Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen makes an announcement of support for pre-arrival services at the YMCA in Toronto on Monday, January 14, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Greater share of recent immigrants landing jobs even as Canada welcomes more

After economic slowdown last winter the unemployment rate has hovered near 40-year lows

The share of recent immigrants of prime working age who had employment reached a new high last year, even though Canada has been opening its doors to more newcomers than ever before, according to an internal federal analysis.

The increase was likely driven in part by the country’s strong job-creation run, which has encouraged companies to hire more people who usually find themselves at the margins of the workforce, says the document prepared for Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Immigrants who arrived less than five years ago fall into that category.

READ MORE: Canada to increase annual immigration admissions to 350,000 by 2021

The analysis provides a closer look at the impact of immigration on a labour force that has posted big gains in recent years.

After economic slowdown last winter the unemployment rate has hovered near 40-year lows. As a result, employers have reported challenges when trying to fill job vacancies.

“The performance of recent immigrants on the labour market has markedly improved in recent years, especially when considering the scale of immigrants arriving in Canada every year,” reads the January briefing note, obtained through access-to-information law.

The memo says the employment rate for immigrants aged 25 to 54 who landed less than five years ago, was 71 per cent last year. It was the indicator’s highest level since 2006 — which is as far back as the data goes.

READ MORE: Free app launches to help immigrants, refugees as they settle in B.C.

“Similar trends are witnessed for immigrants that landed between five and 10 years ago,” the briefing said.

The labour-force participation and unemployment rates of recent immigrants were better than before the last recession, over a decade ago. Selection criteria have targeted immigrants with better earnings prospects and recent newcomers to Canada are more highly educated, the analysis said.

The share of prime-aged immigrants with post-secondary educations rose from 75 per cent in 2006 to 80 per cent in 2018. That’s nine percentage points higher than the share in the general population in the same age range.

Canada has welcomed more immigrants in recent years — and the government intends to bring in more. It has set targets of nearly 331,000 newcomers this year, 341,000 in 2020 and 350,000 in 2021.

The numbers are rising at a time of growing public debate about some aspects of immigration. It could become an issue in the lead-up to the October federal vote.

A lobby group representing chief executives of Canada biggest companies has urged political parties to avoid aggravating public concerns about immigration during the campaign.

READ MORE: B.C. looks to attract global business people to its smaller cities

Business leaders made clear the economic case in favour of immigration, especially as baby boomers age and the country seeks workers to help fund social programs, like public health care, through taxes.

The Finance Department document argues that, in general, immigrants in Canada have done well because the country has maintained a positive attitude towards immigration.

“The topic of immigration has become more polarized in a number of countries, which may reflect the poor socio-economic outcomes for immigrants and economic stagnation of the middle class who use immigration as a scapegoat,” it says.

“The economic benefits of immigration are largely dependent on how well newcomers integrate into the labour market. Increasing immigration — or any increase in the population — will drive demand for goods and services, contributing to economic growth.”

The document also noted the strong economic and education outcomes for second-generation Canadians, compared to children of two Canadian-born parents.

READ MORE: 40% of Canadians want less immigration, poll says

Among individuals aged 25 to 44, 95 per cent of second-generation Canadians had completed high school compared to 89 per cent of those whose parents were both Canadian-born. Forty-one per cent of second-generation Canadians had university degrees versus 24 per cent of people with two Canadian-born parents.

In 2017, second-generation Canadians earned average employment incomes of $55,500, versus $51,600 for children of Canadian-born parents.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nanaimo city council issues permit for Third Street ‘gateway’ development

181 residential units plus commercial space to be built on site of former Armishaw farm

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre was shut down during police incident Monday

Local artist explores Nanaimo’s old Chinatown in new video installation

Charlotte Zhang among eight artists in Nanaimo Art Gallery’s ‘Estuary’ exhibition starting this week

Three blocks of Bruce Avenue will be closed until fall

Work will include utility upgrades, new curbs and sidewalks and new on-street bike lanes

Nanaimo Clippers won’t be hosting 2021 national championships

Hockey Canada hasn’t announced successful bid, but has advised it won’t be Nanaimo

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre was shut down during police incident Monday

Silly Boat Regatta fills Nanaimo harbour with silly sailing

Island Red Cedar Construction wins this year’s race

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Wolves not gnawing into Island’s prey population

Forestry practices, not predation, blamed for reduced numbers in prey animals

Most Read