Immigrants are less likely than their Canadian-born counterparts to work in the occupations that match their studies, with foreign-trained immigrants having the most difficulty, according to Statistics Canada.
Data from the 2006 census showed just 24 per cent of employed immigrants with degrees in fields of study that would normally lead to work in a regulated occupation such as medicine, law or education actually worked in the occupation that matched their studies.
In contrast, the match rate was 53 per cent among employed immigrants who studied for the same fields in Canada. The match rate among the Canadian born was higher still at 62 per cent.
Regulated occupations are those governed by provincial regulatory bodies or professional associations and they have specific requirements about the credentials necessary to practice the occupation.
Immigrants in the health care field had higher match rates than those who studied to be teachers, engineers and lawyers.
While match rates for foreign-educated doctors and nurses were both 56 per cent, the rate was 24 per cent for those who studied teaching. It was lower still (19 per cent) for those who studied engineering, the most common field of study among foreign-educated immigrants. Immigrants who were law graduates had the lowest match rate of all fields of study at 12 per cent.
While foreign-educated immigrants were less likely to work in the regulated occupations for which they studied, this discrepancy was smaller for those who had spent more time in Canada. Even so, after 10 years in Canada, foreign-trained immigrants had a match rate of 31 per cent compared with 55 per cent for Canadian-educated immigrants and 62 per cent for the Canadian born.
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