Immigrant Networks scaling up to help one million newcomers get jobs in Canada

The B.C. based platform offers a proven, data-backed program to achieve success within 90 days

Immigrant Networks, a B.C.-based platform leveraging algorithms, AI, and ML to help newcomers network and receive mentorship, find employment, and achieve job security in Canada, is scaling up to achieve its goal of helping one million members. 

The timing of the platform’s plans comes at a critical time. Canada is working on welcoming nearly 1.5 million new immigrants between this year and 2026. At the same time, the joblessness gap among racialized Canadians has widened in the last year as Canada’s job market has slowed down — women and visible minorities being the most affected. According to a new TD Economics report, work-integrated learning (WIL) programs can play a role in closing employment and wage gaps.

“Last year, 98 per cent of Canada's population growth came from immigration,” highlighted Nick Noorani, the founder of Immigrant Networks. “If employers do not start hiring from this talent pool, they're going to be losing out in two ways. Number one, they're not going to find employees. Second, if you do not reflect this country, consumers will turn away from you […] This is becoming more important.”

Decades long journey

What planted the seeds for Immigrant Networks dates back to 1998.

Noorani had just moved from Dubai to Vancouver with 23 years of experience in advertising and marketing — working with brands like Coca-Cola, BMW, and Nivea. Still, he couldn’t find work in his field.

“I went to the same agency I worked with in the Middle East and said, ‘Hey, I'm here’,” Noorani shared. “They said, ‘You have no Canadian experience.’ That was the start of my fight [...] It's harmful when you have so much talent coming in, but you do not recognize the power of that talent.”

Noorani ended up having to take on a job as a telemarketer, making $8 an hour. It took months for him to find a better position at a publishing company.  Adding to the struggle was not finding someone to talk to who could share their experience of overcoming the same challenge.

“All I wanted was to talk to another immigrant who had come to Canada with the same professional background, but that was impossible,” said Noorani. “LinkedIn didn't exist. There was no way to connect with people, and this is such a huge gap.”

Determined to do something, Noorani started volunteering to help fellow immigrants get back on their feet. He and his wife also wrote Arrival Survival Canada, a handbook for new immigrants that became a bestseller. Then, Noorani launched the Canadian Immigrant magazine to share the success stories of fellow immigrants. The magazine won accolades and awards and was eventually sold to Star Media Group, a division of the Toronto Star Newspapers.

Idea born out of the pandemic

In 2010, Noorani started working on his next initiative, Prepare for Canada, a website that helps immigrants and students settle and find jobs in Canada. It was Noorani’s focus for several years as it became the fastest-growing site of its kind — serving thousands of newcomers. 

Then, in 2020, Noorani decided to pivot when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and many immigrants were laid off days after the lockdown.

In hopes of offering support, Noorani posted on LinkedIn to encourage newcomers to reach out. It wasn’t long until he had to take down the post as he received a flood of messages. Noorani didn’t go back on his word, though. He got in touch with 27 people from different countries and had one-on-one conversations with each — often from morning until late at night.

“In these conversations, they started getting hope,” Noorani shared. “In six weeks, 27 of them were working [...] I said something is working here. What was working was an immigrant talking to another immigrant. That’s what I call the importance of the lived experience of newcomers.”

Noorani decided to create a platform called Immigrant Networks to connect newcomers with each other and hired a developer to build an MVP. The platform immediately took off, helping many newcomers find support and, for some, land multiple job offers within weeks.

Neeti Khullar, a seasoned communications professional with extensive experience spanning Asia to Europe who arrived in Victoria in 2022, said her experience with Immigrant Networks was transformative in finding community and better understanding Canadian society and the workplace culture.

“This is what’s needed in today's time where people are struggling with mental health issues and loneliness,” highlighted Khullar. “They're looking to people for help, support, and a sense of belongingness. This is where Immigrants Network plays a crucial role,” adding that the uniqueness of each immigrant journey is different and the platform offers valuable guidance for all.

Khullar is now an ambassador for Immigrant Networks and hopes to further drive the platform's work of helping newcomers support each other no matter what religion, community, or country they're coming from.

Growth and plans

Fast forward to today, Immigrant Networks offers a proven, data-backed, nine-step program to help newcomers network and receive mentorship, find employment, and achieve job security within 90 days. The platform uses algorithms, AI, and ML to match newcomers with professionals based on their immigration status, profession, experience level, career interests, and topics they’d like to learn about — such as workplace culture, interview techniques, communication skills, and more.

Immigrant Networks has also partnered with tech ed company Lighthouse Labs to support more newcomers through ICT Boost — an initiative focused on equipping participants with digital and soft skills needed to thrive in the ICT sector. The two have come together to incorporate Immigrant Networks' existing program, focusing on guiding newcomers in preparing for interviews and passing probationary periods — an area that, Noorani said, few organizations talk about.

“A significant number of newcomers lose their first Canadian job in the first 90 days,” Noorani shared. “No one talks about it for the simple reason that it's not on anyone's radar. You have to actually talk to a significant number of immigrants. You don't wanna say it because it's shameful, right?”

To date, Immigrant Networks has helped an estimated 13,000 members since its founding in 2020, and its partnership with Lighthouse Labs has led to 437 newcomers finding employment within three months.

“What we're trying to do here with Immigrant Networks is a movement,” said Noorani. “The ICT Boost program shows very clearly that a little attention to these disadvantaged communities can change their outcomes dramatically.”

As for Immigrant Networks’ current plans, Noorani shared that the platform is working on creating the largest talent pool that recruiters and corporations can access and continuing to leverage tech to match job descriptions to its members — ultimately, hoping to serve one million newcomers. 

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