StatsCan: Official language proficiency and immigrant labour market outcomes: Evidence from test-based multidimensional measures of language skills 

Of interest. Significant difference:

Numerous studies have demonstrated that higher proficiency in the language spoken in the destination country improves immigrant labour market outcomes. However, because of a lack of objective measures of language skills, previous studies have mainly drawn on subjective measures of language proficiency and were confined to the effect of only one dimension or general language skills. This study examines the effects of test-based measures of official language proficiency in four dimensions—listening, speaking, reading and writing—on immigrant employment and earnings. The analysis focuses on economic principal applicants admitted through the Express Entry (EE) system who immigrated to Canada from 2015 to 2018. A self-reported language measure based on self-reported knowledge of official languages at immigration and mother tongue is also examined for comparison. 

The analysis of employment outcomes shows that in the initial years after immigration, test-based language measures in all four dimensions, as well as the self-reported language measure, had little effect on the incidence of employment. The analysis of earnings, however, shows that the predictive power and the marginal effect of each of the four dimensions of test-based language measures were much stronger than those of the self-reported measure, indicating that using the latter can considerably underestimate the effect of language skills on earnings. The four test-based measures of official language skills all had independent positive effects on earnings. Reading tended to have a stronger predictive power and a larger marginal effect than the other three dimensions, but the differences across the four dimensions were generally small. The tested official language skills were as important as pre-immigration Canadian work experience and more important than the educational level and age at immigration in predicting initial earnings of principal applicants admitted under the EE system.

Source: Official language proficiency and immigrant labour market outcomes: Evidence from test-based multidimensional measures of language skills

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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