New Immigrants to Canada Need More Job Market Help

Unemployment Rises As Canada Jobs Increase In Construction And Tech
Canada immigration free assessment

Newcomers are facing trouble succeeding in the Canada job market despite what is being called the country’s most strategic response to aligning labour market needs with economic migration.

A report by Employment and Social Development Canada says that university-educated immigrants were overrepresented in low- and medium-skill sectors, and under-represented in high-skilled employment.

The Globe and Mail’s Andrew Seale writes that newer immigration measures risk repeating some of those previous patterns if adjustments are not made in both education and in employer and cultural attitudes to newcomers.

Muraly Srinarayanathas, who is the co-founder and chairman of Computek College (a private career college in southern Ontario offering training in higher-skilled areas like business, technology, and healthcare to newcomers and second- and third-generation immigration), asserts that Canada has long perceived immigration through the lens of the refugee experience, wherein they are in a state of desperation, survival, and struggle.

“There are also a lot of immigrants that come highly skilled, [with] foreign credentialing, and I don’t think Canada serves those different communities in the right way,” she says.

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“It’s a real missed opportunity.”

This is despite talent shortages causing more Canadian businesses to look at newcomers as a badly needed source of labour.

“Right now, about half of newcomers to Canada are economic migrants,” says executive director of Future Skills Centre Pedro Barata. “The target is 60 per cent by 2025.”

In fact, Ottawa – through its redesigned Express Entry program launched in May – is planning to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.

Despite this constituting as a divergence from Canada’s historically “elite approach” to economic migration requiring university education, language skills, and other conditions, negative perceptions of immigrants have enabled their exploitation at the hands of employers.

For example, a 2023 University of Alberta research paper asserts that they are paid lower-than-market wages and worse working conditions than Canadian-born workers.

“Although skilled immigrants are highly qualified, professionally trained and economically motivated, they face individual-level challenges after arriving in Canada that restrain them from successfully integrating into the labour market,” says the paper.

Canada In Desperate Need

Solving issues related to education access are more solvable than changing societal attitudes, but carry their own pitfalls.

Mr. Srinarayanathas says that for some skills, like nursing, newcomers can begin the application process from their home country and then write their exam in Canada to acquire the requisite credentials or designations.

Despite there being pathways such as the Labour Market Impact Assessment process, most of the hospitals or healthcare institutions are hiring immigrants as nurses’ aides so that they get the hours they need for their permanent residency.

When they are working, they are not supposed to be studying under the LMIA process. However, studying is requisite to prep for the nursing exam to acquire a PR.

His point is that although there are certain pathways, they are very complex. This is counterintuitive, because if Canada has a desperate need of labour, it should be a very smooth process.

Out-of-Canada work experience recognition is also vital, as many newcomers are overlooked despite their long-term Labour market presence simply because said presence was outside the country.

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Removing the Canadian work experience requirement enables newcomers to land jobs that fit their credentials.

Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) became the first professional organization to remove this requirement, enabling newcomers with engineering backgrounds to land engineering jobs.

“By the time you get to writing the test, you can show that you already have a running start, which is actually really important in accelerating integration,” says Barata.

“It’s a great test case that we could probably translate into other occupations.”

According to him, Canada would be unable to remain competitive or maintain its quality of life, tax base, and productivity in both the long and short term unless it relies on immigration. It therefore becomes vital to help integrate newcomers into the Canadian economy as soon as possible.

Canada immigration free assessment
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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.