Douglas Todd: Refugees earn more than most Canadians after 25 years

Good solid analysis by IRCC and confirms what I am seeing in some of the data that I am looking at:

Refugees who arrived in the late 1980s and early 1990s are now earning more than the average Canadian.

An internal immigration department document shows that, after 25 years in the country, a typical refugee is earning as much or more than the Canadian norm, which is about $45,000 a year.

The document quotes a senior department official who says the long-term study of refugees’ wages suggests the recent wave of 50,000 refugees from Syria could several decades from now do as well as earlier refugees in regards to earnings.

“In a nutshell this is the trajectory we would expect (all things being equal) from government-assisted refugees and privately-sponsored refugees,” senior immigration department official Umit Kiziltan writes in a memo obtained under an access to information request.

The immigration and tax department data, which tracks refugees’ earnings from 1981 to 2014, shows that average government-assisted refugees earned less than $20,000 a year in their first decade in the country, when many families rely on provincial welfare and other government benefits to get by.

However, after 25 to 30 years in Canada, the average refugee is earning roughly $50,000 a year, about $5,000 more than the average Canadian. The study also shows the earnings gap between government-assisted refugees, who initially do worse than privately-sponsored refugees, basically disappears over the long run.

The largest groups of refugees to Canada in the 1980s and early 1990s came from Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa. In that era the total number of refugees arriving ranged from 15,000 to 40,000 annually. In recent years Canada has accepted more than 50,000 refugees from war-torn Syria alone.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained the internal government documents, said they contain reliable information that strongly indicate most refugees, no matter where they come from, develop usable skills and do well in the labour market over their careers.

However, even though the senior immigration department’s memo welcomed the news that refugees who arrived several decades ago perform well, Kiziltan cautioned that it’s hard to forecast how more recent refugees will do, given the “cyclical nature of the economy overall and especially (the) human capital of the Syrian cohorts.”

The report, in addition, also does not compare the earnings of refugees who have been in Canada for several decades (which means many would be in their 50s and at the peak of their careers) with the earnings of other Canadians of the same age cohort.

The data on refugees’ slow road to labour-market success in Canada comes on the heels of 2018 controversies over thousands of asylum seekers illegally crossing the Canadian border, a Syrian refugee being charged with the murder of Burnaby teenager Marrisa Shenand a Postmedia story revealing the federal Liberal government has not produced any report in two years on whether recent Syrian refugees are learning English or French, working, receiving social assistance or going to school.

This is not the first federal government indication, however, that many refugees eventually earn solid incomes. In 2014 then-federal Conservative immigration department minister Jason Kenney cancelled the contentious immigrant-investor program while revealing that refugees were actually paying more in Canadian income taxes than wealthy newcomers who had in effect bought their Canadian passports.

Asked about the contrast between taxes paid in Canada by refugees and rich immigrants, Kurland said it’s “a complicated comparison.” The breadwinner of an immigrant-investor family, Kurland explained, “usually returns home to support the family’s millionaire lifestyle in Canada” and therefore, unlike a refugee who stays in Canada, doesn’t pay significant income taxes in this country.

Previous studies have consistently shown that, while adult refugees often struggle in the short to medium term, many of their children quickly perform well in their new land, in large part because they gain extra social support, a taxpayer-funded education in English or French and the time to develop skills.

This recent internal study of refugee earnings, however, is among the first to emphasize that, over many decades, most of the refugees who had direct experience of war, persecution and trauma in their homeland are capable of attaining financial success in the country that welcomed them.

Source: Douglas Todd: Refugees earn more than most Canadians after 25 years

The Daily — Income and mobility of immigrants, 2015

Usual informative StatsCan summary analytical note:

The median entry wages of immigrant tax filers who landed in 2014 were $24,000 in 2015, the highest on record for immigrants who have landed since 1981. Median entry wages are measured as the median wages one year after landing (e.g., their admission to Canada as permanent residents). The median entry wages of the 2013 cohort were $22,000, while they were $18,400 for those who landed in 2000.

This data comes from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), an administrative database that enables the analysis of immigrant cohorts through time and across different admission categories, such as the Canadian Experience Class, Family Class or Refugees.

Immigrants face different challenges when they land in Canada, such as recognition of foreign credentials or the ability to speak at least one of the official languages. Although increasing over the last few years, the median wages of recent immigrants remain lower than those of the Canadian population. For the Canadian-born population, the 2016 Census estimated the 2015 median wages at $36,000, compared to $35,000 for the immigrant population.

Principal applicants in the Canadian Experience Class category have the highest wages

Not all immigrants face the same challenges after landing. The Canadian Experience Class is one program for immigrants to gain permanent residency, intended for people with skilled work experience in Canada. In 2015, immigrant tax filers who landed in 2014 as principal applicants under the Canadian Experience Class admission category had the highest median wages of all groups who landed that year, at $53,000. This is comparable with that of other immigrant cohorts since 2009, when immigrants were first admitted in the Canadian Experience Class. In 2014, the number and proportion of Canadian Experience Class immigrants increased greatly. For example, from the 2013 cohort, 3.1% of tax filers (3,660 immigrants) with wages one year after landing came from that admission category, while for the 2014 cohort, this proportion was 9.4% (12,150 immigrants).

By comparison, among other economic immigrant categories in the 2014 cohort, provincial and territorial nominees and skilled workers had median wages of $37,000 and $26,000, respectively.

Wages increase with the number of years since admission to Canada

Although for most immigration categories, the wages a few years after admission are lower than for the Canadian-born population, they increase with the number of years spent in Canada. The median wages of immigrant tax filers admitted to Canada in 2005 were estimated at $17,600 in 2006, one year after landing. For the same cohort, they increased to $25,000 five years after landing, and $32,000 a decade after.

The number of years in Canada leads to increased wages for immigrants in all admission categories. For example, the median wages of the 2005 cohort of government-assisted refugees were $7,800 one year after landing, $16,000 five years after landing, and $21,000 in 2015, a decade after landing. By contrast, the median wages of privately-sponsored refugees were $19,900 one year after landing, $23,000 five years after landing, and $27,000 in 2015.

Wages of immigrants born in Europe and the United States are higher than those from other regions

Although wages increase with the number of years in the country, there are differences in the economic outcomes of immigrants of the same cohort. The wages of immigrants vary by a number of characteristics, such as age, sex and region of birth.

For the 2005 cohort, the median wages in 2015 were $50,000 for male immigrant tax filers born in Europe and $51,000 for those born in the United States, compared to $30,000 for those born in East Asia.

These differences by region of birth were less pronounced for immigrant women, but their wages were generally lower than their male immigrant counterparts. For example, the median wages for female immigrants born in Europe who landed in 2005 were $34,000 in 2015, compared with $30,000 for those born in the United States and $24,000 for those born in East Asia. These differences are likely related to several factors, including ability to speak at least one of the official languages, educational background, and whether foreign credentials are recognized in the labour market.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Median wages by area of birth and sex for immigrant filers admitted in 2005, tax year 2015
Median wages by area of birth and sex for immigrant filers admitted in 2005, tax year 2015

Chart 1: Median wages by area of birth and sex for immigrant filers admitted in 2005, tax year 2015

Wages of immigrant children admitted between 1980 and 1991 are similar to those of Canadian-born

Many people migrate to another country to improve the living conditions of their children. Immigrants who come to Canada as children achieve similar labour market outcomes as their Canadian-born counterparts. This could be because their education (in part or in whole) is obtained in Canada, and fluency in one of the official languages is less likely to be a barrier.

Immigrants who landed before the age of 20 between 1980 and 1991 had median wages of $49,000 in 2015, according to the Longitudinal Immigration Database (note that these immigrants were between the ages of 24 and 54 in 2015). According to 2016 Census data, the median wages of the Canadian-born population aged 25 to 54 years were $48,000 in 2015.

When controlling for admission category, immigrant children have comparable employment outcomes to their Canadian-born counterparts. Among these immigrants who came to the country before the age of 20 more than 25 years ago, the median wages in 2015 were $45,000 for government-sponsored refugees, and $46,000 for those who were sponsored privately.

Immigrants from the family class are most likely to remain in the province of destination

Admission categories reflect different immigration objectives. Family class immigrants come to be closer to their family, while economic immigrants are selected for their ability to contribute to the labour force. The reasons for immigrating to Canada can influence which immigrants remain in their province of landing over time.

Overall, in 2015, 86% of immigrant tax filers who landed in 2010 filed tax returns in their province of landing. Proportions were highest in Alberta (90%) and Ontario (91%).

Immigrants admitted under the family class are more likely to reside in their destination province five years after landing. For instance, 93% of immigrants whose province of destination was Quebec and who were admitted under a family class category were residing in Quebec five years after landing, compared with 78% for refugees and 82% for economic immigrants.

via The Daily — Income and mobility of immigrants, 2015

Des musulmans demandent une meilleure intégration sur le marché de l’emploi

Multiculturalism - Implementing Diversity and Inclusion - Dec 2016.008.pngQuebec has the poorest economic outcomes for visible minorities:

Plus tôt cette semaine, le vice-président du Centre culturel islamique de Québec, Mohamed Labidi, a évoqué les efforts vains d’une des victimes de l’attentat, Azzaddine Soufiane, à trouver un emploi à son arrivée dans la province. Celui qui a tenté d’arrêter le tireur, au moment de la fusillade, avait donc décidé d’ouvrir un magasin, avait dit M. Labidi aux journalistes.

« Allez aux présentoirs de chauffeurs de taxi et vous verrez des post-doctorants et des personnes détenant des maîtrises puisque nous ne trouvons pas d’emplois ici », avait-il lancé.

Un programmeur informatique de formation qui est arrivé d’Algérie en 2011, Bachreir Ikhlef, était au départ « plein d’énergie » quand il est arrivé dans sa province d’accueil, a raconté le chauffeur de taxi de 37 ans alors qu’il attendait son prochain passager à quelques kilomètres de la Place d’Youville.

Un conseiller en orientation lui avait suggéré d’obtenir un diplôme au Québec afin d’agrémenter son curriculum vitae.

« Nous étions 25 à avoir commencé le programme, a dit celui qui avait alors opté pour un certificat en programmation. Et à la fin, seulement 12 d’entre nous l’ont fini. »

« Ni moi ni un type venant de la Tunisie n’avons pu obtenir un stage. Aucun d’entre nous n’a trouvé un travail dans notre domaine », a ajouté M. Ikhlef.

Selon l’Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques (IRIS) — un groupe de réflexion connu pour ses positions plutôt portées à gauche du spectre politique —, 43 % des immigrants étaient surqualifiés, en 2016, pour l’emploi qu’ils occupaient.

« Mêmes démons »

Jeudi, lors de la cérémonie funéraire qui se tenait à Montréal, le premier ministre Philippe Couillard a souligné que la société québécoise « a les mêmes démons auxquels d’autres font face », mentionnant notamment la xénophobie, l’exclusion et le racisme.

Il a appelé les employeurs à engager des personnes en se basant sur leurs compétences et non leur nom de famille, demandant tout haut pourquoi le taux de chômage était plus élevé parmi les immigrants.

Le chauffeur de taxi Taoufik Essekkouri — arrivé du Maroc en 2010 — espère de son côté que ces mots mèneront à des actions concrètes, faisant valoir en entrevue que la surqualification des nouveaux arrivants par rapport à leur emploi est un problème connu depuis longtemps, mais qui tarde à être résolu.

Source: Des musulmans demandent une meilleure intégration sur le marché de l’emploi | Le Devoir

Canada’s demographic gap can’t be filled with immigrants

Jason Kirby on the limits on immigration to address the aging population and the economic integration challenges immigrants face:

This isn’t to say immigrants can’t mitigate the effects of Canada’s aging population. This country’s ability to absorb people from diverse cultures is an advantage remarkably few other nations enjoy.

As it is, immigrants are already a major driver of Canada’s labour force. In Toronto, for instance immigrants now account for nearly 51 per cent of the city’s labour force. It’s slightly less in Vancouver (41 per cent) and lower still in Montreal (26 per cent) but all three cities have seen immigrants grow as a share of the labour force over the past few years.


There’s a problem here too, though. New immigrants don’t fare well in Canada’s job market. The unemployment rate among immigrants who landed in Canada within the last five years has, on average, been more than double that of Canadian-born workers over the last decade. Those who came between five and 10 years ago are a bit better off—their unemployment rate is about 1.5 times higher. It’s only among immigrants who’ve been in the country for more than a decade that the gap with Canadian-born workers is erased. It shows that even if Canada ramps up the number of newcomers it accepts, their performance in the labour market will surely lag for years.

The experience over the last year with the influx of more than 30,000 Syrian refugees, who are included in this year’s higher immigration count, has shown how challenging it is to quickly integrate large numbers of people. So too has the backlash in Vancouver against homebuyers from mainland China (and the murky question of who is a foreign buyer and who is a genuine immigrant) even as Canada works to double the number of visa offices in that country. Meanwhile, Canada may pride itself on being more open and tolerant of immigrants, especially in contrast to the ugliness going on in the U.S. and Europe, yet internal polling carried out by Immigration Canada shows one quarter of Canadians feel immigration levels are too high as it is. The news of this year’s immigration boom does not sit well with them.

Which is silly, really, because despite that headline-grabbing number of new immigrants, their number works out to just 0.8 per cent of Canada’s population, or 0.1 percentage points higher than the average of the last 20 years. Some boom.

Source: Canada’s demographic gap can’t be filled with immigrants –

The Daily — Study: Immigration, business ownership and employment in Canada, 2001 to 2010

Another interesting and useful study (see the earlier Immigrants took the brunt of recession-year turn toward self-employment):

Immigrants who have been in Canada for more than 10 years have higher rates of private incorporated business ownership than individuals born in Canada. However, the types of businesses owned by immigrants tend to employ fewer paid workers than those owned by individuals born in Canada, according to a new study.

Rates of business ownership are relatively low among immigrants during their initial years in Canada, but, over time, these rates surpass those for individuals born in Canada.

Among immigrant taxfilers who had been in Canada for 10 to 30 years in 2010, about 6% were owners of private incorporated businesses that employed paid workers. This compares with about 5% of Canadian-born taxfilers. But, while immigrant-owned private incorporated businesses employed, on average, about four paid workers, those owned by Canadian-born individuals had about seven paid workers.

Of all immigrant-owned private incorporated businesses, 45% were located in four industries: professional, scientific and technical services; retail trade; accommodation and food services; and transportation and warehousing. One-third of private incorporated businesses owned by Canadian-born individuals were in these four industries.

The rate of unincorporated self-employment was also higher among longer-term immigrants (22%) than among individuals born in Canada (16%). When restricted to individuals who received at least one-half of their total earnings from unincorporated self-employment—defined as primary unincorporated self-employment—these rates were 12% for the longer-term immigrants and 8% for individuals born in Canada.

Immigrants who were principal applicants in the business class had the highest incidence of incorporated business ownership or primary unincorporated self-employment, with a combined rate of 40%. Among principal applicants in the economic class, the combined rate was 17%, while among both family-class immigrants and refugees, it was 15%.

Source: The Daily — Study: Immigration, business ownership and employment in Canada, 2001 to 2010

Ontario now the worst place for educated immigrants looking for work

canada-wide-unemployment-rates-for-university-graduates-very-recent-immigrants-5-years-or-less-canada-born_chartbuilderNot exactly good news, but expect that there is variance based on country of origin and ethnicity. Will be doing some number crunching over the coming months  in this area, as well as looking at second-generation economic and social outcomes:

According to data Statistics Canada crunched for Global News, 14 per cent of university-educated immigrants who’ve come to Canada in the last five years are without a job – more than their counterparts with a post-secondary certificate or high-school diploma.

Only 3.3 per cent of Canadian-born university grads, on the other hand, are unemployed, as are 5.6 per cent of university-educated immigrants who’ve been in Canada a decade or more.

And 2013 numbers indicate Ontario’s swapped places with Quebec as the worst place to be a highly educated new immigrant in search of work: Last year 14.7 per cent of recent immigrants in Ontario with university degrees were out of work, compared to 12.4 per cent in Quebec.

Ontario now the worst place for educated immigrants looking for work |