Immigrants overqualified, earn less than Canadian born: StatsCan

But differences begin to diminish the longer immigrants are in Canada

On average, immigrants had lower wages and higher rates of involuntary part-time work and temporary employment compared to non-immigrants in 2008, according to Statistics Canada.

The 2008 Canadian Immigrant Labour Market: Analysis of Quality of Employment found the average hourly wage of a Canadian-born employee aged 25 to 54 was $23.72, compared with $21.44 for an immigrant worker. The wage gap was widest, at about $5, for immigrants who had landed within the previous five years and among university degree holders.

While the proportion of immigrants and Canadian-born workers who held multiple jobs were similar, immigrants with more than one job worked an average of 50 hours in 2008, or 2.3 hours per week more than their Canadian-born counterparts.

Among part-time workers, the share of immigrants who cited working part time involuntarily (38 per cent) was higher than Canadian-born in 2008 (30 per cent).

In 2008, 9.7 per cent of immigrants were working in temporary positions, slightly more than the 8.3 per cent of Canadian-born employees. But the proportion was higher for immigrants who landed within the previous five years (16 per cent) and lower among immigrants in Canada for more than 10 years (7.2 per cent).

The study found immigrants were also more likely to be overqualified for their jobs compared to the Canadian born. In 2008, 42 per cent of immigrant workers aged 25 to 54 had a higher level of education for their job than what was normally required, while 28 per cent of Canadian-born workers were similarly over-qualified.

More than 1.1 million workers aged 25 to 54 who had a university degree were working in occupations whose normal requirements were at most a college education or apprenticeship. The share of immigrants with degrees who were over-qualified was 1.5 times higher than their Canadian-born counterparts.

Over-qualification was particularly prevalent among university-educated immigrants who landed within five years before the survey. Two-thirds worked in occupations that usually required at most a college education or apprenticeship.

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