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WES Weekly Roundup November 1, 2022

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

New Canadians Working amid a New Normal: Recent Immigrant Wage Penalties in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic (University of Toronto Journal)

Newcomers face significant barriers to labour market integration in Canada which can result in earnings gaps when compared to their Canadian born counterparts. This report explores the relationship between recent immigrant earnings and the COVID-19 pandemic, examining whether the pandemic exacerbated or mitigated recent immigrant wage gaps.  Recent immigrants were more likely than Canadian-born workers to be unemployed and recent immigrant women were more likely to be out of the labour force altogether. Furthermore, studies have shown through previous recessions – like in the 1990s and 2008 - immigrant earnings have been greatly impacted.  However, during COVID-19, earning disparities experienced by recent immigrants were not as substantially hurt. Surprisingly, recent immigrant men experienced a slight earnings boost in COVID whereas recent immigrant women did not.

The researchers caution some of these findings particularly given that one of the main data sources used includes the Labour Force Survey which has some limitations including: focus on hourly earnings, length of unemployment (12 months or less), and no specificity on type of employment or industry. Nevertheless, the researchers note as the federal government continues to increase immigration targets from specific occupations and with particular skillsets, newcomers will still face biases that discount their professional expriences in the labour market. Therefore, more work needs to be done to address these biases and ensure better integration and recognition of internationally trained professionals in Canada.

Immigrants make up the largest share of the population in over 150 years and continue to shape who we are as Canadians (Statistics Canada)

Full results of the 2021 National Census are now available - including the most recent data on immigration and ethnocultural diversity in Canada! Current data reveals that an increasing number of the Canadian population is born abroad, as 23 percent of the population is or has been a landed or permanent resident. This is the largest share of an immigrant population since Canada became a country in 1867, accounting for nearly 8.3 million immigrants. Statistics Canada forecasts that immigrants will make up nearly 34 percent of Canada's population by 2041. Roughly 1.3 million permanent residents settled in Canada between 2016 (the previous census) and 2021, with around 750,000 arriving under the economic class.

Before gaining permanent residence, 36.6 percent lived in Canada as work/study permit holders or asylum claimants. In 2016, Canada had a target of 300,000 new permanent residents, and seeks to welcome 432,000 by the end of 2022. 2022 Focus Canada survey findings indicate that Canadians are increasingly welcoming to newcomers, as nearly seven in ten support current immigration levels; the largest majority recorded in the 45-year history of the survey. 

The ethical complexities of Canada’s dependence on edugration (University Affairs)

Historically, Canada’s increasing dependence on international students has been framed as a triple win for Canada. Also termed edugration (education + migration) the Canadian international student strategy has been seen as an avenue whereby students gain valuable international education (and possibly citizenship), higher education institutions gain revenue, enrollment, diversity and teaching assistants, and finally Canada can address human capital needs while also fulfilling population growth challenges. This article emphasizes that in practice, Canada does not deliver on the promises made to international students. As temporary residents vetted by post-secondary institutions, international students are often caught in immigration status limbo until permanent residency and their related supports (i.e. settlement and employment supports) are approved.

The authors argue that edugration has also created an environment where higher education has become an actor in immigration selection and settlement. Therefore, the authors call for further review and restructure of Canada’s internationalization priorities to fully support the thousands of internationals students entering the country each year.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight 

Afghan refugee sponsorship quota should be removed, advocates urge feds (Global News)

Advocacy groups and human rights allies are calling on the federal government to lift current limits on the applications to sponsor certain Afghan refugees in Canada. Last month, IRCC announced a new program to allow Canadian organizations and individuals to privately sponsor up to 3,000 Afghan refugees who have not yet obtained status designation from the UNHCR or a foreign state. IRCC cited that the applications will be accepted through to October 2023 or once 3,000 applications have been received - whichever happens first. According to several critics, 3,000 spots for a crisis where millions of people are facing displacement is insufficient. The federal government has introduced special temporary resident programs to aid an unlimited number of Ukrainians seek protection in Canada, with nearly 100,000 having arrived. The application platform for the most recent specialized program for Afghans crashed shortly after opening, due to an overload of submissions. Since the commitment was made in August 2021, 23,000 Afghans have arrived in Canada.

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