Five things to know about social and economic outcomes of immigrants to Canada

OTTAWA - Are immigrants performing well socially and in the workforce after arriving in Canada?

An internal study by the federal Immigration Department, obtained by The Canadian press through access-to-information, offers a snapshot of economic and social outcomes of immigrants from all programs, including economic, family-class and refugee streams.

The report identified some interesting trends:

— The longer an immigrant is in Canada, the better off they are. Annual incomes of highly-skilled workers surpass the Canadian average soon after arrival and increase over time. In fact, earnings of all categories of immigrants increase with time. However, immigrants of non-economic programs and spouses and dependents of economic immigrants take longer to establish themselves economically. Refugees take the longest.

— Economic outcomes are different depending on which program immigrants use to come to Canada. Economic-class immigrants do the best. They have similar or higher earnings at entry than the Canadian average. A higher percentage of economic immigrants are also working as managers or professionals. Family-class immigrants and refugees, meanwhile, work more often in jobs requiring only high-school education or on-the-job training. Their earnings are below the Canadian average.

— Immigrants who become citizens have a stronger sense of belonging in Canada than Canadian-born residents and immigrants who are not yet citizens. However, native-born Canadians enjoy higher levels of social support and connections, including a stronger sense of being integrated in society.

— Recent immigrants have better health outcomes and lower risk of developing several chronic diseases. But the longer they stay in Canada, the more this benefit declines. Eventually, established immigrants' health outcomes will match those of Canadian-born residents. Refugees have greater risk for physical and mental health problems.

— A majority of Canadians say they support current immigration levels but that support drops when they're informed how many immigrants actually come to Canada every year. Internal advice to government from the Immigration Department warns of a "tipping point" in public opinion that could undermine the consensus in support of immigration. "Engagement with the Canadian public is necessary; however, any high profile debate will need to be carefully managed," the internal report says.

GEORGE: Scheer silliness: Is it politics or simply business as usual?
  OPINION The issue of sovereignty came up in a big way this week on the national stage. It was brought to us by Andrew Scheer. He has created a paper tiger that he hopes will energize his base. And the media has

Top News