Section 2

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Immigration is an increasingly important component of population growth in Canada, with over 200,000 immigrants arriving in Canada each year. According to a report by Statistics Canada on the foreign-born population, immigrants were responsible for more than two-thirds (69%) of the population growth that occurred between 2001 and 2006 (Statistics Canada 2007).

Unlike the waves of immigrants who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s, those arriving in Canada since the 1970s have possessed relatively high educational levels, making an enormous contribution to the pool of individuals in Canada with postsecondary qualifications (Reitz 2007).

Upon their arrival however, many immigrants initially face difficulties finding employment related to their field of study as well as finding jobs that pay relatively high wages. As observed by Boudarbat and Chernoff (2009), if one of the main functions of education, obtained either inside or outside the country, is to provide skills that will be used in subsequent employment, then it would be an inefficient use of resources, for both individuals and for society as a whole, not to use their education in their jobs.

The 'successful' integration of immigrants in the Canadian labour market is of interest to the Canadian public and to current and potential immigrants, alike. While different measures can be used to assess what would be considered a 'successful' integration for these immigrants, the present report focuses exclusively on the following two positive employment outcomes: 1) working in an occupation corresponding to their field of study or in an occupation requiring similar or higher skill levels, and 2) having earnings at or above the national median earnings calculated for the occupation corresponding best to their field of study. The source of data and the methodology used to assess these two employment outcomes are presented in Section 3.

Sections 4 and 5 present a profile of internationally-educated paid workers and focus on the different characteristics and determinants more closely associated with an easier integration in the Canadian labour market: How likely are they to be working in their field of study or in an equivalent occupation? What is their likelihood of having employment earnings at or above the median level of earnings associated with the occupation corresponding best to their field of study? Different aspects are taken into account when examining these labour market outcomes. These include the time elapsed since landing, region of education, type of credential, as well as diverse socio-demographic characteristics such as sex, age group, marital status, presence of children, province, territory and area of residence, language ability, and visible minority status. Results for internationally-educated immigrant paid workers are compared to their counterparts with a postsecondary credential earned in Canada and to the Canadian-born paid workers with a postsecondary education.

Given the current policy focus of the Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Program at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) on the first group of occupations identified in the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications at the time of undertaking this study, Section 6 presents similar results, but for these eight selected occupations. Finally, Section 7 presents a summary of the findings and some concluding remarks.

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