A new Statistics Canada study breaks down labour market outcomes of refugees who came to Canada in 2003
One of the ways to measure how well certain groups of migrants have integrated into Canadian society is to look at how they performed in the labour market.
Statistics Canada conducted a study on refugees who came to Canada in 2003. The study compares and contrasts four different categories of refugees, how each cohort fared in getting jobs, and how many required social assistance.
Canada’s immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) supplies open work permits to refugee claimants so that they can work while waiting on a decision on their claim. Those who come from abroad have access to federally-funded settlement services both before arrival and immediately upon landing.
Researchers in this study compared refugees who became permanent residence with government-assisted refugees, privately sponsored refugees, and claimants who did not eventually become permanent residents over the period of study. Data came from landing records, and taxation data.
Privately sponsored refugees and claimants who got PR see high employment rates
In the first five years after landing or making a claim, privately sponsored refugees have the highest employment rates. This could be partially due to their sponsorship network, and because they are more likely to speak English or French upon landing in comparison to government assisted refugees.
Refugee claimants who got permanent residence reached near parity with privately sponsored refugees after four years. By year six they had the highest rates of employment.
Privately sponsored refugees reported highest income
Of those who were employed, income rose considerably for all study groups except for refugees who did not become permanent residents, though this group saw a moderate increase in income.
Privately sponsored refugees remained the top earners throughout the 13-year period, followed by refugees who became permanent residents. These sponsored refugees had an average income of over $35,000 after 11 years.
Government assisted refugees started off as the lowest earners.
Of those who collected social assistance, the average income per family member was between 4,000 and 6,000 after 13 years.