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Journal of International Migration and Integration

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1065–1083 | Cite as

Skilled Immigrants and the Negotiation of Family Relations During Settlement in Calgary, Alberta

  • Jeanna Parsons LeighEmail author
Article

Abstract

When re-establishing their lives in Canada, international migrants with dependent children regularly encounter dramatically different conditions for family life. The parents’ employment situation, the limited availability of extended kin to help with child rearing, and a multicultural and relatively more permissive social environment, all of these invite or even demand changes in newcomers’ family practices. Yet, more information is needed about the ways in which skilled immigrants negotiate the changed conditions for work and family life in this country, and the impact this has on family dynamics during settlement. Drawing on data from interviews with 30 skilled immigrants living in Calgary, Alberta, this paper explores how coming to Canada impacted participants’ situations of paid work, parenting practices, and familial gender relations. Findings suggest that strained economic and social resources often limited the extent to which mothers and fathers were able to maintain an organization of family life similar to what they had established in their country of origin. However, while in some cases, shifts in family formation caused heightened levels of stress and strain and further entrenched the doing of conventional gender roles, in others, changed conditions acted as a catalyst for positive change. The tools that eased the burdens of settlement for some are explored, and recommendations are made for how to better support newcomer families.

Keywords

Skilled immigrants Family relations Gender Settlement 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding for this study was provided by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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