Focus immigration efforts on students, temporary workers: Study

Immigrants in Quebec and B.C. starting to do better than those in Ontario

Canada needs to overhaul its immigration policy to favour younger candidates like foreign students and temporary workers, according to a new study.

One of the biggest barriers immigrants to Canada face is the inability to transfer foreign qualifications and work experience, but these are less of a barrier for younger immigrants and temporary foreign workers, according to the study by researchers at the Université de Montréal.

"There is a serious lack of consistency between the government policy of wanting to attract qualified new immigrants to the labour market, and the reality that confronts those immigrants when employers refuse to recognize their experience and qualifications," states the study.

The study also found while Ontario's immigrants have historically fared better financially than those in Quebec and British Columbia, that situation is changing.

In the 1990s, the salary of immigrants to Ontario fell behind that of immigrants in Quebec and B.C.

Immigrants to Quebec are doing better largely because since the 1960s Quebec has been allowed to select its "economic class" immigrants, and in the last six or seven years has changed its policies to favour North African and European francophones. Immigrants in B.C. are faring better because that province has a longer experience with new arrivals from Asia, who now form the bulk of immigrants to Canada.

The study found language skills are the most important factor in determining an immigrant's success, while economic cycles had little effect, said Brahim Boudarbat, a professor at the Université de Montréal and the study's co-author along with doctoral student Maude Boulet.

The researchers also discovered that immigrant women in Quebec and immigrant men in B.C. earn the least, while immigrants from Africa and Latin America have a harder time having their qualifications recognized.

Latest stories