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Thursday, April 08, 2004


The C.D. Howe Institute has just published a short little paper on immigration by Carleton's Christopher Worswick; it's available in .pdf format here. Worswick suggests that recent cohorts of immigrants are earning less than previous cohorts after a similar number of years in the country, and blames a failure to properly assess education credentials and work experience.

I can't do justice to the paper, and you should read the whole thing (synopsis here), but I couldn't help but notice that it contained no explicit reference to the changing countries of origin among immigrants over the past twenty years. Here are the numbers for 1980, 1990 and 2000. There's a lot there, but here's what I notice: from 1980 to 2000, the percentage of immigrants from Europe went from 28.8% to 18.9%; from the US, 6.9% to 2.5%; from South America, 3.8% to 7.5%; from Africa (and the Middle East), 3% to 18%.

Now, I'm not making any judgement on the relative worth of immigrant origins; in fact, I happen to support as open an immigration policy as possible given security concerns. But there clearly seems to be a shift towards the global 'south', and from 'developed' to 'developing' regions. Isn't it possible that this shift in immigrant-origin has something to do with the failure of recent cohorts to exploit their educational credentials and work experience in the Canadian market?

Posted by David Mader on April 8, 2004 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink


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One interesting explanation of this phenomenon I've heard is that when an independent immigrant comes in (high education, English / French language ability, strong work experience) they usually bring family members with them. But an immigrant from, say, Sweden may well be single and unattached, or at most will have a spouse and one or two children. An immigrant with the same qualifications from India draws his spouse and large number of children, parents, siblings, etc., who all come in as "family class" immigrants and don't have to meet as rigorous standards. So a big part of the answer here would be being far more strict on who can get in as a family class immigrant (say, limited to spouse and dependent children), and thus ensure a higher proportion of independent immigrants.

Posted by: Mark Cameron | 2004-04-08 10:47:18 PM

Here's an opinion piece on the matter of immigration, skills (linguistic and otherwise), with pertinent observations:


Posted by: Will S. | 2004-05-05 12:54:17 AM

I think there are too many imigrants taking over my loved country. We should put them in deportation camps. Ok so some of them die. They would die anyway. We don't feed them they will want to leave.

Posted by: jack kendrick | 2005-12-26 7:19:04 AM

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