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Recent Immigrants in Canada Finding Jobs that Match Their Education

Recent immigrants to Canada are now finding jobs that match their educational qualifications, marking a positive shift since 2016. This improvement is particularly significant for newcomers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a Statistics Canada report by Christoph Schimmele and Feng Hou.

The report examines the economic performance of immigrants in Canada from 2001 to 2021. It highlights that those with higher education levels are more adaptable to labor market changes and experience greater growth in employment earnings.

Historically, many immigrants faced an “education-occupation mismatch,” where their jobs did not match their educational credentials. From 2001 to 2016, Canada saw an increase of 1.7 million workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

In contrast, younger Canadians experienced a modest decrease in their mismatch rate during the same period.

The study found notable improvements post-2016. Employment growth from 2016 to 2021 was more concentrated in high-skilled occupations for recent immigrants and younger Canadian-born workers with degrees. 

The number of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher grew by 15.9 percent during this period. Their employment in high-skilled occupations increased by 17.8 percent, indicating a positive trend for the overall Canadian workforce.

Despite these advancements, many recent immigrants with degrees were still in mismatched occupations as of 2021. The rate of education-occupation match for recent immigrants was lower than 20 years ago. The gap between recent immigrants and young Canadian workers was larger in 2021 compared to 2001. 

The overeducation rate varied significantly by region of origin, with 54.7 percent being the highest among immigrants from Southeast Asia and 7.3 percent being the lowest among Northern Europeans. 

A considerable proportion of Southeast Asian immigrants were admitted as caregivers, a subgroup with an overeducation rate of 69.2 percent. 

However, since 2016, overeducation rates have fallen across all regions, with the largest decrease among Southeast Asian immigrants, dropping from 35.6 percent to 26.9 percent. Other regions experiencing declines include Central and South America (30.0 to 23.9 percent) and East Asia (22.5 to 17.6 percent).

These findings highlight a crucial improvement in the employment landscape for recent immigrants to Canada, reflecting better alignment between their educational qualifications and job opportunities.

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