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Study examines Canadian immigrant labour market

Ottawa, ON -- Immigrants born in Southeast Asia, particularly those from the Philippines, had the strongest labour ...


Ottawa, ON — Immigrants born in Southeast Asia, particularly those from the Philippines, had the strongest labour market performance of all immigrants to Canada in 2006, regardless of when they landed in the country, according to a new study from Statistics Canada.

The study assessed the labour force situation for immigrants at three stages: very recent immigrants, who had landed between 2001 and 2006; recent immigrants, who had landed between 1996 and 2001; and established immigrants, who had been in Canada more than 10 years.

The study found that in 2006, many very recent immigrants in the core working-age group (aged 25 to 54), regardless of their region of birth, had experienced more difficulties in the labour market than the Canadian born.

Among very recent immigrants, only those born in Southeast Asia had unemployment rates, employment rates and participation rates that were more or less on par with the core working-age Canadian-born population.

Those born elsewhere in Asia (including the Middle East) as well as individuals born in Latin America, Europe and Africa all had higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates in 2006 than their Canadian-born counterparts.

Working-age immigrants born in Europe had 2006 labour market outcomes that were similar to the Canadian born, but this was the case mainly for recent and established immigrants.

Immigrants born in Africa experienced difficulties in the labour market, regardless of when they had landed. In 2006, the estimated 70,000 very recent African-born immigrants had an unemployment rate of 20.8%, more than four times higher than that of the Canadian born.

Countries of birth for immigrants to Canada have changed over the past few decades, shifting most notably in the mid-1980s from mainly European countries toward more Asian ones.

ASIAN-BORN IMMIGRANTS LARGEST GROUP TO SETTLE IN CANADA

Regardless of period of landing, people born in Asia (including the Middle East) were the largest group of immigrants that had settled in Canada as of 2006. Many were born in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Iran or Pakistan.

For all Asians aged 25 to 54, their employment rate was much weaker than that of the Canadian born, especially among very recent immigrants. Their employment rate was only 63.8%, compared with 83.1% for their counterparts born in Canada.

However, for all three periods of landing covered by this study, immigrants in this age group who were born in Southeast Asia had labour market outcomes that were close to or better than those of the Canadian born. Within Southeast Asia, both men and women born in the Philippines had particularly strong results. In fact, Filipino-born very recent immigrants had an unemployment rate of 5.4%, which was only slightly higher than that of the Canadian born (4.9%).

IMMIGRANTS BORN IN EUROPE

Despite being a declining proportion of immigrants aged 25 to 54, those born in Europe still represented the second-largest source region of all immigrants in 2006. Many came from the United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Portugal or Romania.

As with most other regions, very recent immigrants born in Europe had a higher unemployment rate than the Canadian born. Their unemployment rate was 8.4%, above the average rate of 4.9% for people born in Canada.

Established immigrants born in Europe had a 2006 employment rate of 83.9%, slightly higher than that of the Canadian born. This group represented 33% of all established immigrants aged 25 to 54. In addition, unemployment rates for established immigrants born in the United Kingdom or Portugal were much lower than those of their Canadian-born counterparts.

IMMIGRANTS BORN IN LATIN AMERICA

As with almost all other regions, very recent immigrants of core working age born in Latin America had higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates in 2006 than did the Canadian born. More specifically, their unemployment rate was 2.1 times higher than their Canadian-born counterparts. For both the recent and established immigrants, unemployment and employment rates were close to those of the Canadian born.

IMMIGRANTS BORN IN AFRICA

No matter what period they had landed, immigrants of core working age who were born in Africa had higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates compared with the Canadian born and with immigrants born in some other regions.

For example, the estimated 70,000 African-born very recent immigrants had an unemployment rate that was more than four times higher than that of their Canadian-born counterparts. They also posted lower employment rates. The story was not any better when looking at the regions within Africaboth those born in eastern Africa and northern Africa had unemployment rates that were over four times higher than that of their Canadian-born peers.

IMMIGRANT MEN MORE LIKELY TO BE WORKING THAN IMMIGRANT WOMEN

In general, immigrant men of core working age were more likely than their female counterparts to be participating in the Canadian labour market.

In particular, European-born men aged 25 to 54 had labour market outcomes either similar to or better than those of Canadian-born men, no matter when they landed in Canada. Established European-born men had labour market outcomes that were better than those of the Canadian born.

The study found a greater disparity between immigrant and Canadian-born women in 2006. Unemployment was high for almost all immigrant women, regardless of where they were born and when they landed in Canada.

This issue was particularly pronounced for very recent arrivals: in 2006, their unemployment rate was 2.8 times higher, and their participation and employment rates significantly lower, than those of Canadian-born women.

YOUNG VERY RECENT IMMIGRANTS HAD HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT RATES

Young very recent immigrants aged 15 to 24 had unemployment rates in 2006 that were higher and employment rates that were lower than their Canadian-born counterparts, no matter in which region they were born. However, they also had a comparatively higher school attendance.

Young recent and established immigrants born in Europe were as likely as Canadian-born youth to be either employed or unemployed.

MOST OLDER IMMIGRANTS WERE BORN IN EUROPE, ASIA

The study also examined older workers. In 2006, Canada had about 2.1 million immigrants aged 55 and over, the vast majority of whom (93%) were established immigrants. In fact, most had landed in Canada before 1986. Most of these older immigrants were born in two regions: Europe (59%) or Asia (25%).

Among these older workers, established immigrants born in Asia were much more likely to be unemployed in 2006 than their Canadian-born counterparts. However, all older established immigrants, regardless of region of birth, had unemployment rates in 2006 that were similar to or lower than those of the Canadian born.

PROVINCES: VAST MAJORITY SETTLED IN ONTARIO, BRITISH COLUMBIA AND QUEBEC

Because the vast majority of immigrants settle in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, the analysis focused on these provinces.

In Ontario, Asian- and African-born immigrants aged 25 to 54, regardless of time since landing, had higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates than the Canadian born. Recent and established immigrants born in Europe and Latin America had labour market outcomes similar to those of Canadian-born workers in Ontario.

In British Columbia, Asian-born and European-born recent and established immigrants had 2006 labour market outcomes that were comparable to those of Canadian-born British Columbians.

In Quebec, very recent and recent immigrants born in Latin America, Asia and Africa had 2006 unemployment rates two to four times higher than that of Canadian-born Quebeckers. Recent and established immigrants born in Europe had unemployment rates that were not much different from that of their Canadian-born counterparts.

A m
ore detailed summary, “The Canadian immigrant labour market in 2006: Analysis by region or country of birth,” part of The Immigrant Labour Force Analysis Series is now available online at www.statcan.ca in the Publications module of the website — under Free Internet publications, choose Labour.