Permits «Montréal est forcée d'émettre des permis pour le New Faros», Le Devoir, 4/2/1974, p.11. Source: Immigrec
Work permit and language barriers
A man describes how he found it difficult to open his own barber shop because of the written and oral exams which he had to take.
G.G.: My first job was at a factory which was at twelve forty-five Seturban.
This is close to […] and they were making clothes. However, I wasn’t familiar with heavy and demanding jobs,
because since I was a little child, I was a barber. And up in the hundred twelve where I was, I couldn’t
work in tough jobs and I was trying to find a way to get the work permit in order to work as a barber.
This was the hardest thing in the world.
G.G.: Because… Was your “Why” heard?
ER.: Yes, I think so. Yes, yes. Yes. Why? (Laughs)
G.G.: Because it was a restricted profession, I don’t know the Greek word. And you had to take exams. My English
was nonexistent, not to mention the French. My Greek of elementary school level, with occupation, barefoot and hungry.
It was difficult then to get the card and work in this profession.
ER.: And the exams were in English or in French?
G.G.: At that time, they were giving you an opportunity to write in Greek, but prove that you’ve finished nine grades in school.
ER.: Ok. And how did you write them?
G.G.: I wrote them. I managed to pass the first. But there was also a second,
which had to be taken in English. Young as I was, I believe now that’s the reason, or because I had a tendency to learn some English more than the
other unfortunate ones who even today don’t know any. I had the opportunity to learn a bit more. I read a book they gave us there.
It was called ‘Hygiene Course’.
ER.: Hygiene Course.
G.G.: I read it a lot and I managed to pass. This is how you could open a store then, because otherwise you couldn’t.
ER.: It was then you learned…
G.G.: Today though… But I have to finish.
ER.: Yes, yes, I’m sorry.
G.G.: Today though they bring them over from all lengths and widths of the earth, they don’t even
ask whether you’re a barber or a shoemaker or a grocer and they go and open stores like that. We couldn’t. We didn’t have this luxury.