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An analysis of the poor performance of recent immigrants and observations on immigration policy


  • Grady, Patrick


This paper examines the poor performance of recent immigrants to Canada in the labour market as revealed in the Statistics Canada Census 2006 Public Use Microdata File (PUMF). It presents the data which shows that immigrants from less developed countries are doing much worse than immigrants from industrialized countries. And unlike previous studies, it focuses on why immigrants from particular countries and regions do worse than others, rather on a comparison with non-immigrants. Using regression analysis it shows that key explanatory variable for the poor performance of recent immigrants are their education, their visible minority status, their language skills, their occupations, and their countries of origin. A profiling of immigrants who have done better than non-immigrant Canadians suggests that the performance of immigrants could be improved by utilizing information from the Census on the characteristics of immigrants who succeed in labour markets to improve the selection criteria and distribution of points used in the current scoring system to choose immigrants, but this would leave untouched the problem of the underperformance of immigrants who are not selected under the point system. This paper reaffirms and updates to 2005 our knowledge that the earnings in immigrants varies significantly by country of origin and that language and the portability of education credentials is a contributing factor. It concludes with some observations on the implications of its analysis for immigration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Grady, Patrick, 2011. "An analysis of the poor performance of recent immigrants and observations on immigration policy," MPRA Paper 31289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31289

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Picot, Garnett & Sweetman, Arthur, 2005. "The Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes: Update 2005," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005262e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Frenette, Marc & Morissette, Rene, 2003. "Will They Ever Converge? Earnings of Immigrants and Canadian-born Workers over the Last Two Decades," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003215e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    3. Sweetman, Arthur, 2004. "Immigrant Source Country Educational Quality and Canadian Labour Market Outcomes," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004234e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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    More about this item


    wages; recent immigrants to Canada; immigration policy; immigrant labour; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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