By Isabella Mira, Queen’s Law & Economics
Canada is a country built by immigrants. It is known for its multiculturalist approach to welcoming these newcomers and uses a points system to select immigrants. This method of screening has received much praise from economists and policy-makers alike for its ability to identify applicants that will answer the varying demands of the labor market. As an immigrant myself, this initial description is both reassuring and inspiring.
Yet a component often forgotten is that attracting and screening immigrants is only half the battle. Once they arrive, it is just as important to ensure immigrants’ skills and assets are properly integrated into the labour market and the Canadian economy. Reports on Canada’s immigration policy reflects this gap in analysis by offering both positive and negative accounts of immigrant success in Canada. Statistics and articles such as OECD report a positive picture by stating that employment of foreign-born Canadian citizens has increased since 2008, and in 2012 Canada had the third highest employment rate for immigrants among the OECD member countries (Canada, 2014). In sharp contrast, articles by Ley and Smith (2008) discuss extensive immigrant poverty in gateway cities, Bloemraad (2006) speaks to non-economic factors such as possession of cultural knowledge as barriers to immigrant success, and Derwing et al. (2000) present the now-familiar issue of foreign credential recognition. These conflicting accounts invite questions as to the true success of Canada’s immigration policy.
In my M.A. essay, I propose an approach to reconcile these different accounts of immigrant labour market integration. I posit that the decision to ascend to citizenship acts as a signaling tool for employers.Read More »