Ignoring international talent costs Canada billions

Costs of underemploying immigrant professionals include $1.5 billion in lost tax revenue
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/24/2002

Studies show that the non-recognition of immigrant credentials is costing Canadians more than $2 billion every year, notes World Education Services, the authorized credential evaluation service of the government of Ontario. The organization is challenging Canadian employers to fully recognize the value of foreign-trained skilled workers and professionals.

"Failure to recognize foreign credentials costs all Canadians," says Timothy Owen, director of World Education Services. "Studies show underemployed immigrants are losing $5 billion in annual income. That lost income would generate $1.5 billion in income taxes alone, assuming a 30 per-cent tax rate. When you factor in income support and re-training costs due to lack of skills recognition, a serious skills shortage in several key knowledge-based industries, you can see we have a big problem. And this doesn't take lost productivity into account, adding hundreds of millions of dollars."

World Education Services says the cost of providing income support to 5,000 foreign-trained workers would be $60 million, and retraining 10,000 people would cost taxpayers $10 million. This, at a time when the Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates there are 265,000 vacant jobs among small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada, 186,000 of these having been vacant for four months or more, and nearly 40,000 highly skilled immigrants have been arriving in Ontario annually for years.