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.
Using the 2021 Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), this report outlines how the first year of the pandemic slowed the socioeconomic progress that immigrants have made over the past decade. From 2016-2021, immigration contributed to 80% of the country’s labour force growth. Prior to the onset of COVID-19, research indicated that the gap between recent immigrants (those who have lived in Canada 10 years or less) and the Canadian-born population in terms of employment rate and earnings was narrowing. However, due to impacts from the pandemic, new immigrants, especially immigrant women were disproportionately affected. In 2020, the median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2019 was $30,000 which was 6.5% lower than the wage of those admitted in 2018 ($32,100). Immigrant women experienced significant challenges whereby their median wage fell by 11.1% between 2019-2020 to $23,200 – compared to their immigrant male counterparts who saw a decline of their entry wages by only 5.2%. Interestingly, between 2019-2020, immigrants who had knowledge of both English and French were the only group that saw an increase in media entry wage (up 0.3%). Finally, an interesting trend among immigrants with pre-admission experience revealed that prior experience before permanent residency had a positive correlation to the impact on median wage. Those who had a work permit saw the lowest decrease in median entry wages, while those without pre-admission experience saw the biggest decline in their entry wages perhaps due to the lack of academic or work experience in Canada.
Canada's healthcare systems continue to experience significant strain. Through a recent announcement from the Government of Ontario, additional resources will be allocated to support the expansion of nursing staff across the province. An investment of $4.6 million will be granted to support nurses in upskilling for positions in critical care. By 2023, close to 600 registered nurses will have accessed funding to support their transition into critical care departments. So far in 2022, 14,000 new nurses have been registered to work in the province, with 6,300 being internationally educated.
According to Statistics Canada, immigrant care workers make up over 40% of Ontario’s nurses aides and support workers. However, many immigrants face several challenges to gaining licensure that leave them under or unemployed. The rise of digital platforms in the healthcare sector have created possible employment opportunities within the fields many are trained in, as they await accreditation and licensure. Research has shown that employment with digital platforms like Uber offer recent immigrants with opportunities to practice their language skills or expand networks, but it has its limitations. In the digital healthcare sector, the connection between care workers and receivers created deeper relationships with patients or “care recipients” which creates more meaningful work. As the healthcare sector remains understaffed and international trained health professionals (IEHPs) remain underemployed, Canada must work to better the barriers to practice for IEHPs, so they use their skills where they are most in need.
The federal government announced plans August 2021 to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees to Canada under specialized programs. The most recent data from IRCC indicates that nearly 23,000 Afghans have since arrived. As of August 2022, nearly 51 percent of arrivals are women. When looking at language proficiency, 32 percent speak English, 43 percent speak neither English or French, and 25 percent did not respond. When looking at age, most Afghans arriving to Canada are children and youth who make up 66 percent of arrivals, while individuals over aged 30 represent roughly 33 percent of Afghan refugees who arrived. When comparing data on education from 2021 and 2022, twice as many people have arrived, with three times more individuals having some form of post-secondary education; namely a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate level education.