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Evaluation of Canadian Refugee Resettlement Programs in the Assimilation of Refugees (2020)

Posted on:
August 24, 2020

The effectiveness of resettlement initiatives on refugee assimilation in Canada is assessed using the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) to follow refugee income variations between 1982-2015.

Background

To determine the short-and-long term variations in the labour integration process for different refugee sponsorship types, government-sponsored refugees (GARs) and privately-sponsored refugees (PSRs) are analyzed using an unconditioned and conditioned mean approach for 1, 3, 7, 10, and 15 years after landing in Canada. The impact of the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) on GARs’ conditioned mean incomes one and three years after migration is also assessed using the annual Public Accounts of Canada expenditure data in combination with the IMDB. Refugee assimilation is compared to federal skilled worker (FSW) class immigrants, the control group, to account for period effects. The results show that both PSR and GAR earnings converge to FSW in-about 15 years after migration. Furthermore, we find that higher RAP income support amounts have deterring effects on labour decisions, thereby delaying the labour integration process in comparison to the lowest years.

Findings

The results show that both PSR and GAR earnings converge to FSW in-about 15 years after migration. Furthermore, the authors find that higher RAP income support amounts have deterring effects on labour decisions, thereby delaying the labour integration process in comparison to the lowest years.

Refugee assimilation takes longer than five to ten years. PSRs assimilate more quickly GARs, due to the social capital that private sponsors offer and pre-arranged employment. Since all refugees assimilate over the long-term, the fact that PSRs economically integrate faster is of  significance.

To encourage quicker assimilation of refugees the authors recommend:
  1. Promote more culturally diverse SAHs and SPOs; and
  2. Encourage more BVOR refugees and PSRs

The authors recommend 3 actionable changes to the RAP funding composition, which should help ease the labour integration process for GARs:

  1. Increase the focus on employment counselling;
  2. Increase the transportation allowances (in lieu of regular income supplements); and
  3. Take a gendered approach to services and allowances.
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Summary

The effectiveness of resettlement initiatives on refugee assimilation in Canada is assessed using the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) to follow refugee income variations between 1982-2015.
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