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

Young Hearts Triathlon

Annual event saw racers of all ages swim, bike, and run their way to a cheering finish line on Saturday, July 13th

Museum presents old time film festival

Series of six films Saturday, July 20th through Sunday, July 21st at museum

Peddling the practice of bikepacking

Growing sport of backcountry biking in the Valley

Balancing aesthetics and affordability in Canal Flats

Canal Flats Council briefs of July 8th

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read