Canada lives up to immigrants' expectations: StatsCan

But after 4 years, many still have problems getting a job

Most new immigrants are pleased to be living here and have positive views of Canada's social and political environment. However, after four years in the country, their biggest difficulties are still finding an adequate job and dealing with the language barrier, according to two new reports from Statistics Canada's Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC).

The first report, Immigrants' Perspectives on
Their First Four Years in Canada
, examines immigrants' assessments of life in Canada and the difficulties they face here.

Four years after arriving in Canada, the majority of new immigrants (84 per cent) were positive about their decision to come here.

When asked about the single-most important reason for settling permanently in Canada, the most prevalent responses were the quality of life here (32 per cent), the desire to be close to family and friends (20 per cent), the future prospects for their family in Canada (18 per cent) and the peaceful nature of the country (nine per cent).

The report found that two-thirds of new immigrants said that life in Canada has lived up to their expectations.

These new immigrants were also asked what had been their biggest difficulties since arrival. The difficulty mentioned by the most immigrants was finding an adequate job (46 per cent), followed by learning English or French (26 per cent).

The study found that between seven and 24 months after arrival 62 per cent of all new immigrants aged 25 to 44 had looked for a job, and between 25 to 48 months after arrival 53 per cent had done so. The majority of job seekers reported that they experienced a problem or difficulty when searching for employment.

Considering all difficulties cited when seeking employment, lack of Canadian work experience was mentioned most often (50 per cent), followed by lack of contacts in the job market (37 per cent), lack of recognition of foreign experience (37 per cent), lack of recognition of foreign qualifications (35 per cent) and language barriers (32 per cent).

New immigrants often experienced multiple problems when looking for work. For example, almost two-third of job seekers who reported a language problem also reported that lack of work experience was a difficulty.

The second report, Knowledge of Official Languages Among New Immigrants: How Important is it in the Labour Market? analyzes the relationship between new immigrants' knowledge of the two official languages and their chances of finding an "appropriate" job.

It shows that the employment rate of immigrants increased with their ability to speak English.

Moreover, the ability to speak English is linked with the kind of job that new immigrants find, as those who reported speaking English well or very well were more likely to have an "appropriate" job than those who reported speaking it less well. However, the relationship between the self-reported ability to speak French and the chances of having an "appropriate" job was not as clear.

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