Economic Integration of Immigrants in Canada

The economic integration of immigrants, a bedrock of immigration policy and a core expectation of newcomers and the receiving populace, has been  affected by a confluence of factors that have made it more difficult for immigrants to find employment commensurate with their aptitudes and experience. As a result, questions have arisen concerning Canada’s integration capacity, the quality of the welcome extended to newcomers, and the efficacy of the public machinery for admitting immigrants and producing economic inclusiveness.  In response, immigration policy has shifted, favouring newcomers chosen for their economic aptitudes.  The institutional machinery regulating admissions has also changed, assigning a much larger role to employers and to organizations linked to newcomers’ employment prospects.  Provincial and territorial involvement has also shifted along complementary lines.  How the various dynamics will play out remains to be seen. Important questions exist regarding the capacities and interests of the major players, particularly employers. As well, the efficiency and effectiveness of the new systems and their effects on applicant interest, on critical immigrant economic outcomes, and on uptake by key populations are unclear.


A number of potential research topics follow:

  • Roles that employers and private sector institutions might be willing to undertake in respect of newcomer selection and settlement (that are consistent with their economic interests), as well as inducements that might elicit greater employer and private sector involvement
  • Impact of the revised selection criteria and the Express Entry system on the volume, composition and successful negotiation of the processing system, including by students, Francophones, and skilled tradespeople
  • Impact of the anticipated compositional and qualitative changes in immigration on the labour market performance of immigrants overall, and selected workers in particular
  • Impact of various factors – including immigration class, immigrant characteristics, situational and community factors, job attributes, services, and employer supports – on workplace integration and retention
  • Impact of the Express Entry system and revised selection policies on provincial migration flows generally and provincial nominee programs in particular
  • Impact of the parent and grandparent restrictions on the labour market behaviour of recent immigrants and on the pool of financial capital that sponsored immigrants bring to Canada and make available for settlement and investment
  • Impact of transnational networks on the economic behaviour of migrants and their families, including study, investment, and emigration