Vital to attract skilled immigrants

While immigration will continue to play a large role in boosting Canada’s economy, it is particularly important to put an emphasis on accepting skilled immigrants, who tend to be the most successful once in Canada.

By Michael Abbott and Charles Beach, The StarPhoenix

Abbott and Beach are economics professors at Queen’s University.

Saskatoon — Immigrants are key drivers behind our country’s growth, according to 2011 census findings. Released last week by Statistics Canada, census figures indicate two-thirds of overall population growth is being fuelled by newcomers.

While immigration should continue to play a large role in boosting our economy, it is particularly important that we put an emphasis on accepting skilled immigrants. In setting immigration policy and targets, it is important to know how well immigrants in various admission categories have fared in their initial years of Canadian residence.

Skilled workers have consistently higher earnings than other classes of immigrants, according to a study, Do Admission Categories and Economic Recessions Affect Immigrant Earnings?, that we recently had published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

We compared the annual incomes of four categories of immigrants in the first decade since their arrival in Canada as permanent residents in 1982, 1988 and 1994: skills-assessed economic immigrants; other economic immigrants; family class immigrants; and refugees.

Immigrants who were admitted under the Federal Skilled Worker program had the highest median annual earnings among the four categories in all arrival groups. The median earnings of skilled workers exceed the earnings of other groups by as much as 56 per cent, in some cases.

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