Location of study big factor in persistent overqualification
While many Canadians are increasingly overqualified for their jobs, immigrants to Canada continue to be more qualified than non-immigrants, according to a report from the Canadian government.
Nearly one in 10 (9.7 per cent) workers were considered overqualified in 2016, up from 4.6 per cent from 2006, according to data from Statistics Canada (StatCan). Overqualification is defined as a situation where university degree holders (with a bachelor’s degree or higher) hold jobs that require no more than a high school education.
Among non-immigrants, 8.3 per cent were overqualified in 2016, up from 4.2 per cent in 2006. For immigrants, however, the data was 13.7 per cent for 2016 and 5.5 per cent for 2006.
Among immigrants, the location of study was an important factor in the risk of overqualification; 14 per cent of those who studied outside Canada experienced overqualification in both 2006 and 2016, compared with four per cent of those who studied in Canada.
Among immigrants, persistent overqualification grows the later they are admitted to Canada. Immigrants admitted from 2002 to 2006 had it worst (14.5 per cent) compared with those admitted from 1997 to 2001 (11.7 per cent), those admitted from 1987 to 1996 (9.1 per cent) and those admitted before 1987 (5.3 per cent).
“Recent immigrants were at greater risk of experiencing overqualification in 2006, but the risk of it transforming into persistent overqualification was higher among older immigrants, as younger immigrants were more likely to experience a trajectory leading out of overqualification,” says StatCan.
Overqualification probably would not be an important public policy issue if it were only a temporary or transitional situation for most workers, says the government.
“However, overqualification that lasts for several years could be particularly harmful for the individuals who experience it. Some have suggested that prolonged overqualification, and not applying what has been learned for a long period of time, could eventually result in a loss of skills acquired during studies. Others have suggested that experiencing periods of overqualification could have a persistent effect on career paths, and those affected could be at greater risk later in their careers of experiencing periods of unemployment or overqualification, and of receiving lower wages.”
Recently, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that visitors who are currently in Canada with a valid job offer can now apply for and receive an employer-specific work permit without having to leave the country.
The federal government has also announced two temporary policies: one that gives asylum claimants working in the healthcare sector a chance at permanent residency while the other allows temporary foreign workers to work in a new job while their work permit application is being fully processed.