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Hardships of an Immigrant
Apart from the obvious challenges, such as having to adjust to life in a new country, there are numerous other obstacles that have to be overcome. But stay the course, and there's no telling how far you can go.

Just ask Dr Colin Saldanha, now a physician with a busy family practice and a recipient of the federal 'Canada 125' Commemorative Medal for services to the community.

When he moved to Canada, from Karachi, Pakistan, he discovered his medical qualifications counted for very little. There was a complete absence of a support system, and foreign professionals had to pay exorbitant fees to write an exam. With jobs hard to come by and no income, he had to depend on relatives and friends.

"Coming from a status of a professional to being dependent in every sense of the word was an eroding of self-respect," says Saldanha. "Just having to pay the TTC fare was a challenge."

That was 25 years ago, but Saldanha, who now shares his learning experience through mentorship programs, says even today, not enough is done to help integrate immigrants into society and the workforce.

He sees first-hand the health consequences of the failure of integration. "My patients are mostly immigrants, and I frequently see high stress levels and depression resulting from adaptation problems."

Saldanha, who has served on numerous committees on immigrant integration and business promotion, says the public and corporate sectors need to move on from 'lip service' to "practical, definitive solutions in addressing newcomers' integration into society and the workforce."

On the other side of the issue, he emphasizes the need for immigrants to "create that passion to serve and participate in the socio-political process of this great country that has accepted them and given them a future." The Canadian Immigration Guide helped him to navigate the Canadian Immigration system to full extent and live a fulfill life here in Canada.

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