When Chandra Nagulapolly left Hyderabad, India, to immigrate to Canada in September 2001, he never expected to end up flipping pizzas in Toronto. A graduate of Osmania University with a degree in Mining Engineering and nine years of work experience in the Hyderabad coalfields, Nagulapolly mailed out dozens of résumés to mining companies across Canada, but was unable to land a job.
“They told me they would keep my résumé on file for six months and call me if they had an opening, but it never happened,” he said. “I did receive two or three phone calls, but was told that I needed Canadian experience or a Canadian degree.”
Desperate for a job, Nagulapolly spent two years working in fast food restaurants, call centres and factories. Down on his luck, he even considered returning to India, but that too would have meant starting over because he had quit his job and sold his property.
He finally took out a $12,000 student assistance loan to train as a CNC lathe operator and found a better paying job, but he never gave up his dream of finding employment in his chosen field.
A friend in Sudbury told him about Laurentian University, so he checked out its website and decided to apply for admission to its Masters program.
Associate Professor Paul Dunn, Director of MIRARCO’s Centre for Mining Technology, interviewed him and liked what he saw. Everyone benefits.
MIRARCO requires graduate students to assist with a deluge of research projects, the industry is desperate for mining engineers – with Canadian degrees – and Nagulapolly is anxious to resume his career in the mining industry.
He began a full course load in September and plans to do research in underground mine ventilation and heat management for MIRARCO next year.
Nagulapolly’s wife, who teaches high school Physics and Math for the Toronto District School Board, also encountered roadblocks in her search for employment. A teacher in India, she had to go back to school for three years to qualify for an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate.
An immigration agent the couple engaged in India to help with the paperwork gave them glowing reports about the opportunities in Canada.
“I was told there were a lot of opportunities in the Canadian mining industry and that I could expect to find a job at a starting salary of $4,000 per month.”
He and his wife qualified as landed immigrants because of their language skills, education and workforce experience, but Canadian immigration officials who interviewed them never warned them about the difficulty of finding work in their professions.
Nagulapolly says he knows several other mining engineers from India who came to Canada and gave up finding work in the industry.
Pursuing a graduate degree at Laurentian has temporarily distanced him from his family, but his wife is investigating teaching opportunities in Sudbury and hopes to join him before too long.