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A Quarter of Canada’s Workforce are Immigrants

Nearly 25% of Canada’s working population were born overseas and more than half of those are highly educated holding at least a bachelor’s degree.

A Quarter Of Canada’S Workforce Are Immigrants

Canada’s latest Census data, released on Tuesday, showed that immigrants accounted for 23.8 percent of Canadian workers in 2016, up from 21.2 percent in 2006. During that same period, Canada introduced major changes to its immigration system to address skilled labour shortages, namely the introduction of the Express Entry system in 2015.

Immigrants are Educated

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The data shows that four in 10 immigrants aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 25 percent of people in same age range who were born in Canada. The number was even higher for recent immigrants who had arrived in the five years prior to the 2016 census, with more than half attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among that group, women were more likely than men to have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Immigrants are also more than twice as likely to hold a master’s degree or Ph.D. as the Canadian-born population. Among immigrants aged 25 to 64, 11.3 percent had a master’s or doctorate degree compared to just five percent of those born in Canada. The number is even higher among immigrants who arrived in Canada over the last five years, with 16.7 percent holding a master’s or doctorate degree.

Education is a key qualification under the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and international post-secondary students studying in Canada are beginning to benefit from new programs that make it easier for them to integrate into the Canadian labour market after their studies and eventually gain permanent residence.

Job Trends

In terms of studies, 81.4 percent of Canadians aged 24 to 64 had a degree in fields such as education, communications, justice, health, and others. Just over 18 percent graduated with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

Those in engineering and computer and information sciences were the most likely to work in a labour-market sector closely related to their training, with 7 in 10 working in science and technology occupations.

Distribution of Immigrants

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The Census showed that the workforce gains are even more impressive when looked at regionally: In 2016, immigrants represented half of all workers in the Toronto, Ontario, metropolitan region. Vancouver, British Columbia, had the second-highest proportion of immigrants in its labour force at 43.2 percent, followed by Calgary, Alberta, at 32.5 percent.

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