Professional Networks Help Immigrants Help Themselves

By Jessica Hume, TRIEC

Toronto — Professional immigrant networks are not new, but the dozens of associations of immigrants helping immigrants in the GTA have been operating mostly under the radar – until now.

At an event at the Toronto Board of Trade today, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), the Government of Canada and Scotiabank are introducing a vital new website as part of the Professional Immigrant Networks initiative (PINs) to forge connections between immigrants, employers and community agencies – all with the goal of advancing immigrant employment.

Professional immigrant networks are organized by profession or ethnicity or both – from the Latin American MBA Alumni Network to the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada and the Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants. Collectively they serve more than 30,000 members. The new PINs website will help newcomers access these professional immigrant networks and through them build the connections they need to find meaningful employment.

“Lack of professional connections and understanding of Canadian corporate culture are the primary obstacles to meaningful employment for skilled immigrants,” says Gabriel Leiva von Bovet, President of the professional immigrant network HispanoTech and a TRIEC board member. “But thousands of newcomer professionals are using immigrant networks to help themselves and each other get ahead. Our new website capitalizes on this resourcefulness.”

Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and sponsored by Scotiabank, PINs benefits employers as well as immigrants. With the diversifying population and the growth of the knowledge economy, recruiting internationally experienced and multi-lingual personnel is becoming a priority in most workplaces, both from the talent management and business perspectives. As a case in point, PINs is jointly sponsored by the human resources and business development arms of Scotiabank. According to Pankaj Mehra, Director, Multicultural Banking,Indiaand South Asia Markets, the bank’s investment in PINs meets the objectives of both aspects of the business.

“We recognize that professionals coming into our country are not just prospective employees and managers, but also customers,” says Mr. Mehra. “Immigrant employees can be important ambassadors for the bank by not only helping us grow our business, but also helping us strengthen our ties to their communities.”

PINs connects employers to professional immigrant networks and allows them to communicate directly and efficiently with target markets. Last year alone, TRIEC disseminated 100 job postings out to the professional immigrant networks from 25 employers through PINs. The new website will make these connections even easier, with a searchable directory of networks and a messaging function for employers to post jobs.

To access the new website, visit

Sign up for a free webinar to learn more about professional immigrant networks and how you, as an employer, can work with them.