The Canadian Immigrant Labour Market in 2006

Very recent immigrants are more likely to be unemployed, even though they are more likely to have a post-secondary education, according to a 2007 Statistics Canada report.

Very recent immigrants, those who landed between 2001 and 2006, had the most difficulty integrating into the labour market, even though they were more likely than the Canadian-born population to have a university education, found “The Canadian Immigrant Labour Market in 2006.”

In 2006, 54 per cent of these immigrants had a post-secondary degree compared to just 22 per cent of their Canadian-born counterparts. Also, 36 per cent of all immigrants aged 25 to 54, regardless of when they came to Canada, had a university education.

For very recent immigrants with a bachelor’s degree, the unemployment rate was 11.4 per cent, compared to just 2.9 per cent for Canadian-born workers who were university-educated. Similarly, the unemployment rate for very recent newcomers who had a graduate degree was 12.4 per cent, compared with only 2.4 per cent for their Canadian-born counterparts.

Overall, the national unemployment rate for very recent immigrants was 11.5 per cent, more than double the overall rate of 4.9 per cent for the Canadian-born population.

The situation improved for immigrants who had been in Canada between five and 10 years, that is, those who landed between 1996 and 2001. Their unemployment rate was 7.3 per cent.

The longer immigrants had been in Canada, the more closely their unemployment and employment rates resembled those of the Canadian born.

This is likely a reflection of their integration into the Canadian labour market over time and pointed to the fact that many newcomers may need time to adjust to their new life in Canada and break into the workforce.

For example, respondents to the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada cited lack of Canadian work experience, lack of recognition of foreign credentials and language barriers as the most severe impediments to labour force integration for recent immigrants to Canada.

Read the full report: The Canadian Immigrant Labour Market in 2006