Study Finds Work Experience and Education Positively Affected New Immigrant Earnings

February 19, 2016

By Kelsey Davis, Kelowna Now

A new study from Statistics Canada has found that changes in immigration selection policies significantly altered the characteristics of new immigrants, particularly when it came to education and work experience.

Statistics Canada found that during the 1990’s and 2000’s, rising levels of educational attainment and the increasing prevalence of Canadian work experience and education prior to coming to Canada had a positive impact on the earnings of newly landed immigrants.

According a new study, “Changing Immigrant Characteristics and Entry Earnings,” over half of the male immigrants who landed in Canada in 1999 had a university degree, while 42 per cent of female immigrants held degrees coming to Canada the same year.

These higher education levels were associated with an increase of $2,400 increase in the average annual earnings of men in 1999, as compared to what immigrant men would have made 10 years earlier.

Among women, an increase of $1,300 in average annual income was associated with higher levels of educational attainment.

In the 2000’s, a growing number of new immigrants had some Canadian work experience prior to arriving.

In 1999, only 15 per cent of new immigrant women had Canadian work experience, compared to the 31 per cent in 2010. For men, 1999 saw only 16 per cent of male immigrants arriving with Canadian work experience, compared to the 29 per cent in 2010.

Due to the greater prevalence of new immigrants arriving with Canadian work experience, average annual earnings rose to $4,600 for men and $2,800 for women.

The study did note that while education and work experience were positive factors to increasing annual earnings for new immigrants, other less understood factors reduced earnings over the same period, meaning entry earnings for new immigrants were held relatively constant throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s.

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