Posted on July 21, 2008

Degree-Holding Immigrants Less Likely to Find Work

CTV (Ontario), July 18, 2008

Some university-educated immigrants were less likely to be employed in 2007 than their Canadian-born counterparts, a new study shows.

Statistics Canada said university-educated immigrants between the ages of 25 and 45, who arrived in Canada in the last five years, had a more difficult time finding work than native-born Canadians.

Native-born Canadians holding a university degree had an employment rate of 90.7 per cent. The study found that immigrants who were educated in western countries were more likely to find work than those educated elsewhere. Immigrants’ employment rate varied depending on their country of origin:

* United States: 77.8 per cent

* Europe: 73.8 per cent

* Asia: 65.5 per cent

* Latin America: 59.7 per cent

* Africa: 50.9 per cent

But even immigrants who received their degree at a Canadian university had lower employment rates than native-born Canadians.

Between 2002 and 2007, about 28,000 core-working-age immigrants received a degree in Canada. Despite their Canadian education, their employment rate in 2007 was 75.3 per cent—lower than the 90.7 per cent average among their Canadian born, university-educated counterparts.

The study also found that the employment gap between degree-holding immigrants and the Canadian-born narrowed the longer an immigrant has been in Canada. University-educated immigrants who have been in Canada for more than a decade had employment rates comparable to native-born Canadians, Statistics Canada says.

Studies have shown that it is often difficult for newcomers to Canada to find work because of language barriers and their foreign credentials not being recognized.

The study also looked at employment rates in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec—the three provinces where most immigrants choose to settle.

Quebec had the most immigrants holding a Canadian university degree. British Columbia had the most Asian immigrants and the most immigrants holding a degree from an Asian university. Immigrants in Ontario most commonly held Asian or Canadian degrees.

The study found immigrants with Canadian degrees in Ontario and B.C. had employment rates similar to those of Canadian-born graduates, regardless of their landing period. But in Quebec, immigrants who have been in Canada since 1997 had an employment rate below native-born Canadians.

The employment rate among degree-holding immigrants who landed in Canada before 1997 was close to that of their Canadian-born counterparts, Statistics Canada said. The only exception was the 61,000 Asian-educated immigrants in Ontario who arrived prior to 1997, who had a lower employment rate than native-born Canadians.

Meanwhile, the study found that immigrants aged 25 to 54 who held a post-secondary certificate or diploma were less likely to be employed than a similarly-educated Canadian born at home.