla Nov 28, 2016 02:52pm

@Third Opinion Because Middle East do not welcome them. I always suggest Pakistani are wonderful cook, they can start their own eatries everywhere in the world as their prices for food are most economical. They can generate employment even for others, since they work hard & manage with less expectation. I have eaten dinner most of the time in Pakistani Hotels in UAE, Bahrain, Holland & I have found they can cook most delicious food so I select only Pakistani Hotels if I am abroad. I have got same feedback from my brothers living in US.

prafulla Nov 28, 2016 02:56pm

@Shahryar Shirazi But I still suggest Pakistanis should go abroad specially in Europe & learn their culture, education system, law & order so that they can bring same in Pakistan when they come back. Pakistan is growing very fast now since China needs a long term partner so China can help a lot to Pakistan specially on education, infrastructure & health system.

M. Malik Nov 28, 2016 02:58pm

My own observations, after traveling to places such as Toronto - the most popular destination for South Asian immigrants - the variety of people I came across left me with little doubt about their background, education level and social class.

Consider for instance, in the sub-freezing temperature of Eastern Canada, you will find shivering desi women in flimsy shalwar kamiz with nothing but a short, cheap light weight jacket and a dupata. Or men in Shalwar Kamiz unsuitable for the weather.

None of the new arrivals dress appropriately according their standards of their adopted country or with the climate of the place. Very few even leave their enclaves, which are largely low-income, crime-infested ghettos, and don't bother to educate themselves; learn the language, or have ambitions to better their lot after arriving in the country. But expect the Canadian government to provide them with benefits, welfare, housing and even food allowances. In other words, they want handouts.

Arsal Nov 28, 2016 03:00pm

@Shahryar Shirazi i welcome you to visit Gujrat or Mirpur where every one or two male member of each family lives in Europe.

qamberali Nov 28, 2016 03:10pm

i don't know what to do, never want to leave Pakistan, but my kids are facing tough time in school because of their ethnicity, sect and language, not only from class-fellows but the teaching staff, believe me Pakistani society is becoming too difficult to live in, as diversity is not acceptable. i know a foreign country is also not a bed of roses and acceptability there is becoming difficult too, i am aghast to leave or not to

Akram Nov 28, 2016 03:14pm

@Third Opinion "Why don't poor Muslims immigrate to rich Muslim nations for prosperity?". They do. In their tens of thousands. And do manage to get prosperous as well. Their cash sent back home contributes hugely to our foreign exchange reserves. Just look at the flight schedules between middle east and Pakistani cities. Emirates alone flies 7 times DAILY between Dubai and Karachi.

Truth Nov 28, 2016 03:24pm

@Akram - Emirates flights from many places to and from Pakistan are not just taking Pakistanis to work in Dubai. But these flights connect them to onward flights to Europe and North America and other places. Half the passengers are making connections at Dubai Airport, to say the US and Canada. Emirates flies to 12 different cities in the US alone - a very convenient connection for Pakistanis in the US, which PIA is no able to accommodate due to limited schedule and lack of planes and landing rights.

wellwisher Nov 28, 2016 03:25pm

In London I have seen similar situation.The real income keeps going down as prices rise more.People have taken to walking miles just to save train/bus fare.Clothes are washed less often and have torn but mended areas.Authors observations apply fully

Khwarezmi Nov 28, 2016 03:29pm

I went to Thorncliffe Park two years ago to visit relatives. While the flats needed obvious maintanance, I saw no poverty. The desi resturants served good food and the green parks around the area were beautiful. I went to other places in and around Toronto as well (turist & other relatives) but enjoyed Thorncliffe Park the most.

Satyameva Jayate Nov 28, 2016 03:29pm

Situation is not much better in UK too.

Abdulkarim Nov 28, 2016 03:32pm

@Third Opinion Well why dont Indians migrate to rich Hindu nations for prosperity? Oh there aren't any?

Muhammad Nov 28, 2016 03:32pm

I m not sure how data on Pakistani immigrants who initially settled in Thorncliff area have been collected but i personally know of families who initially got settled there but in a year or two year times moved out to prosperous areas in Toronto. One reason why Pakistanis dont do as good as immigrants from other South Asian countries is due to their lack of flexibilty in terms of career options available in Canada. They should evaluate and see if they can be better employed in a new career.

Asif Nov 28, 2016 03:37pm

If they are legal immigrants then I don't see any point how they are living in poverty?

proud pakistani Nov 28, 2016 03:40pm

@M. Malik When in France, speak French. Likewise, When in Rome do as the Romans do. I've seen such behaviour in the midwest region of the U.S. People consider themselves lucky if they get a chance to leave their home country, but fail to adopt the culture and tradition of the completely different country. This results in their young generations, struggle for their identity. What we think of as growth and development by immigrating to the west, is infact yielding negative results for not only themselves, but for other relatives back home, who can't wait to depart for good.

Syed F. Hussaini Nov 28, 2016 03:43pm

@SAR

Carpenters, pipe-fitters, electricians, plumbers, lawn-care providers, gardeners, automobile mechanics and welders are in short supply across North America.

The list of skills in demand is fairly long. These jobs pay top dollar.

It takes only nine months of school to make a welder and start making 15 to 25 dollars an hour. Schools offer effective job-placement services.

The northern colder parts of Canada are a good place to look for a job if we are not afraid of cold.

IMRAN ALI Nov 28, 2016 03:48pm

@kash Well, you are funded by welfare system(Benefits), you are living in poverty too Mr, but people like you always compare themselves with people in Pakistan and rupee conversion. Are able to buy most things and not think. Are you living in a area where there a predominately educated people. Most important, " life is not, by get by", biggest problem Pakistani's have is helping extended family in Pakistan.

AHA Nov 28, 2016 04:01pm

Apart from education, there are two things. 1) Progressive mentality of the people and 2) The society they chose to live. Poor migrate from all countries don't remain poor forever,

nag Nov 28, 2016 04:10pm

start empowering yourself with the knowledge and key skills required in the global market. religion should come later.

Imperial Ahmed Nov 28, 2016 04:13pm

Take exception to author's assertion on inferior quality of education in Pakistan. The world knows that Pakistani are not only hardworking but also highly educated. Instead of lamenting the quality of education in Pakistan, the issue is Canadian policy that discredits Pakistani degrees with one stroke, leaving these highly educated people in identity crisis.

Pakistan government must take a stand on behalf of its diaspora and demand their education and skills be credited fairly and equitably, allowing these immigrants to stand on stronger footing.

Muhammed Ali UK Nov 28, 2016 04:24pm

Its mainly a case of people moving to such countries yet they will not make half an effort to integrate, we have people in the UK whom have been here 40 years but cannot speak the language, what do they expect??

AHA Nov 28, 2016 04:27pm

Many Pakistanis in Greater Toronto Area prefer to live in 'safe' Muslim enclaves. I know people in Toronto who have lived here for years but have hardly any interaction with a Canadian 'gora'. In order to benefit from the Canadian success story, one has to be part of that story. The ghetto mentality that many Pakistani families adopt can only lead to economic disaster or worse. France and United Kingdom are shining examples of this point.

Truth Nov 28, 2016 04:30pm

@Imperial Ahmed I think you are missing the point. Those who emigrate to Canada, from places such as India and Pakistan, are not exactly cream of the crop, with best education these countries one could afford in these countries. But rather working class, with poor education for dubious schools with impractical credentials and few marketable skills. If they were highly educated in top fields, they would prefer to settle in the US, where their skills and talent will be prized and much in demand.

I've know bankers in Pakistan, working for British banks in major cities, but they could not get immigrant visa to Canada, because Canada doesn't need bankers. But cooks, carpenters, drivers, delivery people, mechanics etc. In other words, low-skilled, blue-collar labor. Not engineers, doctors and scientists. Who could just as easily emigrate to the US and be in the top 5-10% of the income bracket soon after arriving there - unlike the poverty stricken counterparts in Canada.

Adnan Anwar Nov 28, 2016 04:31pm

Thorncliff, is a neighbourhood that most south asians when they first land in Canada they start from there. South Asians still need to upgrade their careers and should get proper Human Resource Canada advice regarding 2nd Career conversion options. Main thing is change, adopt to change and learn new skills.

AHA Nov 28, 2016 04:33pm

@Imperial Ahmed Pakistanis are extremely hard working and extremely intelligent. But in terms of quality of education, Pakistan is not up to the mark. Rote memorization is not education, nor is the constricting culture that Pakistan is so proud of conducive to education.

Shahryar Shirazi Nov 28, 2016 04:33pm

@prafulla Yes, that's a fair suggestion.

Shahryar Shirazi Nov 28, 2016 04:34pm

@Arsal I will take up on your invitation if you are willing to host me :-)

Truth Nov 28, 2016 04:41pm

@Bilal Choksi If you are only after Halal Food and Sharia, than why bother emigrating to a place like Canada?

You can't find these in Lahore, Karachi or ISB??

Haris Nov 28, 2016 04:46pm

@Abdulkarim Good point!

Zaki Nov 28, 2016 04:54pm

@Nikesh Living and working in a foreign country has its own charm and those uneducated and less privileged people from Pakistan and India normally fall in that trap.

This is also a bitter fact that a poor man in Canada can maintain a lifestyle better than a person who's having a relatively better job back home.

You're right but these things are easy said than done. Look at UAE where workers live in misery just to earn some money and send back home because their homelands have failed to provide them a better lifestyle and job.

Leaving your homeland sometimes is the last yet attractive resort for most of the labor class living in Pakistan and India. Things have gotten worst in Canada because unlike UAE it offers to live with your family as well. That makes your expenses high and savings literally zero.

Taimur Nov 28, 2016 04:56pm

@ Naji – I am also a Canadian resident. There is no free health coverage. One has to pay health premium which I am paying on monthly basis for my family. There is free education but the standard of education in public schools is pathetic. My children were going to a good school in Islamabad (Pakistan) and their Canadian public school is not even near to the standard of education in that Pakistan (private) school. Private schools in Canada are good but expensive. I agree with you that child benefits are reasonable. In order to get a good job you need to have very good networking. If you are a new immigrant then white collar job is almost impossible even if you have excellent experience in Pakistan unless somebody help you. But based on my experience you should expect very little help from other Pakistanis. I am impressed by the way our Sikh brothers help their countrymen (Punjabis) to settle in my province British Columbia.

Dawood Nov 28, 2016 04:57pm

excellent analysis and well written article. situation with us Pakistanis is identical in every western country, be it Canada, England, Germany or Italy. We shall never progress until we learn how to integrate into a new society, respect them for their values otherwise they wont respect ours. Lets first build some solid economical base before building mosques and hiding our identity behind burqa. I am of the opinion, if you unable to change for your own good then stay where you are, you will be much better off. Regards

Zaki Nov 28, 2016 05:00pm

@Avtar Canada is different from the US. Americans are trained in a manner where they feel proud to the level of racism that they're Americans. In America, they want you to forget who you are and become an American but Canada is totally different.

In Canada you're asked to maintain your back home values and language. Canada love diversification unlike America.

Here schools ask you to speak your local language with your kid at home because they don't want your kids to forget their values and from where they're from. Obviously that makes Canada a great country to live.

Khwarezmi Nov 28, 2016 05:03pm

@qamberali Come on yaar. Ethnicity has never been a problem in Pakistan which is ranked as one of the least racistic country in Asia. I even see many successful christians in all walks of life which will shatter the religious steriotype.

Anthony Nov 28, 2016 05:06pm

Very Good Article

Mahmood Nov 28, 2016 05:08pm

@Imperial Ahmed - Oh please! Give me a break! I've met Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers in Chicago, NY and LA with degrees from their erstwhile homeland. So you ask, why are they driving cabs, if they are 'highly educated'?

It is a direct reflection of the quality of the education and the piece of paper they brought with them from places like which is worthless in the US. So Canada is not an exception to discount these credentials. Not all of them have quality education or have degrees from dubious schools and colleges with little practical training and skills.

Iftikhar Husain Nov 28, 2016 05:08pm

Canada is not the only country facing these problems the whole western economies are in decline massive unemployment in European countries but it comes to the people to organize their lives which i low in case of Pakistan people.

Urooj Zaidi Nov 28, 2016 05:16pm

Really sad to know about the condition of Pakistani immigrants in Canada. My piece of advice to the people who don't have professional qualification is please don't migrate to Canada, in most cases you people almost spend all of your savings during migration process and by the time you arrived in Canada you have nothing.

Uday Kulkarni Nov 28, 2016 05:36pm

Good article

ZAK Nov 28, 2016 05:38pm

The best way for economic Independence is self employment like convenient stores, corner stores, and gas stations are a good start. I just moved from USA to Canada after the election there and looking to start a business here and I see a lot of opportunities here for a business man. Pakistanis are good business minded people and can succeed where ever they go.

Rao Amjad Ali Nov 28, 2016 05:40pm

Canada has one of the most enlightened immigration policies of any country in the world.

The point that the article misses by a long shot is that it does not take into account the fact that poverty among FIRST GENERATION immigrants in Canada tends to be high for reasons cited in the article. This is as true of Canada as of any other developed country.

However, since education in Canada is free up to high school (grade 12) and college or university education is fully supported by soft provincial government loans such as Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), the second generation Canadian immigrants are eminently able and do, in a vast majority of cases, break the cycle of poverty by getting relatively higher paying jobs.

That said, there are a handful of instances in which the level of effort required by both the parents and their off-springs, for a variety of reasons and some of them admittedly complex, is found wanting, which leads to poverty.

ahmed saeed Nov 28, 2016 05:47pm

my friends who got education in Australia and Canada are driving taxis, its not only education quality issue.

sunny Nov 28, 2016 05:47pm

I salute the author for writing such a bold article.

NY Nov 28, 2016 05:48pm

Well-researched article. I only want to quibble with the following:

"The unemployment rate in Thorncliffe Park stood at 16% in 2011, which was more than two-times that of Toronto. Even the employed were not earning enough to support a middle-class lifestyle."

The real unemployment rate in Toronto is probably over 20% and even white Canadians -- like their counterparts in the USA -- are struggling to maintain what used to be called a "middle-class lifestyle." The jobs are either not there (Ontario has been deindustrialising for over a decade) or in low-pay no-benefit service work (again like the USA and Europe). Immigrants of course bear the brunt of this new reality even more than the local people.

Oh, and add the fact that Toronto, like Vancouver, has seen exploding property prices (because of an influx of Chinese money) and so houses and apartments are completely unaffordable.

Asif Nov 28, 2016 05:54pm

@Nikesh My friend, it's sad that you failed to understand a simple fact of life. Any poor man in Pakistan or in India becomes relatively much better off as soon as he/she lands in North America or in an West European country. Nobody needs to go hungry and nobody dies without medical care in West Europe and in Canada and even USA. Can you say that for a poor man in Pakistan or in India? Poverty in India or Pakistan is much biting and painful than West Europe or in Canada/US.

Muhammad AHmed Nov 28, 2016 06:09pm

I am confused that how poverty is being defined by the author. The caption under the picture of healthy and happy looking child says that she is unable to enroll in gymnastics and taekwando. By that standard 99% of pakistani kids are poor. I certainly support some of the ideas presented by author in improving the overall economic statuture of immigrant community. However, Zara and children like her have a much greater opportunity to excel using a free public education system which is among the best in the world.

Masood Nov 28, 2016 06:14pm

Good of you to point this out.

Any suggestions on how to deal with the situation? Give them more dole? Tax the other "rich" Canadians so that people arriving from poor countries like Pakistan or India should be given free money, housing, clothing and food, so more and more of these people flood Canada?

Desi Nov 28, 2016 06:16pm

Problem with Pakistanis in Canada and every where else is the same, they don't want to mingle with locals and try to adopt their way of living. We only interact with Pakistanis after work and are depriving themselves opportunities for progress. We want to keep doing what we were doing back home and expect things to change. When you failed in Pakistan doing that, how can you expect to succeed in a foreign land. I am not saying to forget about your culture and where you came from but learn and adapt new and good things. Also accept the fact that Pakistan is now your second home and you have to work for the betterment of your adopted homeland. The bottom line is that unless you are highly educated, you will continue to struggle abroad as you did in Pakistan with the exception that you will get food stamps or other form of subsidies so that you could eat and not starve to death. We will never accept charity in Pakistan because it is beneath us to accept hand outs but we willing accept it.

Faisal Nov 28, 2016 06:15pm

These people have noone but themselves to blame. There is no shortage of jobs in Toronto. You also have ample opportunities to educate yourself and learn new skills, govt. Programs offer assistance to lower income families. All of the Pakistanis that I know are living comfortable lives in and near Toronto. Most of us are in a better financial position now compared to when we first immigrate d from Pakistan. I don't want to generalize but the people in Thorncliff would have lived in poverty no matter which country they immigrate d to.

ukasha Nov 28, 2016 06:15pm

Education and getting it from good institutions is the key to success. Its probably not as bad as the writer portrayed it, but i am sure they are bad but still they are way better off than the slums of Pakistan. Lack of education than the whole concept of working families does not exist in Pakistani community. They do not vote, not even on the lowest counsel level. If you have migrated for over 10,000 miles and now you are shy to integrate in the western society than its too bad and too late. work, go to school, than work with people, socialize and try to work for the betterment of your community once you are successful.

NY Nov 28, 2016 06:16pm

@Asif: "Nobody needs to go hungry and nobody dies without medical care in West Europe and in Canada and even USA. Can you say that for a poor man in Pakistan or in India? Poverty in India or Pakistan is much biting and painful than West Europe or in Canada/US."

You are correct that poverty is Pakistan is more biting than in Europe and North America. Nevertheless poverty in the West does hurt. And for Pakistanis it is exacerbated by the lack of community support structures. The Pakistanis do not have mutual-help community structures. The Sikhs do, the Jews do, the Poles do, the Vietnamese do. But for Pakistanis, nothing. The other things are not within control -- the substandard qualifications Pakistanis bring, the inevitable job discrimination, the lack of fluency in English and French, the dismal employment market -- but community structure is something people can do something about. Yet do nothing about.

Simba Nov 28, 2016 06:17pm

@Nikesh many people immigrate primarily because of the better welfare facilities and healthcare. They know that once they (and their extra large families) get citizenship, running their family becomes a national responsibility. And this hardship is considered as a one time investment for lifelong freebies.

Syed Waqar Ali, Canada Nov 28, 2016 06:21pm

Very good write-up. Since it is based on poverty, it would have been better if some reference to gini coefficient was made.

Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY Nov 28, 2016 06:24pm

@ahmed saeed You have honestly mentioned about your friends who in spite of their good education they are living abroad as taxi drivers.So quality wise in reality they have achieved nothing.

Taimur Nov 28, 2016 06:26pm

@Urooj Zaidi Those who have professional qualification it is more difficult for them to settle as they look for the white collar jobs. For low qualified people, there are lot of opportunities and they can earn far better than in Pakistan. Furthermore, I would disagree with you that immigration process is very expensive. If you follow the right process through skilled migration program it is not expensive at all.

Jawaid kamal Nov 28, 2016 06:44pm

Great write up ,

Rahul Nov 28, 2016 06:49pm

Completely agree with the author. Physical migration is happening, mental migration is nor.

Ghaznavi Nov 28, 2016 06:55pm

I can tell you that the bleak picture drawn by the Richmond hill resident is not even close to reality. Thorncliffe is not lalukhayt or Golimar of Toronto. This is a place where Pakistanis live in greater numbers. People living here are software developers, engineers , doctors and yes taxi drivers and shopping mall workers and new immigrants, these days from Afghanistan. I enjoyed living in Thorncliffe park as I liked the amenities like Pakistani halal grocery stores and the Mosque and lots of friends. BTW I am visiting Toronto next week to deliver Software Development training to our Canadian subsidiary and I plan to dine at Bamiyan restaurant in THORNCLIFFE PARK.

kdp Nov 28, 2016 06:56pm

@Nikesh Being poor in western countries including North America is million times better than being poor in South Asia. Scope of Future success of their children in most cases is far better (being poor in Canada is far better than being poor than in the USA)

Pakistan Nov 28, 2016 07:01pm

The fact is that people are still migrating and still living in Canada. This begs the question why to stay in poverty if that is what you say. I think newcomers in every society have to evolve. Those that evolve succeed. The rest get nationality and move back to Middle East.

Beefeater Nov 28, 2016 07:10pm

You find the "same" situation here in the UK as well, second and third generation following in their parents footsteps, granted there are a "small minority" who have succeeded, but majority still in poverty trap. The educated professionals who came here have obviously integrated well into the host country and are very successful.

Heart Nov 28, 2016 07:11pm

@Hyder immigrants who make an effort to learn proper English and assimilate with the locals always succeed. But those immigrants who are lazy to make an effort in learning English or assimilate with local culture are the ones who stay poor. So let us not blame the host country of "discrimination".

Harry Nov 28, 2016 07:13pm

@Nikesh I couldn't agree with you more. The people who suffer are the ones with no skills or education. When I go back to Pakistan to visit my relatives, there is always someone who will ask me if I can sponsor or take him abroad. That particlular is umemployed and does not want to work. So what do you expect. I have a business in West Africa and I need people who skills and there is demand for these kind of people not labourers. So I suggest to these people living in Canada to go to college or skill centres and learn some basic skills e.g. bricklaying etc and get a good job. Its a start. But will anyone want to listen. No.

BADSHAHCANADA Nov 28, 2016 07:17pm

The employers discriminate against all immigrants as they have no Canadian work experience. Even people from UK like me had to face the same. The only thing that works in Canada is networking, need to make an effect to create relationships. We call it safarish they call it networking. Canadian value hard work and do not really put a lot emphasis on education. There is great shortage of trade, there are a lot of grants available to get qualified training for trades from various colleges for new immigrants.

rashid bhatti Nov 28, 2016 07:22pm

very nice.I would love if author shed a light on long term identity loss(all kinds) of migrants who strive hard for financial stability but lose everything else.

ANWAR Nov 28, 2016 07:26pm

Nice information gathered. These countries offer immigration but no care for new immigrants. You will find thousand stories like this.

Adnan Nov 28, 2016 07:25pm

Canada is a mess . why? the same kind of reasons for entire economic class were sighted when immigration bill (the new act 2002) was pushed through.

result? Big mess. over a hundred thousand cases came on back burner and suddenly immigration to Canada which used to take 8 months from Pakistan became 4 years by 2004-5. Things have never been same again; with the long and drawn out battle between Canadian Immigration authorities and Canadian govt. the later suing the former for lying in its parliament about facts & figures to push through the IRPA 2002. Its a mess. Apply to Canada if you are in your early 30's max and have a multinational company experience in FMCG or at least 6 years experience in technical (software or any engineering). Then spend the money (lacs of rupees) in landing there after 4 years. Then next step is enroll in as good uni. as you can and update your degree i.e. go back to school. Only then you will make it in Canada. Otherwise its a waste of effort.

Kamil Gani Nov 28, 2016 07:28pm

I'm sure they are still better off in Canada than in Pakistan otherwise they would have gone back to Pakistan.

naji Nov 28, 2016 07:29pm

@Taimur , Good to know, Mr. Taimur, I am P.Eng (Sr. professional engineer), worked for Ontario's top 3 generation plants for 15 years. "Health services free" detail can not be so important here if compared to Pakistan. Can we compare Pakistan's heart, cancer, skin, kidney patient treatment to Canadian medical treatment facilities? Absolutely not. I am talking about 99.99% migrants. Yes medicine are not provided by Doctor if not covered.

Ali Nov 28, 2016 07:29pm

@Taimur How long have you lived in Canada? Just curious to know since there IS free health care coverage. The premiums you are paying are for private health insurance which provides extended coverage. (i.e. drugs are not covered under the free healthcare system, physiotherapy) Also, as for your comparison between education, if you study in a public school in Canada you are guaranteed entrance into a university as long as you have 65% average. No university can deny you entry if you can't afford it. They will literally pay for you. Whether a kid becomes a rocket scientist after a Bachelors or Masters or PHD does not matter. The system is designed to gradually provide quality education over a number of years. In Pakistan a Kid is supposed to be a rocket scientist from grade 8.

GK Nov 28, 2016 07:31pm

The author perfectly concluded in the last two sentences.

umar khitab Nov 28, 2016 07:37pm

The reason why people migrate is in pursuit of happiness, safety, security and good times. The governments in Pakistan post 1973 have got it easy let the people go out and be on their own..Canada is not a friendly place for immigrants, it needs young people to keep it going with below healthy growth rates immigrants are called in to come and toil. Pakistanis unfortunately have been brought up without education, health and sense of security so would end up being the dwellers of ghettos whether its Toronto or London.

Steven rEDDI Nov 28, 2016 07:37pm

Hi, I am local to Toronto and have immigrated from India. I salute the author. I am regular to Thronclif area and the author has shown the real picture. Please do not break the mirror if you have a scar on your face. I feel pity when I see the poverty around this area.

jm Nov 28, 2016 07:38pm

@Abdulkarim The only erstwhile Hindu country Nepal has embraced secularism in 2007.Hinduism is reported to be the religion of 81.34% of the population followed by Buddhism (9.04%), Islam(4.38%), Kirat (3.04%), Christianity .

Proud Indian Nov 28, 2016 07:42pm

Be an asset to the nation you immigrate than a liability, you would always be welcomed. See the way majority of Indians respectfully assimilate in the local culture while maintaining goodness of their own values.

FQ Nov 28, 2016 07:45pm

As a Pakistani Torontonian, it bothers me when I go to Thorncliffe. There are definite issues. Having said that, working here I know for sure that there are plenty of opportunities. It will take time for new immigrants from Pakistan to survive, but once they settle they will do fine. On paper, Pakistanis fare a lot worse than they really are since many take benefit of welfare.

MUrad Nov 28, 2016 07:54pm

western governments are mercenaries of banksters. they make policies which are implemented through corporations for illegal profits.

people have to say no to these discriminatory policies collectively. it is a political problem, not a pakistani specific issue. i have seen chinese, english and american people living and eating in worst conditions. this problem is faced by billions of people in india, china, pakistan, iran, afghanistan, america, uk, japan, most of europe, africa, asia and south america.

it is not even race specific. blacks and whites all suffer alike. they should wake up for their rights and take charge of their destiny.

SHAN Nov 28, 2016 07:56pm

let me guess this family mentioned in this article send money back home and not saving enough for them self.

kamal Nov 28, 2016 07:59pm

People migrate to Canada for: 1. To give their children good education that is heavily subsidised. 2. To get world class health facilities for almost free. 3. To give themselves and their children another Passport for better jobs abroad later. 4. For a better chance for a lucrative job in the USA. 5. To have a chance to travel without Visas to the country of their choice.

A bit of hardship might be worth it.

Faisal Nov 28, 2016 08:09pm

Such articles should be written on Canadian news sites for local to read. It is fine to have it here for future immigrants. Key is to make already immigrated families to read and chart a better course.

Fuzail Ghori Nov 28, 2016 08:12pm

I don't agree with you a bit I lived in those neighborhood 99% are refugees there not immigrants and I hope you understand the difference in between. As my self and many other folks I know off are doing excellent compare to locals and with our Pakistani education and proud of it also so get your facts straight

Imran Chaudhry Nov 28, 2016 08:15pm

Here is small list of things Zara's parents can or could have done in their time in Canada.

1-take student loans to improve his / her education to make a better living 2-Mother can work or study to make more income 3-Move to other cities / province famous for better job conditions 4-enroll will the many Govt and private child aid programs to improve their condition 5-put zara is daycare or Kindergarden, and WORK to pay for it. 6-He/She can drive UBER and make more money than a security guard 7-He can study WHILE he is doing security. Many ppl do it. 8-Go work in the USA under NAFTA

Assuming they dont have any disabilities, they should strive to work better jobs and both should work to make ends meet. I am sorry but they seem to be not doing enough to change their conditions.

Shafique Khan Nov 28, 2016 08:15pm

@Third Opinion Because they are not welcomed there. They even don't know whether you are truly a Muslim or not. The Arab world will never allow to other Muslims to come and live with them coz they have the class problem.

Subbu Chandra Nov 28, 2016 08:16pm

As a Torontonian living in Canada and who immigrated in 2006, I see the situation very clearly. Pakistanis and Indians who have come from Middle east with some saving seem to fare better. I believe women should be empowered and allowed to work to stem the said population from slipping further. As it is, most locals believe that immigrants seem not to integrate and by not being flexible in a new place we are only proving them right... However, in the area I live both Pakistanis and indians seem to be doing very well. Universities such as Waterloo and Toronto have a sizable population of Indian/Pakistani students, so, we need not despair so much.

Subbu Chandra Nov 28, 2016 08:21pm

@FSU there are special schools set up teaching new entrants about the Canadian way of life...my wife who never worked when she came to Canada is doing extremely well and is a byproduct of this institution. However, there is a gap between what the Government wishes and the hiring private sector! While the Government is trying to push multiculturalism forward, the private sector does not seem to buy it.

SECOND Comment Nov 28, 2016 08:29pm

Also, many 'purposely' like to camouflage themselves under poverty because of grants and assistance provided by Canada. They like to show themselves poor on the record and to remain in low tax bracket, they also prefer to have more kids due to Child Benefits they receive. Refer to above link so see children population.

Masood Hussain Nov 28, 2016 08:32pm

Thank you very much,Mr.Haider for nice,well written ,and illustrated with facts and figures,article.my personal experience is that it is question of priorities.Muslim communities are well oriented to sort out these and they do it.

Subbu Chandra Nov 28, 2016 08:41pm

@Abdulkarim ..I understood as to what you are implying, but actually, middle class educated Indians prefer not to immigrate as pay scales in India are pretty good these days. A couple of my own classmates went back to India as they felt the jobs offered in Canada were not upto their education.

YXS Nov 28, 2016 08:40pm

doling out welfare money is one of the causes of laziness. One of the reasons immigrants thrive in US is absence of welfare cash. We have our problems but in Canada the motivation to provide better life for your kids is not there since based on the number of kids every family gets cash. Then all you need to do find yourself an odd job to supplement the rest of the expenses.

Dan man Nov 28, 2016 08:48pm

You are poor in a country in Canada or UK, or US, due to your own lack of effort, these Western countries, unlike back home in Pakistan or India, provide you multiple opportunities to educate yourself and succeed. The only poor people in Western Countries are those that have drug problems, lack of motivation, lack of energy. The opportunities are there. Like they say it in America, you can take a horse to a water fountain but you can not make it drink water, unless the horse wants it. I lived in US for 26 years and grew up in an immigrant ghetto in Queens, New York. Went to University, got BBA in Finance, could not find any job in Banking, moved to different States, and finally got a degree in Nursing, I am a Pakistani Male Nurse - RN, and now I make good Money, Alhumdulilha. just like author writes, equip yourself with skills in demand, like healthcare, Nursing, Certified Electrician, Plumber, Auto Mechanic, Insurance agent, etc. Don't limit yourself. Explore what out there

Ali Nov 28, 2016 08:54pm

Excellent report bringing out harsh reality of Pakistanis in Canada. Though many are educated they end up doing menial jobs. What is shocking is thousands abused Canadian laws seeking political asylum, even though we have democracy and freedom in Pakistan. Many asylum seekers are guilty of fraud submitting forged documents. Canadian government is investigating and several hundred families have been deported.

asim Nov 28, 2016 08:57pm

There are tons of opportunities here, I hope many of these people get jobs. In addition there is a system in place, the government here will not let you down. The education and health is free. If you are poor you can apply for social assistance.

Lahori Kid Nov 28, 2016 09:00pm

I am stunned to read this article, although I have lived my entire life in United States, I was always under the impression that Canadians were better off than the Americans in so many ways, and it is easier to move to Canada than USA, little that I knew,I was wrong. It is true that when Pakistanis migrate to another country for a better life and opportunity, they tend to move the entire tribe(family) which in my opinion, is a losing battle before it even starts. One man earns to feed 10 mouths, cannot put it any other way, I have seen it here in Texas on many occasions, but never realized that the families were poverty stricken.

Ali Nov 28, 2016 09:01pm

@Asif yes I can take your challenge.

The best of breed Cancer radiology machine is at Jinnah, Cyber Knife. It has the highest utilization rate in the world and it is free (even for foreigners if they come).

Have a heart attack. Lahore has the best hospital and its free

Eye Treatment, LRBT beats the 5 star and its all over Pakistan

Colorectal - Jinnah

Food: Go to Eidhi, Khana Ghar, and countless other trusts

Trust me Pakistan has everything, including our laziness

Lahori Kid Nov 28, 2016 09:02pm

Pakistanis move to Canada or US to work in the convenient stores, Indians move to work i the Motel businesses, either way, they never change their way of life, at times, it appears they are having a hard time, but in reality, they are living the same way they did back home, so don't judge the book by its cover, not saying that the writer is wrong, it just might be that way in Canada.

Agha Ata Nov 28, 2016 09:06pm

A material effort for material goals, and a spiritual effort for spiritual goals. They will no work for each other.

Rashid Sultan Nov 28, 2016 09:08pm

@Hyder Your blanket statement on the fate of Paskistanis, Bengalis (Bangladeshis) and Indians is incorrect. From published census statistics in the US and UK you will find while unemployment is highest for Pakistanis & Bangladeshis, it isn't so for Indians (of all faiths). In fact the average income and education levels for Indian immigrants is higher than of the locals. Next highest unemployed are of African and Afro Caribbean origin. However, there are many well to do Pakistani professionals and business people in both USA and UK.

Mohsin Khan Nov 28, 2016 09:12pm

@Nikesh Just society that homeland fails to offer.

Mohsin Khan Nov 28, 2016 09:17pm

Excellent article; but seeing this first hand, there is a change in mindset that is required by the members of that particular area.

Living with certain cliches and some standards back home should be dropped and there is definitely an issue with adapting the new things.

People in Thorncliff are caught in between two realities, one in front of their eye and other that they dont want to change.

That is a huge contributing factor in the current plight. Construction jobs are thought to be "Mazdoori"which people find beneath themselves coming from Middle or lower middle class in Pakistan.

That mindset needed to be fixed; for them to flourish, and they can. There are examples all over of people how have done better.

Dr REEM KHAN Nov 28, 2016 09:24pm

@Hyder the problem is this sir ..if you see how the canadians treat us you ll come to know what dignity is...iv was working as a consultant gynaecologist in karachi for last 12 years and was among the most previliged class yet the general attitude of our people seems like a night mare to me now when iv settled in canada .People here are soo nice and humane ,they esp the white will treat you as if you are their best friends ,with a v big smile and warm welcomes and a very very helping attitude...everywhere.Provided the security,the peace ,the available facilities right from the public transport system till the daily required grocery availability has no way any match to the back home environment ...i can only pray to god and wish that one day our country will also have a reflection of this society...

StarMan Nov 28, 2016 09:42pm

the cost of believing in FAIRY TALES !

KHALID TORONTO Nov 28, 2016 09:51pm

Some of us continue to live here so that our kids may have a better life.

N. Rahim -- Toronto Nov 28, 2016 10:46pm

Though I mostly agree with the author, but the Canadian job market is highly racial. Its difficult for a foreign trained individual to find a proper job even with quality education. While the supervisors at stores and call centers where most immigrants from the sub continent work are barely high school graduates, the people working under them are MBAs, engineers, Chartered Accountants and even physicians. I wonder if a high school diploma can be considered better or equal to any University degree however poor the quality of education is. Canada will never grow/prosper if they do not hire or PREPARE these immigrants to be professionally hired. After all, the educational qualifications were thoroughly checked before Canada issued any immigration visa to any individual or family. While Pakistani wives should consider to work, the men should upgrade themselves with certifications etc. in their field of expertise. This is the only way forward to improve their livelihood.

Naeem Nov 28, 2016 10:56pm

Several Pakistani families I know who dont buy houses here in Canada because they dont wanna pay Mortgage, their strict conservative belief stops them from doing so, though many dont agree with them but that is the reason they continue to live in rented houses and dont reap the benefit of price appreciation of Real Estate which has made several communities [Italian, Indian, Arabs] multi-millions here in Canada.

Muzaffar saeed Nov 28, 2016 11:00pm

@YXS True

Lezz Nov 28, 2016 11:02pm

@kash How much tax credits do you get on top of that. Add the child benefit on top of that!

eli Nov 28, 2016 11:19pm

Foreign education does not mean much in Canada. To get a job in Canada, you need to have good support from your community and spouses, and that is where Pakistanis lag the most.

Mezan Nov 28, 2016 11:36pm

I have seen many examples of people who were well settled in Pakistan with decent education, they moved to Canada or Australia. After years of moving to these countries, they are still not able to find the relevant jobs, or they are financially stable.

My request to all those immigrants and for those who are planning to immigrate in future is that honestly Pakistan as a developing market has more opportunities than the developed countries. So it might look fancy to move to such countries, have another nationality as a backup, but there is nothing better than living with your family, friends, relatives and country mates around you.

Trust me, if Pakistan's economy is not creating enough job, it still has much more opportunities in setting up business and earning a handsome amount of money without leaving the country.

Please consider these things while leaving the country.

A well wisher from Islamabad, Pakistan

zeeshandxb Nov 28, 2016 11:49pm

Come back. The economy is moving east. I am a businessman and i hope this comment is saved and looked back after 4 years when people will be returning back to pakistan india.

Usama Iqbal Nov 28, 2016 11:51pm

Being an immigrant to Canada from Pakistan and having lived in Thorncliffe Park for about 8 years, there is a lot I disagree with here. The problem here is not the Canadian system, but the resentment against integrating into Canadian society. You see Thorncliffe Park is no different than living in Dehli Colony. From your shops to the mosque, to the restaurants, the majority speaks Urdu and understand very little English, dress in Kurta Shalwar and the topic of discussion is always Pakistani politics or religion. Living in a place like that an immigrant learns nothing of value, they are confined to the same system and values that they wanted to escape. The number one factor that adds to the success of any immigrant is his ability to speak the local language fluently, living in Thorncliffe park the residents barely ever speak English except for when they go for job interviews where they fail miserably Be willing to integrate and Canada is truly a land of opportunity !

Sha1234 Nov 29, 2016 12:00am

I like your idea of establishing trade schools (polytechnic ) to help people master trade skills . But the problem is that the culture that some of these immigrants are coming from becomes a barrier. What I mean is that cooking and becoming a chef is a good paying job but it would be equated as a domestic servant back home. So education - not the school kind., cultural education of Canada must be taught in Mosques for people to understand it's ok to do these kind of jobs in Canada. MAY GOD BLESS CANADA .

Danish Nov 29, 2016 12:00am

Masjid is a place where Muslim community can interact with each other and it will help in building muslim community. In my personal view offering prayers does not stop one from earning decent pay. Muslims should spend on acquiring new skills. Actually people do not want to work smart and hard, they have no vision in life . They do not think beyond eating, sleeping and going to routine job that do not add much to their career growth.

Deep Nov 29, 2016 12:01am

Excellent analysis and perhaps time someone detailed all this.

I hope we can curb Pakistani immigration into Canada - also, being a Pakistani Canadian I can attest to the fact that Canada has NOT 'imported' the best and brightest minds from our country per se. Most people here (Toronto) lack the ability to speak a complete, grammatically correct sentence in English - so of course they'll struggle to get good jobs as well.

I have been the world over and I can attest to the fact that Pakistani people are stubborn when it comes to change - which baffles me as to why they move in the first place.

saeeds Nov 29, 2016 12:09am

Everything is good abroad in our adopted countries and everything is bad in our Pakistan. Pakistan is like old poor wrinkle mother who now getting tired after feeding and educated us. But we abuse her with our corruption , overpopulation and ethnic and religion division. Our adopted western countries is like pretty step rich mother no matter what how she treat us we like her.

sh Nov 29, 2016 12:19am

Being a Pakistani Canadian I can say that huge number of Pakistanis performing brilliantly and at highest level, whether its Private sector or running own business. Only challenge for new immigrants is that they have to have equivalent professional standards and set of skills with demanded education, as for as Canadian corporate culture is concerned. Depend on individual's ability that how quickly such skills could be achieved, in order to get into market that have equal opportunities with no discrimination. On the other hand Govt offer full support like tax exemptions, medical facilities, Educational funding to facilitate new immigrants to upgrade their skills. Its unfortunate to those who for some reason, still struggling.

Hopeful Nov 29, 2016 12:31am

There is another fact not mentioned by the Author. It is that all family members have to work in Canada. The wife cannot sit at home and be a House wife. Women have to join the workforce and become earning members. Work is available in Toronto for all. May not earn you $80,000 or $90,000 but when the family unit works together they succeed. My family is an example of this.

Salman Nov 29, 2016 12:36am

@Third Opinion they do

critic Nov 29, 2016 12:45am

The last three sentences sums it all perfectly...

Secularist Nov 29, 2016 12:58am

@mudasar From 2012, Pakistani Rupee has deteriorated by 20% against US Dollar. If you consider that an improvement in the economy, well I leave it at that!

shawn Nov 29, 2016 01:15am

she is right i worked as a social worker and damn Ontario is poor

True pICTURE Nov 29, 2016 01:33am

I am in Canada for 14 years now and I agree with the writer. When I landed in Toronto, I decided to live in the downtown Toronto for two reasons, tons of good paying (odd jobs) and two major university. Get my degree upgraded, got my engineering licence and now have a govt. job. My wife (degree in IT) did some courses & now working as QA Manager in a big IT company. Thorncliffe people have stereo type (compartment) thinking, never try to built network for jobs, physically they are in Canada by mentally and emotionally still in Pakistan. I am more worried of the future of young generation living in Thorncliffe as they will struggle to fit socially.

sardar Nov 29, 2016 01:43am

While some of writer observations are correct as far as Thorncliffee area is concerned but how come he thinks that this area represent whole Pakistani community in Canada. Did he observe and analyse Pakistani people living elsewhere like in Mississauga and Markham. Those people are well off and living a good lifestyle.

ASHI Nov 29, 2016 01:51am

@Can you name any rich muslim country willing to give immigration, based on point system comprising education, investment, experience, you name it

Guest101 Nov 29, 2016 02:08am

It makes a lot of sense for first generation immigrants to live in a "budget" locality. As they get more resources they, move up the ladder.

Sadia Nov 29, 2016 02:14am

@qamberali is

Is there anything I can do to help you? I am a Pakistani Canadian.

I am sorry you are going through so much especially for the suffering of your children.

Rehman Nov 29, 2016 02:31am

I live in the UK, and as per the UK government statistics, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi unemployment rate and education rate is lower than most other communities. I know of may professional and successful Pakistanis in London, but I think the overall statistics of Pakistanis performance is pulled down because of the poorer, unemployed Pakistanis mostly living in the north of England. For some reason, the British Indian employment rate and education rate is higher than for other communities (in some cases even better than the locals). The reasons for this are not fully clear, but it could be historic, ie. many Pakistanies chose to work in the manufacturing sector in previous decades, and much of the manufacturing sector has now closed down rendering them unemployed.

say Nov 29, 2016 02:41am

I came to Australia 16 years ago as an engineering graduate from UET Lahore with experience in relevant industry but failed to find a job in the industry. I studied IT here and switched my career path and now doing quite well (AH). The reason to tell my story is that if you can't find a job in your line of expertise, be prepared to change! I would have become a bricklayer, carpenter or an electrician since these skills are quite in demand and pay you well ( Look at all the tradies driving finest of the Utes/Trucks!). When you migrate to a western countries you have to be flexible and be prepared to change to the demands of the local market. Also no work is bad or of low social standards. I have seen Chinese and some Punjabi Indians who can barely speak English but very successfully working as painters, concreters or just an all round trades person. Good on them for working hard and making the most of what is available.

Muba Nov 29, 2016 02:54am

@Nikesh The point you raise has its own answer in it..why would someone keep living in poverty when they are getting a chance to escape..not only it is human nature to take the risk but also basic necessities like food, water and shelter is available in western nations.

ArshaD Nov 29, 2016 03:24am

@Muhammad AHmed I see your argument. However, the main problem is, after high school, universities and colleges can be extremely expensive. Unfortunately, a lot of immigrants are unable to send their children to universities simply because they are too expensive.

ANIS Nov 29, 2016 03:34am

@Hyder Unfortunatley, there is no dignity afforded to a minority in Pakistan. People would rather choose to live in poverty with equal opportunities and religious freedom than be part of a country which cannot respect minorities.

Ali Nov 29, 2016 03:38am

@Asif Ahmed - Agree with the 'as well as are stubborn to change in lifestyle.' as I lived with some Pakistanis and I have experienced this first hand. They are really nice people but are simply not ready to give up their lifestyle to adjust.

gt Nov 29, 2016 03:39am

Pakistani and Indians can help each other finding jobs and many other ways.We understand and speak same language.

DrK Nov 29, 2016 05:42am

@FSU - Excellent observation.

Sikandar Hayat Nov 29, 2016 07:01am

Dear Murtaza, I differ with your story & its findings on the poverty & financial health of Pakistani Canadian. I think presenting any information specially in National newspaper like Dawn, there is a need to understand the dynamics of Canadian & North American job market & its social fibre. I have been living in Canada since 2005 & have experienced many sad & hard realities. But it does not mean all is bad. The Throncliffe area in Toronto does not represent whole of Canada. As you mentioned in your article, I will state that Canada is a huge country with huge areas, resources & opportunities. From mid of 1990, many professional Pakistani including engineers, accountants, researchers moved for better future & life, & I have no doubt that majority had success in their profession & have been living a decent life. Now there is another picture, we as nation & individual do not want to work hard, & if do not adjust according to the changing needs of job market, it is hard to adjust. This job market is not designed only for immigrants from Pakistani, this job market is for every immigrant who can work & compete. This is not traditional & lazy job style if once is hired & will retire after death. Those Pakistani immigrant did not understand & change their work behaviors, this is really hard for them. Secondly, our half of immigrant workforce do not work as mostly woman prefer to stay home,this makes more difficult & hard for single working person. But in spite of this I will not agree with this finding that children in the Thorncliffe are facing malnutrition, I guess we need to find difference in malnutrition in Pakistan & Canada. I am not saying all is good but I want to present a honest & real face of community.

ashraf Nov 29, 2016 07:40am

Its the choices an immigrant community makes which determines their future.

On the one hand we have a large number of families who are working hard & educating their future generation. Unfortunately, on the other hand there is a larger number who are denying women's participation in the work force & carrying the baggage of their past. Not easy to live on single income in the west..

imran Nov 29, 2016 07:42am

@Abdulkarim Haha. Good one.

Khalid Nov 29, 2016 09:43am

I lived in Oakville, Ontario (Halton Region) from 2006 to 2013.

I agree to the entire analysis since I witnessed some of it first hand by living in a suburb of Toronto. As a matter of fact I was on the faculty for Continuing Education for famous city college of Toronto, Centennial College for five years.

What I don't agree to is writer's implication that building mosques or asking for prayer rooms are some how hindering Pakistanis to make the meaningful advancements.

It's our education system that is producing graduate who can't even have a decent and educated conversation. I am not mentioning the language barrier. I am talking about the 'knowledge and skills'. Writer termed it as 'human capital'. Sadly, we, Pakistanis don't want to learn new skills and technology.

If you keep doing what you have been doing, you will keep getting what you have been getting. CHANGE.

Canadian Pakistan Nov 29, 2016 09:50am

There is always two side of this story. If promise opportunity is available easily and how much you try to change your self to adopt the system and stood fast in the struggle to improve your life and the skills .

Canadian Pakistan

shaz Nov 29, 2016 10:01am

You can blame less skill education and lack of flexibility but now a days. Even, good education cannot guarantee you a job. Job market is very competitive and contract jobs are in fashion and if your contract finish and not renew then one can become frustrated very quickly. My opinion is, there is too much education in the world without any hard skills. There is only one solution keep trying and try to acquire 2 or 4 skills . If you fail with one skill then try with others.

PESHAWAR KHAN Nov 29, 2016 10:06am

Canada is a great country. Great people. Beautiful land. A lot of opportunities. It does not bar you to get a decent living. It provides the opportunity actually. But as the article states, lack of education, lack of english skills, and most of all the trend in most of Pakistani, Indian, Afghan, Bangladeshis, Arabs, etc. is to live off the government, get low income housing, have lots of kids, get $490 per child from the government and work on a cash based jobs to avoid taxes.

Whoever has tried hard, gotten what he was looking for in Canada. Viva la Canada.

Dr. salma gul shah Nov 29, 2016 10:23am

Very interesting read.

Ghazali mufti Nov 29, 2016 10:30am

Well researched and written article. Thanks for shedding light on the plight of a section of Pakistani immigrants.

Sara Nov 29, 2016 10:29am

@Third Opinion I agree

ahmed saeed Nov 29, 2016 10:31am

@JAMIL SOOMRO, my point was its not the education system, i know some my friends and family members are doing jobs with their Pakistani education in canada and Australia, also if Pakastani education specifically i am talking about engineering if not that good how they are allowed to get admissions into Masters research programs without the pre-requisites of doing extra courses.

Aamer Nov 29, 2016 10:43am

@Avtar So true.

ali Nov 29, 2016 11:14am

In my opinion Pakistanis, us as a nation are not adaptive to new places... we lives in closed societies and do not interact with others....i have been working in Dubai for past five years and i can see the flaws that we take from our society....The only solution is accept other people's ideas and try to more flexible in other people's opinion... I am an engineering graduate from NUST and i disagree with the writer regarding education is a hindrance in other countries...Our graduates excel individually and are very very poor in team work....I know only one thing it depends on the individual how he sells his skills in the market, the degree can get you more job interviews and thats it...it a competitive market and survival of the fittest...

Sara Nov 29, 2016 11:55am

@raja You are so right. Indians are very hard working

Sara Nov 29, 2016 11:57am

If you don't have a good English education and skills then don't waste your time going to a western country.

bkt Nov 29, 2016 02:16pm

@kamal : You are talking only about a class that already gets a relatively higher income. But most people do not have this facility. Even many people who work in Oil states realize they will eventually be laid off and do not want to return to Pakistan so they take immigration based on the false hopes the CIC creates. It is an expensive venture going Canada and beyond the means of most Pakistanis who get the immigration but do not have the means to settle there properly.

Li-N-Ja Nov 29, 2016 02:40pm

I don't understand our people crave so hard to immigrate to west while accusing them for all our problem. Once they immigrate, they create ghettos and create a replica of homeland there. Than they ask for personal laws to follow instead of the law of that land and there it starts creating the gap between the native of that land and immigrants. An immigrants should be prepared mentally to assimilate with the local natives in way that no one can differentiate. Those who can not should better be stay home.

qamberali Nov 29, 2016 03:48pm

@Khwarezmi this is not a forum for chat, u come to Quetta and see for yourself the ethnic tension

Cricket Addict Nov 29, 2016 04:05pm

@Nikesh ..... you really have no idea what you are talking about. Everyone has a birth right to struggle for a better life. I actually fail to understand why would the educated leave their homelands in India and Pakistan in the first place when they have the right education, skills and knowledge!

Mirza Nov 29, 2016 04:19pm

@mudasar Better in your dreams!

qamberali Nov 29, 2016 04:27pm

@Sadia
thanks for support, pray for Pakistan's batterment

shahid Nov 29, 2016 05:12pm

excellent article, few other issues , Canada has shortage of truck drivers and other non-college degree technical jobs. Pakistan does not offer world class techincal education for mold makers/electricians/plumbers etc. Other issue for advanced countries is that technology is replacing many jobs, less workers will be needed in near future. This will continue to cause income inequality.

Asif Nov 29, 2016 05:37pm

Well I won't agree with you sir. I have just moved to Canada almost 3 weeks back as a Skilled Worker. I have done by Bachelors in Pakistan and have got a job in Canada in my field. My brother and sister have already been living there since last 5 years. Interestingly there family income , inclusive of tax, is CAD$ 44000 which is lower than what you have mentioned of the Thorncliffe park residents. They have their own home and have one vehicle and enjoying an excellent life style. Their children education is absolutely free. Their health care is absolutely free. When i discussed this article with by brother and sister yesterday, they started laughing and said we would love to see poverty in Thorncliffe park and would love to meet them. Either they are not PR holders or they don't know how to live in Canada. I believe you are based in Toronto as well and you know very well why people here have large family size i.e. more kids so that they can get more CTB from the govt.

Asif Nov 29, 2016 05:46pm

Well I won't agree with you Mr. Haider. I have just moved to Canada 3 weeks back as a Skilled Worker in IT field based on my education and experience completely acquired in Pakistan. I already have my bro and sis family living in Canada for last 5 years and enjoying a very good living life style. Interestingly their family income is CAD$ 44000 inclusive of taxes in which they are able to manage their own apartment, one vehicle. Although their family size is 3 includes husband, wife and a kid. This income is lesser than what you have mentioned for Thorncliffe residents. I shared this article with my bro and sis last night and they started laughing and said they would love to meet canadian pakistani PR holders who are observing poverty here. Well what can i say sir. I know many many pakistani's here who are enjoying a v.good life here with their families. Don't depict only one side of the picture. Don't misguid people who want to migrate to Canada for their better future.

Menon Nov 29, 2016 05:54pm

Actually, this is a problem with all uneducated and educated immigrants who refuse to assemilate. These people fanatically hold onto practices of their country and force themselves to live in their adopted country as they would in their native country.

The situation would be exactly the same, it the roles were reversed.

Those who are fanatic about their native way of life and are inflexible and are determined continue to live as they would in their native countries should never emigrate to another country and if they do, they can exapct a miserable life.

It is not the host country's fault.

Avtar Nov 29, 2016 05:59pm

@N. Rahim -- Toronto While there is an element of race (show me a country without one) once you get a job the discrimination is limited. I am retired now. Hard work and personality (ability to contribute) are the factors to success. Despite living in Canada for 50 years and married to a Canadian I cannot get rid of my accent. The Chinese people have the same issue. Our children do not have the accent and had no problems in finding jobs and holding on to jobs. Integration into the Canadian society is very important - not only to do water cooler talk - but also to live in society in general.

Menon Nov 29, 2016 06:06pm

@Nikesh

Only as long as they are willing to assimilate and integrate within the society. Completely aware of all the criticism immigrants have of their host countries and how good their lives were in thier native country.

One thing, Muslims and other immigrnats forget that the Westerners have mostly open and accepting culture and they accept immigrants while the immigrant does not accept the host countries way of life. This is especially true for Pakistanis, Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Latino's, Russians and Eastern Europeans.

Most are are closed socities and steeped in strict relgious fanaticism. Unless and until one is willing assimilate and adapt, one should not complain about poverty.

Education is not an indication of any talent or superiority and there plenty of educated fanatics and they are more dangerous than the uneducated ones.

Laeeq,NY Nov 29, 2016 06:25pm

When people elect to live on welfare stipend and don't look for a job, they end up in these ghettos . People who want to earn by work, they own their houses. Blame does not go to the Canada but to the people who elected that kind of lifestyle.

Sohaib Nov 29, 2016 06:25pm

I live in Thorncliffe Park. And I have seen that many educated Pakistanis adjust themselves really well. Those who hold professional degrees but are unable to pursue their careers in Canada (lawyers, engineers, doctors etc.) mostly end up doing business or cash jobs. There is also a good number of Pakistani professionals in the area earning decent incomes. So far in my experience the common thing I see holding Pakistanis back: Unwillingness to assimilate due to cultural difference. And this is true for immigrants of other nationalities as well. Thorncliffe Park is a very rich and vibrant immigrant community with immigrants largely from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Phillipines and Eastern Europe. All of these communities have people with this problem. All in all I can clearly see they are better off here than Pakistan and it would be redundant to elaborate reasons.

Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY Nov 29, 2016 06:33pm

@ahmed saeed I am happy you have clarified about your friends that they are having a quality life now, and are no more working as taxi drivers in Australia and Canada.They have office job careers with their pakistani education.I hope they become successful engineers.

N. Shahzeb Nov 29, 2016 06:44pm

While this article is accurate for a small area known as Thorncliffe, I fail to understand how hundreds of other success stories of Pakistani Immigrants in Canada have all been brushed away with such a generlized sweeping statement! My family along with numerous other immigrants I know came here on our skill base and landed great jobs etc. Sure it's good to bring awareness regarding all factions of Pakistani immigrants here in Canada. But with such a misleading title and one-way window it would make one think that all such immigrants are experiencing the worst of times here.

N. Shahzeb Nov 29, 2016 06:53pm

@Taimur aah you paint such a negative picture. I'm sorry you faced these problems but my experience has been complety different. Health is free! what premium are you talking about? drug plan, dental? Those are always excluded from free health. Schools are great. I know family members who have studied in these public schools and gone on to attain the best university education and jobs. So really it depends and varies from person to person.

N. Shahzeb Nov 29, 2016 06:54pm

@Sikandar Hayat I totally agree with what you said! This was an u pleasant one-sided view sadly. I know people who temporarily stayed in Thorncliffe and then moved out to get jobs, own homes etc. Sure we have a huge population og Pakistanis who are downright lazy but that doesn't mean the rest of the hardworking lot has to be marginalized.

N. Shahzeb Nov 29, 2016 06:55pm

@PESHAWAR KHAN couldn't agree more!! you get what you work for here in Canada, no doubt. Hard work and honesty always pays off

digvijay Nov 29, 2016 07:31pm

@Hyder salute my brother i think south asia must be honesty

Salman Nov 29, 2016 08:09pm

Our family came to Canada in 1970 from Karachi, and we still visit as family there frequently as possible. What this article describes is only one small part of the Pakistani community here, mostly the poorest and most religiously conservative part of our community. There are many middle-class families living in the outlying suburbs of Toronto; Pakistanis and Indian Muslims can be found in nearly every position and walk of life and in many positions of authority in business and politics.

Life can be hard here though, it took us maybe 20 years of hard, back-breaking work before we finally had some stability. Despite coming with a science degree from Karachi University, my father had to get a local degree, work for years in lowly positions and still we carry that fear that we could one day lose it all. Others are not so lucky, but those who live in Thorncliffe Park sabotage themselves by preventing their women from working and practicing a very rural, backwards form of religon

abbas khan Nov 29, 2016 08:11pm

I really don't agree with him. Canada give an opportunity to everyone to progress, but our people's want to make money overnight and this is not the case here. In Canada you have to work hard for at least 10 years before you will have a good like. The Key to a good life is Canadian Education and experience because your Pakistani education and experience has no value in Canada. My advice is that if you are set and doing good in Pakistan please don't come here or if you still want to come to Canada get really for at least 10 years of hard work.

Zoro Nov 29, 2016 08:22pm

Struggling on low income in Toronto as mentioned in the article mentioned means her mother 'can't afford to enrol Zara in gymnastics or taekwondo'. Poverty means a family living below C$35,600 a year so it means different things to different people. In a country with benefits such as free school education, free medical and unemployment benefits your basic needs are covered.

Some families are doing it tough but how many of those Pakistanis are willing to come back?

Akram Ariff Nov 29, 2016 08:24pm

@Third Opinion Because these rich Muslims will not allow them to. Has any rich Muslim country helped the Syrian refugees? all help comes from the West.

Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY Nov 29, 2016 08:29pm

So sad to read the suffering of these poor immigrants.My congratulations to Mr.Murtaza Haider for his true documentary article.These immigrants have to also face the hardship of ruthless biting cold winter of Canada.

Omar Nov 29, 2016 08:30pm

Well poverty in Canada cannot be compared to poverty in 3rd world countries. Zara gets complete medical coverage. Zara goes to school. Zara lives in an apartment with electricity and clean water. Zara gets monthly allowance from the government. She is complaining about not going being able to go for gymnastics, not about starving or begging for food. She is Canada poor but not world poor. She could be Canada middle class if her mom got a job. Maybe if they saved up enough they could send dad back to school for 2 years and move up to higher middle class. If mom also got an education they could easily pull in 100-120k. Its easy to complain and live on handouts, I hate when Pakistanis get stuck in this cycle and just blame the system. The system was made so that people with ambition and hard work can succeed.

Truth Nov 29, 2016 08:37pm

@Akram Ariff - That;'s not quite true. Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon have provided shelter and refuge to over 2 million Syrian refugees. Though neither of these countries are rich as the oil states of the Gulf.

The Gulf states were the ones who bank rolled the rebellion in Syria and now have to live with the consequences at the hand of the Syrian regime and the Russians. While their cozy relations with the US are becoming frosty and will be further tested under Trump Presidency, when he pushes these very same rich Arab countries to absorb the Syrian refugees. Essentially reaping what they sowed.

PAKISTAN FIRST Nov 29, 2016 08:58pm

@Nikesh : While you do have a valid point but there is a huge difference between living in Pakistan and living in India. I know for sure, India provide better opportunities for their citizen as compared to Pakistan Government which is corrupt to the core. That is why there people opt to leave their homeland like Pakistan.

AG Nov 29, 2016 09:18pm

I second your opinion, things are changed rapidly for last 2 - 3 years and income gap is keep expending. A week ago I was in a park with my family where a Pakistani senior man was asking for food, he wasn't aware of food banks here and said he didn't eat for last 2 days. For those who live in denial should go to Muslim Welfare Center Mississauga and see by themselves how many Pakistanies and others come for food every day.

saqib Nov 29, 2016 09:26pm

Its not only in Canada, England and Australia have similar stories. Pakistani's in general like a handout and when the government provides wellfare they will go to all extents to receive it including not finding a job. In neighboring US Pakistani's do well because getting wellfare is much more difficult. This could also be seen in the US where states with easier wellfare laws have most poor Pakistanis i.e. New York, California etc. States like Texas and others where wellfare is tough you'll see thriving Pakistani communities. We need to come out of this easy money mentality!

nikus Nov 29, 2016 09:33pm

@PAKISTAN FIRST Situation in India is better than before, but most of the middle class opted for single child policy and provided STEM education in english medium and so for Indians migrating to other country with honor is very common.

Peace ch Nov 29, 2016 09:39pm

Comparison should be realistic. Not being able to buy toys or enroll in swimming classes etc can be defined as poverty in Canada but in third world countries poverity definition is different. Not being anle to get food and education and child labour is poverty in Pakistan. Besides poverity, there are further challenges regarding So poverty level should be compared in this context. In Canada, every child gets basic education free, medical free and its mother sends it to school with no fear of life.

Zubaida Khan Nov 29, 2016 09:44pm

@Amir Most kids do odd jobs coming out of school. There is nothing wrong with delivering pizzas. Actually its the fastest way to pay off student loans.

If you are a foreign graduate you still need a green card or work permit to work in a high end job in the US. A degree does not make you a legal resident. So, if they had a degree and were not legal residents they need to go back.

Shams Qureshi Nov 29, 2016 09:43pm

The title is very misleading, it sounds like Pakistanis in Canada are somehow all suffering. That couldn't be further from the truth, just like any other country in the world there are people that are less fortunate and those that are wealthy monetarily. The problem is that in Pakistan we only have rich/poor Pakistanis, because no-one migrates to Pakistan for a better life and we are all too happy excluding people left and right because they might be Ahmadi for example.

But a country as diverse as Canada has citizens and immigrants from all over the world that share the same identity as a nation and have there own separate identity that doesn't necessarily have to conform to the majority. And because of that you get rich and poor Pakistanis in Canada similar to a rich or poor Indian.

Syed Jafri Nov 29, 2016 10:01pm

@Amir: This is a misstatement. I was an international student once and I know at least 300 foreign students from my days. All of them have decent jobs and are doing well. Recently, I spent a year at Temple University in Philadelphia and came across many foreign students and did not know anybody delivering Pizzas or driving a cab after graduating (there may be individual cases, but it is not a norm). In Canada, I have hired many qualified foreign students over the years. I do not mind hiring new immigrants at all if they are qualified and have communication skills. But, I cannot look pass a well-qualified and experienced candidate to hire someone from my home town. We should make ourselves more competitive for the job market by acquiring skills required by the employers. Coming to Canada does not automatically solve any problem, it only provides you with an opportunity to apply yourself.

imran lateef Nov 29, 2016 10:05pm

I do not agree with it . This is all rubish . Canada offers a lot to all those who come here from anywhere . This is one Western country where we are welcome and may feel at home . If some one is not happy ,he /she can leave . We should not be thankless after getting everything being offered

Temi Nov 29, 2016 10:14pm

When you say, "The average after-tax household income in Thorncliffe Park stood at $46,275 compared to $70,945 in the City of Toronto."

This income is not that bad (after tax). Poverty level starts way below this figure.

Mahmood Nov 29, 2016 10:18pm

@saqib - Your have little knowledge of US demographics and cost of living of major States is lacking, especially for states like California,. But your opinions are formed from Asian immigrant ghettos like Queens - which are haunted by immigrants of all colors and stripes - from Africa, Middle East, South Asia and East Europe.

California has one of the most expensive housing in the US. To afford to live in a decent dwelling there in an average 3-bedroom home, near major cities like SF, LA, and SD, you must have average household income of close to $75k/year. Anything less, you will be living out in the woods or the desert with a 2-3 hour commute or live in a small Apt. Most Pakistanis I've met in California, were highly educated and working in the Aerospace or Hi-Tech industry - easily earning six-figure income. I myself was in the top-5% of the US income households in California. Not many Pakistani immigrants in Canada can command that sort of income - due to lack of talent.

Sandy Nov 29, 2016 10:43pm

I am a migrant from Pakistan and me and my few friends just came last year and got very good jobs in less than a month. Let me highlight a few points here before anybody decides to move to Canada/Australia.

  1. Research well. The problem with our people is they don't research well enough. For example Doctors come here without even researching whether they will get a practitioner license here or not. They will never get until they get local physician education here and end up doing odd jobs.

  2. The prior experience. Good international company or local company?

  3. These countries are no place for people with poor communication skills. One who has good communication and soft skills gets picked up by the recruiters easily like me, otherwise they won't even call you after the first meeting.

  4. Migration means Hijrat and hijrat is not easy. It's like the very first people who migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947 and it took their one generation to get settled.

Lahori Kid Nov 29, 2016 11:15pm

The media tends to write a lot about the Pakistanis and other nationals doing well in Canada and the United States, but this article seems to look on the other side of realities, no doubt some families are struggling, the question is, is it better to struggle in Canada and United States than struggling in Pakistan? I believe so, a family can survive living in US even if two people work and make minimum wage, same cannot be said about a family in Pakistan, there aren't any jobs available that pay enough to even survive, the cost of living is a lot higher in Pakistan. Now it also depends on where you live in America, places like New York and California are three times more expensive than Texas when it comes to cost of living. Not sure about Canada.

karoor Nov 29, 2016 11:31pm

This is another timely gem from Murtaza. The real issue is that merely transporting people from poorer to richer countries does not automatically mean an improved lifestyle. People must be prepared to take advantage of the new values and systems in the West, if real change is desired. Unfortunately, conservative societies wish to hold on ole values, which sometimes mean little in the west or, more often become a disadvantage. If someone cannot move ahead in Toronto, where opportunities are huge, there is reason for a reboot

Troll Nov 29, 2016 11:39pm

Excellent informations for all eventual immigrants to think twice before immigrating,only those succeed who comfortably bear the expenses,the cold winters,and speaks English or Spainish fluently.Those hand to mouth in home country,mostly remained at same poverty level. Besides depression,loneliness,and homesickness also hurt.The reasons for high obsessions to leave for example Pakistan is bad security,and lack of facilities,otherwise there is no harm at home, if such odds improved.

Ghaznavi Nov 29, 2016 11:49pm

@Ghazali mufti "Well researched and written article. Thanks for shedding light on the plight of a section of Pakistani immigrants."

The "plight" is better than what you have for these people in the land of pure! In Pakistan everyone given a chance is ready to abandon the ship. I mean everybody including the leading elites who already have dual citizenships. To be fair one should compare apples to apples. How about comparing the plight of Pakistanis living in Dubai, Tehran and Riyadh to Toronto. Murtaza is trying to create a false image of a very nice area. Yes it may not be as sophisticated as some of the posh areas of Toronto where our bureaucrats have purchased dwellings from stolen money but it is far lively then the so called posh areas.

Syed Jafri Nov 29, 2016 11:50pm

@N. Rahim -- Toronto : If I make an MBA or an Engineer manager of my call center, he/she will leave as soon as some he/she finds something better. A high school graduate is more likely to stick around in this kind of job and do it diligently. Over Qualification is not a positive either.

jRaza Nov 30, 2016 12:14am

@Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY

We need enforce Sharia in Canada. So Umma has to help the movement. Then only fellow Pakistanis in Canada leave happily.

Mohamed I Khan Nov 30, 2016 12:28am

Good article. Surprised to note that in Thorncliffe the average after tax income is $46,000+and yet these people claim to be poor. It is good money to live well. Something is wrong here. Those who claim to live on edge are welfare bums with aging relatives who are simply burden to the tax payers. Free education, free medical and social welfare, what else do they want which they never had it back home. Stop complaining, go to work or go back from where they came from.

Hafeez, Canada Nov 30, 2016 12:39am

Good article... but fail to mention one bitter fact, most of lucrative jobs are given to whites. I know doctors, engineers and architects who have no proper jobs. Only way out for these is start some sort of Business of their own. Yes its a good idea for Pakistanis to retrain in construction industry. They can set up contracting businesses relating to construction Industry again forget about jobs.

ANT Nov 30, 2016 01:03am

Meanwhile Indians form the richest ethnic group in the US.

Beleiver Nov 30, 2016 01:46am

@Omar but the point is as compared to other communities Zara is still denied things because her parents are poor. One census put down unemployment amongst Muslims to as high as 40% , highest for any ethnicity . For starters Muslims have to come out of Ghettos like thorncliffe park drive and not spend time in opening mosques and like , energies should be used to improve the lot of Muslim youth.

rizwan Nov 30, 2016 01:50am

I would agree with some of the points the author has raised. However, as a resident of Calgary, with an engg. licence & professional job, I will add some additional points. Canada can as easy as it can be difficult. Nothing is handed to you in a plate & you have to work hard. I had a tough year breaking into the job market when I migrated here, but after my licencing exam, getting out & "networking", I got my professional engg. job. A mistake that a lot of new immigrants make is hanging out with people from the mosque (kasab, taxi driver etc) - they dont interact with proper professionals & start driving taxis, working at Walmart etc. Thats enough to survive, but hanging out with other similar people, they end up focusing on 5 daily prayers, beard/ hijab, halal toothpaste etc. All efforts to integrate, improve themselves & get a good jobs are set aside. The model here is that both spouses need to work, & when they do, life is generally excellent & I can attest to that.

B Hasan Nov 30, 2016 01:58am

The writer is too focused on a poverty stricken neighbourhood in Thorncliffe. It's like you mention Liyari and Shah Feisal Colony to discuss poverty in Karachi.

I have seen many success stories of Pakistani immigrants, doctors, engineers, lawyers and bankers who managed to do well in their new home, Canada and were flexible enough to either change their line of work or upgrade their skills/education to attain gainful employment.

Incidently, an hour ago, I was talking to the minister of labour, Kevin Flynn and raised similar questions on integration of new immigrants to the Canadian job market. Goveremment has made it illegal for employers to ask for "Canadian Experience" from immigrants. It takes massive affirmative action and spends millions to train new immigrants and make them job ready.

Secondly, Ontario's unemployment and child benefits are second to none.

I wonder what Zara's parents would do without child support, being unemployed in Pakistan?

B Hasan Nov 30, 2016 02:04am

@Nikesh Its better to toil in a foreign land and be treated like a first rate citizen, than toil in your home country and be treated like a third rate citizen by politicians and bureacrats.

Besides, the charm of getting a Western passport that opens up many unrestticted travel, business and job opportunities in the Middle East is enough to lure many to toil in Canada.

Finally, people move to the US which is a much bigger and open market than Canada ( in pre-Trump days, however)

Bahauddin B Nov 30, 2016 02:05am

Prof. Haider, I have honored of shaking your hand and attending your class at Ryerson University. Your article is dead on point, on the realities of Pakistani in Toronto. The income gap in the salary and basic living cost is widening each year. Plus our responsibilities with older parents back home and other factors also play a significant part in less money we have. I have met Doctor, who left a great practice to come here, ending up doing security guard job at Airport. The affects of these demoralizing situation are long term, and take away all the motivation one had to build great life and future for family. Yet these stories are not told back home. When we go back home maybe once in two years, we buy few new cloths, a perfume etc. No one sees how we saved every penny to do that trip. What is the solution, I do not know.

Amer Nov 30, 2016 02:34am

@saqib : I have read generalization after generalization on these comments! I am a Pakistan born in Australia as well, work 70 hours a week continuous and paid over a $110,000 in taxes last year....get paid $400K+ ... never qualified for any benefits let alone welfare. It's up to individual hard work and effort... don't paint everyone with the same brush.

Dr. Shah Nov 30, 2016 03:02am

@Imperial Ahmed I am Kidney specialist in US and Fellow of American College of Physicians. I must say that professional medical education from a nice institution in Pakistan is certainly comparable with international standards.

Sam M Nov 30, 2016 04:22am

@Skeptic This is well written. I live in United States, and I know Canada is a place for most of the immigrants coming from third world countries with no expertise in anything. It's hard to get into US and UK so the last melting point standing is Canada. US is way better than Canada in terms of Capital income and life style. Many of immigrants from South Asia are doing great in here. That's for sure if they want to live better, they need to adopt some western culture, get to speak english and relate with the majority here. Unfortunately it's slacking in South Asian communities. That's why they are living pretty bad, and they can make it better if they want to.

shakeel Nov 30, 2016 04:25am

I'm living in Toronto and working as engineer. I live 2 years in thorncliff area which is less than.001 % of population.even less than 1%. why you look landhi or korangi like area. there are Markham Richmond hill Vaughan thousands nice areas in Toronto. Pakistani people are bit lazy there..they drive taxi cab or rely on child benefit money.That's why mostly cabbies are Pakistan people. all my college university friend from Pakistan are doing good jobs.if international students from China or India get jobs in few days why not we as canadian citizens. Think about that.Thanks

!Khalid Zaki Nov 30, 2016 04:27am

@raja I think Pakistanis are hard working but not educated and their English is not good, rather poor.Canada acknowledges Canadian qualification (local) , so whatever is gained in the country of origin is not given that much weight. True, Pakistani males prefer their womenfolk to stay home and not work. This practice reduces the household income to half, compared to other groups, say Indians .Canada is a welfare society but without many jobs . May be many migrate for the welfare and feel happy. This article is empirical without much statistics and source.

Hussain Nov 30, 2016 04:32am

And, billions of dollers are being sent by other rich Pakistanies. The message should be "work hard" and "comtribute" where ever you live or work - you are more likely to be successful in Canada than Pakistan

NowNow Nov 30, 2016 04:50am

Dr. Haider, enjoyed your good analysis again after some time. You always presented real life issues, and presented in simple straight forward way. Thanks for bringing up the issue and putting your finger on the potential root cause. Thanks again.

Neal Kluge Nov 30, 2016 05:05am

"The top 1% and the super-rich have been able to amass unprecedented riches"

BECAUSE THEY WORK HARD, WOMEN INCLUDED!

wasim Nov 30, 2016 05:57am

Author has gathered bits and pieces of information to make his point. There is no substance or statistical evidence that Pakistani community in Canada is living in poverty. Just Thorn cliff area is not the whole Pakistani community. The author probably has seen only that community. Poverty has to be looked from the broader prospective. There is nothing to prove that poverty level in Pakistani community is more than other communities or whites per say. What I can say for sure even the lowest level income family get child benefit , schooling free , the university level children can get loan for study. Even the low level income family is in a better living conditions than in rich Pakistan. The issues are here with families who are super super rich and does not want to work hard.

Mo Nov 30, 2016 06:04am

@Skeptic Jobs in Canada are few and canadian economy has never done well , Canada lives only because of immigrants and students who pay huge amount of money to study in canada and are basically cash cows , immigrants bring money , there are the rich chinese who come with a lot of money , and all other immigrants they have to do labour jobs. Not all who are educated in Canada make it to great jobs. On the other hand some of the most uneducated do very well in small business. Job market is extremely bad, so cant blame only pakistanis , its all immigrants who face the same problem as there are no jobs. It is better to work in the middle east and stay in pakistan . Even Canadian born ppl are doing very poor , very few make it to the top. It is better to live in homeland, but the craze of immigration to western world will never stop.

chetan Nov 30, 2016 07:39am

@Abdulkarim india and nepal r only a hindu majority countries in the world

AuK Nov 30, 2016 07:52am

$46,000 after tax is a low income for Canada? Are these numbers correct?

ZAK Nov 30, 2016 08:04am

Why did they migrate to Canada to suffer there? They could have stayed on in prosperous Pakistan

M Mirza Nov 30, 2016 08:25am

The harsh reality is that immigrants from Pakistan are either not well educated or educated in fields that are not in demand in Canada. Indians fare much better because of their proficiency in english and better education.

Annie Nov 30, 2016 08:25am

I think the Pakistanis who are living there have actually chosen to live there not because of the lower costs but for their comfort ability to live around their own people. On average, a taxi driver earns more than an average Canadian, specially the ones working on night shifts. But still, they choose to live in that neighbourhood to stay connected to their culture. Women from Pakistan are not used to work first of all, and if they do decide to try themselves to the job market, they are very much picky in choosing the jobs. That involves the cultural factor, the religious factor, their education and ability to work in a certain environment. For example the wife won't drive uber , she would stay at home the whole day but she won't drive uber or taxi. The husband is going to work extra hours to make for the living.. That kind of psychic needs to be changed. If a family is deciding to immigrate, they need to understand that the wife has to offer her equal share to the financial needs..

M Mirza Nov 30, 2016 08:28am

@Third Opinion Beacuse rich muslim countries do not accept immigrants. They are more discriminating than anybody else on this planet.

Dhanani sulaiman Nov 30, 2016 09:33am

The world is full of challenges and opportunities and Canada is not an exception. Poverty is a global issue. There is always two side of a coin. Overall it isa Country with highest degree of pluralistic values.

Asim Khan Nov 30, 2016 09:56am

I agree with the facts provided but disagree with conclusion drawn. The trend of rich getting richer identified by the author has become a global phenomenon and is not limited to Canada. Ability to adapt has always been and continues to be key to survive and succeed. In today's entrepreneur oriented society we have witnessed a lot of front end repelacble roles lost to technology and this will continue unfortunately. On the other hand professionals with skills relevant in today's market are securing employment and growing including Pakistani immigrants. Also the author must not ignore that living in a metropolitan city on a single income in today's economy's with a limited skill job is a challenge regardless of country. I am not suggesting that those with less skill deserve to be poor but only identifying the harsh reality that exists globally.

abadshah Nov 30, 2016 10:45am

@raja It is impacting both communities. Skilled people are working in call centers.

BOSS Nov 30, 2016 10:50am

Education is the backbone for everything

Sara Nov 30, 2016 11:23am

@Skeptic Well said

GoFundMe Nov 30, 2016 12:37pm

@Masood : Excellent ideas!

GoFundMe Nov 30, 2016 12:35pm

Excellent ideas!

BAXAR Nov 30, 2016 12:59pm

@M Mirza They were not discriminating when they needed them, and they also accepted them. Same as Canada, Europe, or USA, supply and demand. You will always be welcomed by those who need you, and not as much when you need them. Poor Muslim states will welcome you, but that's not where you want to be welcomed. This is why you complained about rich ones only.

Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY Nov 30, 2016 05:24pm

@jRaza You have come to Canada as an immigrant not a Reformer of Canada.You have written that you want to "leave"Canada happily,of course you can leave Canada happily for Pakistan anytime you want.But if you want to "live" in Canada happily then you must follow and respect the Canadian Law because Canada is now your adopted country.

Gohar Altaf Syed Nov 30, 2016 05:40pm

@Nikesh Your narration and suggestions are very right !

saad khan Nov 30, 2016 08:31pm

Since I recently moved to Toronto I cant resist to share my comments on this article. I believe our biggest problem is stereotyping, we always see and communicate negatives. In Toronto there are thousands of Pakistanis who are employed on senior positions and live affluent lifestyle in Canada which is not less than any native Canadian. In every big city we have people across the income brackets living different lifestyles. Everywhere you will find bigger chunk in the lower income strata and that doesn't mean that the city is cruel and people are deprived or displaced. Highlighting only the plight of poor is not the right representation of whole Pakistani community.

Mir Nov 30, 2016 10:26pm

@Abdul Awaal You are right on the bulls eye. I know at least one example where a person was from India with few degrees from India and zero knowledge & under performer, but a humble & subservient guy. Would go to the extent of serving his person of interest and helping their families like a servant. Would stay in masjid, and would never complain. After years of submissive learning from database gurus, one of his Indian masters hired him within his department as database Admin. He has been in Verizon for at least more than 10 years doing databases, and making at least $150,000 plus benefits.
Owns two houses in Dallas. Married happily with children. So, attitude makes the difference. But, it is not easy to be subservient to others and focused on goal to reach somewhere.

Mir Nov 30, 2016 10:44pm

@Avtar in cases where the first generation is not successful, the second generation makes up & is generally successful & more blended.

Mir Nov 30, 2016 10:51pm

@Third Opinion rich Muslims prefer non Muslims over Muslims In Middle East, I get the first priority if u are white & from America, as an example. I know a Muslim physician from Ohio, who moved to Saudi Arabia out of his passion to live in a Muslim society. He was disappointed after a year or so, And came back. Middle East prefer Indians over Pakistanis. Employers in Middle East prefer subservient people.

Cashiph Nov 30, 2016 11:30pm

I am not agree with all the contents of this article... quality of education is not all a issue .. I live in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and most establish and prosperous community here are people from south Asia ... All posh area are full Pakistanis and Indians ... for example ... I studied from government institution of Karachi and earning almost triple of the amount author mentioned and all my Pakistani friends are established living good life and I am talking about people having PR means recently migrated like me ... the only problem I understand is people coming from Pakistan think living in big cities will only give them more opportunities to grow .. which may be the case back home but not in Canada

flipflop Nov 30, 2016 11:45pm

It's not just Pakistanis but many immigrants from other countries face the same issues. The problem is that many nee immigrants refuse to adapt to the new country systems that they migrated to. The culture is different in Canada as compared to peoples home country. I have seen people who have lived in Canada for 10+ years and refuse to learn English or French simply because they believe that it will threaten their culture. There are no shortcuts in Canada and there's a process for everything. People have this mind set that once they will move to a foreign country companies there will embrace them with open arms but that is not true. You need to start fresh. You need to network with people here. Opportunities are endless in Canada but it all depends how good you are. There are many successful Pakistanis employed at key positions in big companies and they are doing just fine. We never embrace the Canadian culture and try to impose our believes on the locals here.

ADD Dec 01, 2016 12:50am

The Muslim community needs to get their priorities right. Instead of first struggling for traditional causes, such as the right to build a mosque or to have the School Board permit students to say Friday prayers in local school’s cafeteria, they should try and get the immigrants better jobs and assimilate in society instead of building little ghettos.

ADD Dec 01, 2016 12:53am

@mudasar still much better than living in Pakistan. Do you get free medical care in Pakistan? Does the gov't pay you a child allowance? The problem is you need to be properly educated, better English language skills, some type of profession,. It could be a trade.

Syed Jafri Dec 01, 2016 01:57am

@Mo: "Jobs in Canada are few and canadian economy has never done well , Canada lives only because of immigrants and students". This is not true. Even with a population of just 33 million, it ranks 10th in the world in GDP and 16th in GDP per capita (U.S is ranked 14). Finding faults in others for our failures is not going to get us anywhere.

Veera Dec 01, 2016 02:24am

//It can spend resources on building mosques and asking for religious accommodations at work and school.

Or the community may choose to strive for developing skills in pursuit of shared prosperity instead.//

well said

S600 Dec 01, 2016 02:48am

Canadian Immigration policy is flawed from beginning. Its not enough to screen professionals and qualified person to enter in Canada but there should be an effort to provide them means to work on the same qualification.

Those who are successful now forget about the difficulties they had and criticize the people raising the class discrimination issue. You can find the same poverty ridden areas Jane/Finch and James town that result in violence but as this does not concern the upper class or affluent communities it doesnt make to the policies made by city/provincial or even federal governments.

People dream of living with security, dignity and happiness that's why they migrate from unfortunate countries like Pakistan etc. They make ends meet with odd jobs, cab driving and delivery jobs. Its also a sad fact that now even this is taken over by global corporations like UBER, so what choice they will have to have a better future?

Murtaza Haider Dec 01, 2016 03:00am

@!Khalid Zaki Kindly click on the hyperlinks in the text to review the original documents that source data from Statistics Canada.

Amir Dec 01, 2016 03:41am

sure, no problem for legal immigrant

AG Dec 01, 2016 04:23am

@imran lateef Pity, you didn't understand what author is trying to say!

Ruby Dec 01, 2016 06:03am

@ third opinion. Mashallah brother. If more people thought like you there would be no poor people in pakistan

illawarrior Dec 01, 2016 07:31am

@Akram That isn't migration - that is just temporary work visas.

illawarrior Dec 01, 2016 07:35am

@Asif How does legal immigration status eliminate poverty? Even some non-immigrant citizens live in poverty in most countries. Even USA has poor Americans!

Meera jee Dec 01, 2016 07:48am

Bang on. I have lived in Canada for 20 years. Very true. Kudos.

pakborn Dec 01, 2016 08:42am

The state of Pakistani immigrants is far more diverse than stated in the article- Toronto and the impovrished suburb mentioned in the article are one of many conditions Canadians of Pakistani ethnicity reside in. Their condition in Canada is very dependent upon where they live in Canada, when they immigrated , how educated they are etc. The one thing that is key to having a successful transition to becoming Canadian, and the author alludes to it in the article, is the desire of an immigrant to adopt Canada as their home country. Too often recent immigrants from Pakistan treat Canada like the Middle East; they're only here temporarily - long enough to make some money, get their kids enrolled in school or just get that very coveted Canadian passport, with little or no interest in knowing Canada or Canadians. Canada is one of the best, most diverse places to live- if you're lucky enough to live here be a part of it.

Inzy Dec 01, 2016 09:57am

@saad khan " In Toronto there are thousands of Pakistanis who are employed on senior positions and live affluent lifestyle..."

handful of wealthy people, and millions of poor - isn't that the same as back home? People surely immigrate for a better life.

Traveler Dec 01, 2016 12:04pm

@Akram Yes, Pakistanis do work in Middle East and save and send remittances to Pakistan but Middle East Countries do NOT give them rights as 1st class citizens and citizenship. Even if someone live for 30+ years in Middle East Countries, one has to go back to Pakistan and will never get equal right or citizenship. Whereas Canada will treat you with dignity, respect and give citizenship and you can make Canada as your new homeland forever.

Amjad kahn Dec 01, 2016 12:43pm

@Adnan ......quite agreed.....100%