Immigrants in Canada stuck in low-paying jobs: study

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : Professionals and degree-holders seeking immigration to Canada, beware! The number of degree-holder immigrants, including doctors and engineers, stuck in jobs with low education requirements, such as clerks, truck and cab drivers and salespeople, has risen steadily since the last recession of early 1990s, says a new study by Statistics Canada.

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Employment problems for new immigrants will only get worse as Canada enters recession, experts warn.

The study titled “Immigrants’ Education and Required Job Skills” covered the period from 1991 to 2006.

It found that in 2006, established immigrants – those who had lived in Canada for between 11 and 15 years – had more difficulty finding jobs as per their educational qualifications than they did in 1991.

During this 15-year period, it said, the proportion of qualified immigrants stuck in jobs needing low educational qualifications rose steadily.

In 1991, according to the study, about 12 percent male immigrants with a university degree had jobs with low educational requirements. By 2006, this proportion rose to 21 percent.

Among female immigrants, the study said, these numbers increased from 24 percent in 1991 to 29 percent in 2006.

“These increases for established immigrants suggest that the difficulties, which have long plagued immigrants who have arrived recently, today have an impact on established immigrants,” said Statistics Canada in a statement.

“They also suggest that difficulties experienced by recent immigrants are not necessarily temporary.”

Among the newly arrived immigrants – those who have lived in Canada for less than five years, 24 percent university-educated men and about 40 percent women were doing jobs needing low educational requirements, the study said.

It listed many factors, including language skills, non-recognition of their credentials, mother tongue, age, and visible minority status, for deterioration in job prospects for degree-holding immigrants.

Canada lets in about 250,000 new immigrants each year, with China and India accounting for the bulk of these numbers.

Studies have found that Canada loses up to $6 billion annually in terms of economic output by not utilsing the skills of immigrants for the jobs they are trained for.