Canada | Immigration | New immigrants significantly improved labor market outcomes between 2006 and 2019.

In the Canadian labor market, immigrants have positive results and in some situations they perform better than Canadian-born workers.


According to a recent study titled The Improved Labor Market Performance of New Immigrants to Canada, 2006-2019, new immigrants are on average younger and better educated than Canadian-born labour-market workers.


Economist Kimberly Wong compared the three groups' participation rate, job rate, unemployment rate and hourly wages:

a)      very recent immigrants who had been in Canada for less than five years;

b)      recent immigrants who had been in the country for five to ten years; and

c)      Canadian-born residents.


While immigrants had a higher rate of participation and employment, there was still a wage gap and higher levels of unemployment.


Until the end of the 13 year period, immigrants had a higher rate of participation and employment than Canadian-born workers.


Rates of participation of immigrants by 2019 exceeded the Canadian-born by 4.5 percentage points for very recent immigrants and 10.0 percentage points for recent immigrants. The job levels of very recent immigrants were 1.5 percentage points higher than those of Canadian-born workers, and recent immigrants were 8.7 percentage points higher than these.


Unemployment rates for immigrants decreased but they were still higher than Canadian citizens. By 2019, both very recent and new immigrants' unemployment rates were 4.0 and 1.0 percentage points higher than those of the Canadian-born, respectively.


Wages adjusted for living expenses for very recent immigrants rose, but they still paid less than the Canadian born between $2.87 and $4.32 an hour.


Six reasons why immigrants have better results


The study suggests six factors for improvement of new immigrants in the labor market in general:

        More immigrants have University Degrees.

        Late 2010 strong labor market may have helped immigrants more than Canadian-born workers;

   Federal and provincial programs targeted at immigrant workers, such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), likely contributed to the performance of labour;

        Support programs may have strengthened labor market integration; and

        Could have enhanced international credential recognition

             •        Improved labor market knowledge could help immigrants better prepare for Canada's labor market 

Opportunities to Improve


There were also two reasons why relative wages benefited less than other labor market measures

• Canada’s Immigrants problems such as discrimination, language barriers and smaller social networks may have impacted earnings rather than employment;

• Work inequality, where university-educated people work in a job unrelated to their studies, has not improved, which could explain why the relative wages of highly educated immigrants have not improved. 

The study has stated  that given their lower average age and higher education compared to the Canadian working-age population, new immigrants represent a significant strength for the Canadian economy in terms of their contribution to labour-power and tax revenues.



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