Over the years, the wages of immigrants in Canada have been on the rise. Even in cases where they are still yet to reach the level of those of Canada-born workers, they are still quite impressive. This is particularly noticeable among immigrants who have either studied or worked in Canada.
According to a recent study by Statistics Canada, in 2019, immigrants who had become permanent residents of Canada in 2018 earned a median wage of $31,900. This figure is the highest ever recorded among all groups of immigrants who have moved to Canada since the year 1981. It is even higher (by about 4%) than what the 2017 immigrants earned in 2018.
But as great as this is, this figure is still around 18% less than what Canadian-born workers earn. In 2019 alone, these workers had a median wage of $38,800. But when it comes to economic-class immigration, things are a little different. For one, the principal applicants of the economic-class immigration programs earned more than Canadian-born workers in 2019.
Within a year of them landing in the country in 2018, these immigrants earned a median wage of $43,600 – a figure that’s 12% higher than the 2019 Canadian median wage of $38,800. This figure is also 3.8% higher than the median wage earned by their counterparts that landed in the country in 2017 – $42,000.
Generally, the high wage of economic-class principal applicants can be attributed to the conditions they are required to fulfill as part of their selections. These conditions usually ensure that these immigrants can fit in Canada’s labor market and even contribute positively to the economy.
For instance, most of these immigrants have at least a high-school diploma – something that can help them get a high-paying job. Other factors that can increase the earnings of immigrants include:
Immigrants who have worked in Canada usually get higher wages. This is particularly because it shows their mastery of the languages spoken in Canada and their knowledge of the country’s labor market. And Canadian experience isn’t just working experience – study experience or a mixture of both is great too.
In fact, immigrants who have both study and work experience have the highest median wages within a year of arriving in Canada. For instance, such immigrants who moved to Canada in 2018 had a median wage of $44,600 in 2019 – a figure that is substantially higher than the median wage of Canadian-born workers.
On the other hand, their counterparts who only had work-related experience had a median wage of $39,300. This is still higher than the median wage of Canadian-born workers. However, immigrants who only had study-related experience recorded the lowest median wage within a year of their arrival – $15,100.
There’s a silver lining though – in all 3 categories, immigrants who arrived in 2018 earned more in 2019 than those who arrived in 2017 earned in 2018.
While the earnings of both male and female immigrants increased from the date of their arrival in Canada, they did so in different ways. For one, among economic-class immigrants, women’s median wage was lower than that of men to begin with. On top of that, the men’s wages grew faster than those of women, further widening the wage gap between male and female immigrants, although Toronto leads the way for Female Professionals and women in business.
But this situation isn’t replicated in other immigration classes, particularly when it comes to refugees, economic dependents, and family-sponsored immigrants. In these cases, women’s wages start off at an even lower level. However, they grew faster than men’s wages, reducing the wage gap between the two genders over time.
To come up with these findings, the study used data from both male and female immigrants who arrived in Canada in 2009 and proceeded to work in the country for the next 10 years.
All the data used in the Statistics Canada study comes from the Longitudinal Immigration Database. This source is the only annual dataset in Canada that can help you understand the economic behavior of immigrants and temporary residents. Born through a partnership between the IRCC and Statistics Canada, it allows you to effectively link characteristics during admission to short and long–term economic outcomes.