Canada | Immigration | Study on STEM Immigrants’ Economic Outcomes of Canada and US

Immigrants are a significant source of labour supply in both Canada and the United States, with a specialization in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In Canada, 44 percent of all people aged 25 to 64 with a graduate degree in a STEM field were adult immigrants in 2016. This number was 24 percent in the United States.

The availability of STEM-educated immigrants in Canada is comparatively higher than in the United States. The two countries often vary in the selection of STEM-educated immigrants. In the United States, employers generally select and sponsor high-skilled immigrants.

Economic immigrants in Canada were largely accepted directly from abroad until the early 2010s. It was based on the point’s scheme in which employers do not play a direct part. The disparities in the availability and selection of economic migrants could influence the relative success of STEM-educated immigrants in the labour market in the two countries.

A recent Statistics Canada report evaluated the two countries’ economic outcomes of STEM immigrants. The study was on immigrants’ occupational skill use and earnings with at least a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. This study was carried out in collaboration with   Immigrants, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

According to the 2016 Census of Canada and the American Community Survey from 2015 to 2017, nearly one-half of STEM-educated immigrant workers held jobs in STEM occupations in both countries. STEM-educated immigrants with STEM work in Canada earned 17% less than their Canadian-born peers with comparable demographic attributes. Whereas those immigrants earned marginally more than their US-born counterparts in the United States.

The skill utilization and earnings of STEM-educated immigrants in Canada varied substantially by the admission program. Two-thirds (66%) of STEM-educated immigrants in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) have found a STEM job.  The CEC, launched in 2008, is close to employer-based selection in the United States.

By contrast, 45 percent found a STEM job for STEM-educated immigrants accepted through the Provincial Nominee Program. A greater proportion of STEM-educated immigrants worked in STEM jobs in the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

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