Prospective immigrants younger, better educated, survey finds
May 8, 2015
By Metro News |
Prospective immigrants to Canada are younger, better educated and starting their credential assessments sooner under immigration changes in recent years, a new survey finds.
According to World Education Services (WES), one of a handful of agencies Ottawa designated to evaluate immigrant credentials, 80 per cent of all its work last year was done for those who were abroad, compared to 16 per cent in 2012.
The study — offering a first glimpse into the impact on immigrant profiles under recent policy changes — surveyed 28,851 prospective immigrants referred by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. About 3,200 completed the questionnaire.
The survey found that 95 per cent of the would-be immigrants were between 25 and 44, compared to just 84 per cent before 2013.
Fifty-nine per cent of respondents said their highest level of education is a bachelor’s degree, while 42 per cent had a master’s degree and 3 per cent had a doctoral degree, said the report to be released Friday.
In comparison, prior to 2012 when the mandatory educational credential assessment process was introduced, only 34 per cent of the respondents had an undergraduate degree; 18 per cent had a master’s; and 5 per cent, a PhD.
“Highly skilled immigrants did not want to wait six years to make a move. Those whose skills are in demand are a highly mobile group,” said WES director Tim Owen, adding the cream of the crop would rather go somewhere like Australia where processing was faster.
Although the percentage of newcomers settling in Ontario has been on a gradual decline from half of the total immigrant population down to 40 over the last decade, the WES survey found that 47 per cent of the respondents expressed their intent to set down roots in the process.
For other destinations, 22 per cent picked Alberta; 12 per cent, British Columbia and 4 per cent, Nova Scotia.
While most respondents were positive with their employment outlook in Canada, with one in five confident they would find jobs in their field in one to three years, they also identified the lack of Canadian work experience and insufficient job market information as potential barriers.
Ninety per cent of people said they wanted to immigrate to Canada for a “better standard of living,” ahead of the 70 per cent who said they were looking for a better career and job prospects.
Owen said he was surprised only 11 per cent of respondents were concerned insufficient English or French language skills would hinder their prospects because studies over the years have identified language barrier as a top challenge for newcomer employment.
In January, Ottawa rolled out the new Express Entry point system that weighs favourably for immigration applicants already with jobs in Canada.
Owen said WES has already noticed a 66 per cent drop in credential assessment requests from overseas and a 20 per cent increase from within Canada in the first four months of 2015.