ARCHIVED – The Labour Market Progression of the LSIC Immigrants

A Perspective from the Second Wave of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) – Two Years after Landing

Labour force statistics varied by different characteristics of immigrants

Skilled worker principal applicants had the highest employment rate while refugees made the most gains in employment since last interview

Though the employment rate differed across immigration categories, all immigration categories made some employment gains.[Note 6] Two years after landing, skilled worker principal applicants had the highest employment (72%) among all immigration categories. Skilled worker spouses and dependants and family class followed with employment of 52% and 49%, respectively. Although refugees still had the lowest employment (44%), this group of immigrants had made the biggest gains in entering the labour market, given employment of 21% six months after arrival.

In contrast, at two years after landing, there were no noticeable differences in unemployment across the major immigration categories. Skilled worker principal applicants had the lowest unemployment rate (24%) while refugees had the highest unemployment rate (40%), which was higher than the rates of skilled worker spouses and dependants (33%) and family class (30%). Despite showing gains compared to the first wave at six months after arrival,[Note 7] high unemployment rates two years after landing indicate that recent immigrants still faced barriers to finding employment.

Table 7: Labour force statistics, by immigration category — Wave 2
  Immigration Category
Family  Class Skilled Workers (PA) Skilled Workers (S&D) Refugees Others All Immigrants
Total number of immigrants 43,131 55,976 40,812 9,811 11,072 160,801
Participation rate1 70% 94% 78% 73% 72% 81%
Employment rate2 49% 72% 52% 44% 52% 58%
Labour force 30,352 52,817 32,017 7,134 7,993 130,312
Unemployment rate3 30% 24% 33% 40% 27% 29%

1, 2, 3 For definitions, see definition box at page 1.

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

Females faced greater obstacles when entering labour market and immigrants of prime working age performed better

Results by gender from the second wave of the LSIC showed similar patterns to the first wave: namely, female immigrants faced greater obstacles entering the labour market and finding employment. The participation rate for females (72%) was lower than that for their male counterparts (90%), and the employment rate of 48% for females was less than that of males (68%).

Table 8: Labour force statistics, by gender and age groups — Wave 2
  Participation Rate Employment Rate Unemployment Rate
Gender
Male 90% 68% 24%
Female 72% 48% 34%
Age groups
15-24 80% 50% 39%
25-44 86% 63% 27%
45-64 75% 55% 27%
65 and over 20% 9% 55%

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

From a dynamic perspective, throughout the two years in Canada, female immigrants had worse labour market outcomes relative to males in terms of higher unemployment rate and lower employment rate at any point in time (Figure 1). Further, the gaps between the labour market statistics of male immigrants and females do not show a trend of convergence.

Figure 1: Weekly employment rate and unemployment rate, by gender — Wave 2

Weekly unemployment rate, by gender
Weekly unemployment rate, by gender
Weeks after landing Employment rate Unemployment rate
Male Female Male Female
0 0 0 100 100
1 7 4 93 96
2 12 7 88 93
3 17 10 83 90
4 21 12 79 88
5 26 15 74 85
6 30 18 70 82
7 33 20 67 80
8 36 22 64 78
9 39 25 61 75
10 42 27 58 73
11 44 29 56 71
12 46 31 54 69
13 47 33 53 67
14 49 35 51 65
15 51 37 49 63
16 52 38 48 62
17 53 39 47 61
18 54 40 46 60
19 55 41 45 59
20 56 42 44 58
21 57 43 43 57
22 58 44 42 56
23 59 45 41 55
24 60 46 40 54
25 60 47 40 53
26 61 48 39 52
27 62 48 38 52
28 63 49 37 51
29 63 50 37 50
30 64 51 36 49
31 64 51 36 49
32 64 52 36 48
33 65 52 35 48
34 65 52 35 48
35 65 52 35 48
36 66 53 34 47
37 66 53 34 47
38 66 54 34 46
39 67 54 33 46
40 67 55 33 45
41 67 55 33 45
42 67 55 33 45
43 67 55 33 45
44 67 56 33 44
45 68 56 32 44
46 68 57 32 43
47 68 57 32 43
48 69 57 31 43
49 69 57 31 43
50 70 57 31 43
51 70 57 30 43
52 70 58 30 42
53 71 58 29 42
54 71 58 29 42
55 71 59 29 41
56 71 59 29 41
57 72 60 28 40
58 72 60 28 40
59 72 60 28 40
60 72 60 28 40
61 72 60 28 40
62 72 60 28 40
63 72 61 28 39
64 73 61 27 39
65 73 61 27 39
66 73 61 27 39
67 73 62 27 38
68 73 62 27 38
69 74 62 26 38
70 74 62 26 38
71 74 62 26 38
72 74 62 26 38
73 74 63 26 37
74 74 63 26 37
75 74 63 26 37
76 74 63 26 37
77 75 63 25 37
78 75 63 25 37
79 75 63 25 37
80 75 63 25 37
81 75 63 25 37
82 75 63 25 37
83 75 63 25 37
84 75 64 25 36
85 76 64 24 36
86 76 64 24 36
87 76 64 24 36
88 76 64 24 36
89 76 64 24 36
90 76 64 24 36
91 76 64 24 36
92 76 65 24 35
93 76 65 24 35
94 76 65 24 35
95 76 65 24 35
96 76 65 24 35
97 76 65 24 35
98 76 65 24 35
99 76 65 24 35
100 76 65 24 35
101 76 65 24 35
102 76 65 24 35
103 76 65 24 35
104 76 65 24 35
105 76 66 24 34
106 77 66 23 34
107 77 66 23 34
108 77 66 23 34
109 76 67 24 33

There are marginal differences among labour force statistics for major age groups. However, immigrants in the prime working-age group of 25 to 44 years old had the highest participation and employment rates, as well as the lowest unemployment rate at the second interview.

All the age groups except those 65 and over, had made some gains in the labour market in terms of reduced unemployment.[Note 8] Immigrants aged 65 and over were facing greater difficulties finding a job as compared to the first wave results.

Newcomers in the Prairies were doing better while those in Quebec faced a tougher labour market

Immigrants going to the Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) had higher employment rates and lower unemployment rates than their counterparts living in other provinces. This result is consistent with the findings of the LSIC first wave.

Table 9: Labour force statistics, by region of residence and Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) — Wave 2

Region of residence in Canada Participation rate Employment rate Unemployment rate All Immigrants (number)
Atlantic 81% 52% 36%E 1,265
Quebec 76% 45% 40% 25,254
Ontario 82% 61% 26% 88,870
Manitoba 89% 70% 22% 3,271
Saskatchewan 88% 62% F 598
Alberta 87% 66% 24% 13,785
British Columbia 79% 55% 30% 27,739

CMA of residence1 Participation rate Employment rate Unemployment rate All Immigrants (number)
Montréal 76% 44% 42% 21,986
Ottawa - Gatineau 78% 54% 30% 5,705
Toronto 82% 61% 26% 70,695
Calgary 87% 64% 26% 8,123
Edmonton 87% 67% 23% 4,457
Vancouver 79% 55% 30% 23,974

1 Based on 2001 Census. To form a census metropolitan area, the area must consist of one or more adjacent municipalities situated around a major urban core, which must have a population of at least 100,000.

E Use with caution.

F: Too unreliable to be released.

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

Labour market statistics by Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) show a similar pattern as those at the provincial level. Compared with the other CMAs, those immigrants living in Edmonton had lower unemployment and higher employment. Among bigger CMAs, immigrants living in Toronto had moderately lower unemployment and higher employment than immigrants living in other major CMAs such as Vancouver and Montréal.

After two years in Canada, immigrants living in Montréal or elsewhere in the province of Quebec faced greater challenges when participating in the labour market; employment rates at different points in time were lower relative to those of other CMAs or provinces. For example, after immigrants in Quebec had been in the country for 6 months, nearly one third (32%) of them had been employed, which was the lowest rate among all the provinces and 12 percentage points below the national employment rate of all LSIC immigrants. At two years after landing, those living in Quebec increased their employment rate to 45% from 32% at 6 months after arrival, which represented the greatest gains but remained the lowest rate among provinces and well below the national level of 58%.

Immigrants from North America, Oceania and Philippines made greatest gains in the labour market

Using employment rates at certain points of time as benchmarks, it is possible to follow the labour market progress of LSIC immigrants from different world regions. Immigrants from Europe, for example, saw their employment rate rise from 50% at six months after arrival to 68% at two years after landing. Table 10 indicates that labour force statistics for newcomers from different world areas varied significantly. For instance, employment rates at two years after landing ranged from 44% for those from Middle East to 79% for those from Oceania and Australia. After the same period since landing, immigrants from Africa had the highest unemployment rate (38%) while those from North America had the lowest (12%).

Table 10: Labour force statistics, by major source areas — Wave 2
Place of birth - world regions Participation rate Employment rate Unemployment rate
North America 78% 68% 12%
Europe 86% 68% 21%
Asia 80% 56% 30%
Middle East 68% 45% 34%
Africa 82% 51% 38%
Caribbean and Guyana 85% 66% 22%
South and Central America 86% 64% 26%
Oceania and Australia 89% 79% F

F: Too unreliable to be released.

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

The labour market outcomes of immigrants from the top ten source countries differed considerably (Figure 2). Newcomers from the Philippines made the greatest gains in the labour market: two years after their landing 90% of them had participated in the labour force, 77% were employed and the unemployment rate of this group was 14%. Immigrants from Romania also did well in terms of their employment rate (72%) and lower-than-average unemployment rate (21%). In contrast, newcomers from the leading source country, China, had relatively worse labour force statistics: an employment rate of 49% and an unemployment rate of 38%.

Compared with situations at 6 months after landing, immigrants from all major source countries made progress in the labour market. Among immigrants from the top ten source countries, those from South Korea, Iran, and Romania had made relatively more labour market progress in terms of significantly increased participation rates and employment rates, and sharply reduced unemployment rates.

Figure 2: Participation rate by major source countries (Wave 1 and Wave2)

Figure 2: Participation rate by major source countries (Wave 1 and Wave2)
Major source countries Participation rate
Wave 1 Wave 2
China 69% 79%
India 80% 86%
Philippines 83% 90%
Pakistan 65% 74%
South Korea 51% 75%
Romania 80% 92%
Iran 57% 76%
Sri Lanka 55% 64%
Russia 66% 83%
Morocco 82% 81%

Figure 3: Employment rate by major source countries (Wave 1 and Wave 2)

Figure 3: Employment rate by major source countries (Wave 1 and Wave 2)
Major source countries Employment rate
Wave 1 Wave 2
China 38% 49%
India 58% 65%
Philippines 67% 77%
Pakistan 40% 50%
South Korea 24% 52%
Romania 51% 72%
Iran 27% 45%
Sri Lanka 38% 39%
Russia 44% 59%
Morocco 27% 33%

Figure 4: Unemployment rate by major source countries (Wave 1 and Wave 2)

Figure 4: Unemployment rate by major source countries (Wave 1 and Wave 2)
Major source countries Unemployment rate
Wave 1 Wave 2
China 44% 38%
India 27% 24%
Philippines 19% 14%
Pakistan 39% 33%
South Korea 53% 31%
Romania 36% 21%
Iran 53% 40%
Sri Lanka 31% 39%
Russia 32% 29%
Morocco 68% 59%

The results from Wave 2 support the premise that knowledge of official languages plays a critical role for participation in the labour market. At the time of the Wave 2 interview, 75% of immigrants, who could converse in at least one official language, had participated in the labour force versus only 55% of those with no official language knowledge. The pattern holds for the employment and unemployment rates. Newcomers who could converse in at least one official language had a higher employment rate (54%) and a lower unemployment rate (26%) than those who could not converse in either language (33% and 40% respectively).

Table 11: Labour force statistics, by knowledge of official languages — Wave 2
Knowledge of official languages Participation rate Employment rate Unemployment rate
At least one official language 75% 54% 26%
English only 85% 63% 26%
French only 71% 39% 46%
English and French 83% 57% 32%
No official language 55% 33% 40%

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

Compared with Wave 1 results, the role that official languages play in the labour market outcomes of immigrants is evident (Figure 3). Immigrants who could converse in at least one official language made greater gains than those without official language skills, which are reflected by bigger steps in increasing employment and reducing unemployment in the second wave period. When looking at unemployment rates at the time of the Wave 2 interview, unemployment had risen for those immigrants who could not converse in either official language (40%) compared to that at six months after arrival (38%).

Figure 5: Employment rate by knowledge of official languages Wave 1 vs. Wave 2

Figure 5: Employment rate by knowledge of official languages Wave 1 vs. Wave 2
Knowledge of the official languages Employment rate
Wave 1 Wave 2
At least one official language 48% 54%
English only 49% 63%
French only 28% 39%
English and French 43% 57%
No official language 28% 33%

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 1 (2001) and Wave 2 (2003)

Figure 6: Unemployment rate by knowledge of official languages Wave 1 vs. Wave 2

Figure 6: Unemployment rate by knowledge of official languages Wave 1 vs. Wave 2
Knowledge of the official languages Unemployment rate
Wave 1 Wave 2
At least one official language 37% 26%
English only 35% 26%
French only 54% 46%
English and French 45% 32%
No official language 38% 40%

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 1 (2001) and Wave 2 (2003)

Employment rates increased over time for all immigration categories

Despite various challenges in the labour market, immigrants in all immigration categories made progress over time in terms of employment. The charts below (Figure 4 and Figure 5) show employment rates and unemployment rates by immigration category on a week-by-week basis.

A large number of immigrants found employment during the initial integration period. At six months after landing (26 weeks), the employment rate for all LSIC immigrants was 45%, and one year after arrival (52 weeks) this rate increased to 52%, and reached 58% by two years after landing (104 weeks).

Among major immigration categories, skilled worker principal applicants had the highest employment rate at any point in time throughout the first two years in Canada. This is perhaps not surprising given that this group of immigrants is selected based on their labour market attributes. It is worth noting that the refugee employment rate showed some convergence towards that of other immigration categories; the weekly employment rate of this group, though still lower relative to other categories, showed a steady upward trend. The LSIC Wave 3 will provide further information on this “catch-up” observed in refugee labour market outcomes. In contrast, the employment rate for immigrants in the family class showed only minimal progress after the initial gains in the first 6 months: the employment rate for family class immigrants was surpassed by that for skilled worker spouses and dependants by the second year after landing.

Figure 7: Weekly probability of being employed, by immigration category — Wave 2

Figure 7: Weekly probability of being employed, by immigration category --- Wave 2
Weeks after landing Family SWPA SWS&D Refugees Others All immigrants
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 3 9 2 1 6 5
2 7 13 4 2 8 8
3 10 17 7 4 10 11
4 13 20 9 7 13 14
5 17 24 11 7 16 17
6 20 28 13 9 18 20
7 22 31 15 9 20 22
8 24 34 17 11 21 25
9 26 37 19 11 22 27
10 28 40 20 12 24 29
11 29 42 22 13 25 31
12 30 44 24 15 25 32
13 32 46 25 15 26 34
14 33 48 27 15 26 35
15 34 50 28 16 27 36
16 36 51 28 18 27 38
17 36 53 29 18 27 38
18 37 54 30 18 28 39
19 37 55 31 18 28 40
20 38 56 32 19 29 41
21 39 57 32 19 30 42
22 40 58 33 20 31 42
23 40 58 34 21 31 43
24 41 59 34 22 32 44
25 41 59 35 22 33 44
26 42 60 36 23 33 45
27 42 61 36 23 33 46
28 42 62 37 23 34 46
29 43 62 38 23 35 46
30 43 63 38 24 36 47
31 43 63 38 25 36 47
32 43 64 39 25 36 48
33 43 64 39 25 36 48
34 44 64 39 25 36 48
35 44 65 39 26 37 48
36 44 65 39 26 38 49
37 44 66 39 26 38 49
38 44 66 40 26 38 49
39 44 66 40 26 39 50
40 44 66 41 27 40 50
41 44 66 41 27 40 50
42 44 66 41 28 40 50
43 44 66 42 29 41 50
44 45 67 43 28 41 50
45 45 67 43 28 41 51
46 45 68 43 28 41 51
47 45 67 43 28 41 51
48 45 68 43 29 41 51
49 45 68 43 30 41 52
50 45 68 44 31 42 52
51 45 69 45 31 42 52
52 45 69 45 31 43 52
53 45 69 45 32 43 53
54 46 69 45 32 43 53
55 46 69 46 33 44 53
56 46 70 46 33 44 53
57 46 70 46 34 44 54
58 47 70 46 35 45 54
59 47 70 46 35 45 54
60 46 70 46 35 45 54
61 46 71 47 36 45 54
62 47 70 47 35 45 54
63 47 71 47 36 45 54
64 47 71 47 36 46 55
65 47 71 47 37 47 55
66 47 71 47 37 47 55
67 47 72 47 37 48 55
68 48 71 48 38 48 55
69 48 71 48 38 48 55
70 47 71 48 38 49 56
71 47 71 49 38 49 56
72 48 71 49 39 49 56
73 48 71 49 39 50 56
74 48 72 49 39 50 56
75 48 72 49 40 49 56
76 47 72 49 40 49 56
77 48 72 49 39 50 56
78 48 72 49 40 50 56
79 48 72 49 40 50 56
80 48 72 49 40 50 56
81 48 72 49 40 51 56
82 49 72 49 40 51 56
83 49 73 49 40 50 57
84 49 73 49 40 50 57
85 49 73 49 41 51 57
86 49 73 49 41 50 57
87 49 73 49 41 51 57
88 49 73 49 41 51 57
89 49 73 49 41 51 57
90 49 73 49 41 51 57
91 49 73 50 42 51 57
92 49 73 50 42 51 57
93 49 73 50 42 52 57
94 49 73 50 42 52 58
95 49 73 50 43 52 58
96 49 73 50 43 52 58
97 49 73 51 43 52 58
98 49 73 50 43 53 58
99 49 73 50 44 53 58
100 49 73 51 44 53 58
101 49 73 51 44 53 58
102 49 73 51 44 53 58
103 49 73 51 45 53 58
104 49 73 51 45 53 58
105 49 73 52 45 54 58
106 49 73 52 45 54 58
107 49 73 52 45 53 58
108 50 73 52 45 53 58
109 50 73 52 45 53 58

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

At six months after arrival (26 weeks), the unemployment rate for all LSIC immigrants was 45%, and at one year after landing (52 weeks) the rate fell to 35% and further dropped to 29% by two years after arrival. Weekly unemployment rates by immigration category exhibit a pattern consistent with the employment rates (Figure 5). Refugees’ unemployment rates lowered quickly, reflected by the steeper slope of their weekly unemployment rates curve. The unemployment rates of skilled worker spouses and dependants were second highest among all immigration categories after the initial two years.

Compared to the evolving pattern of employment rates, unemployment rates for different immigration categories show greater signs of convergence, especially in the second year in Canada.

Figure 8: Weekly probability of being unemployed, by immigration category — Wave 2

Figure 8: Weekly probability of being unemployed, by immigration category --- Wave 2
Weeks after landing Family Class Skilled Workers (PA) Skilled Workers (S&D) Refugees Others All Immigrants
0 100 100 100 100 100 100
1 96 91 98 99 92 94
2 91 86 95 97 88 90
3 86 83 92 94 86 86
4 81 79 88 91 83 83
5 77 75 86 90 78 79
6 73 71 83 88 75 76
7 70 68 81 87 72 73
8 67 65 78 86 71 70
9 64 61 76 85 70 67
10 61 58 74 84 67 65
11 60 56 72 82 66 63
12 57 54 70 80 65 61
13 55 52 68 80 65 59
14 53 49 67 79 64 57
15 52 48 65 78 63 56
16 50 46 65 76 62 54
17 49 45 63 76 62 53
18 48 43 62 76 62 52
19 47 42 61 75 62 51
20 46 41 60 74 61 50
21 45 40 59 74 59 49
22 44 39 59 73 57 48
23 44 39 57 72 57 48
24 42 38 56 70 56 46
25 42 38 56 69 55 46
26 41 37 54 69 54 45
27 40 36 54 68 54 44
28 40 35 53 68 53 43
29 39 34 52 68 51 43
30 39 34 52 66 51 42
31 39 33 51 66 51 42
32 39 33 51 66 51 41
33 39 32 51 66 50 41
34 38 32 51 66 50 41
35 38 32 51 65 49 41
36 38 31 50 65 48 40
37 37 31 50 64 47 40
38 37 30 49 64 47 39
39 37 30 48 64 46 39
40 37 30 48 63 45 39
41 37 30 48 63 45 39
42 37 30 47 61 44 38
43 37 30 47 60 44 38
44 37 29 46 61 44 38
45 37 29 45 61 43 37
46 37 28 45 61 43 37
47 36 29 45 61 43 37
48 36 28 45 60 43 37
49 36 28 45 59 43 36
50 36 27 44 58 42 36
51 36 27 43 58 41 36
52 36 27 43 57 41 35
53 36 27 42 56 40 35
54 35 27 42 56 40 35
55 35 27 42 54 39 34
56 34 26 41 54 39 34
57 34 26 41 53 39 34
58 34 26 41 52 38 34
59 34 26 41 52 37 33
60 34 25 41 52 37 33
61 34 25 40 51 37 33
62 34 25 41 51 37 33
63 33 25 40 50 37 33
64 33 24 40 50 36 33
65 33 24 40 49 35 32
66 33 24 40 49 34 32
67 33 24 40 49 33 32
68 32 24 39 48 33 32
69 32 24 39 47 33 32
70 33 24 38 47 32 31
71 33 25 38 47 32 31
72 32 25 38 47 32 31
73 32 24 38 46 31 31
74 32 24 38 46 31 31
75 32 24 38 45 31 31
76 33 24 37 45 32 31
77 32 24 37 46 31 31
78 32 23 38 45 31 30
79 32 24 38 45 30 31
80 32 24 38 46 30 31
81 31 23 38 45 29 30
82 31 23 38 45 30 30
83 31 23 38 45 31 30
84 31 23 37 45 31 30
85 31 23 38 44 30 30
86 31 22 38 44 30 30
87 30 22 38 44 30 30
88 31 22 37 44 29 30
89 30 22 37 43 29 29
90 31 22 37 44 30 29
91 30 23 37 42 29 29
92 31 23 36 42 29 29
93 30 23 36 42 28 29
94 30 22 36 42 28 29
95 30 22 36 41 28 29
96 31 22 36 41 28 29
97 31 23 36 41 27 29
98 31 23 36 41 27 29
99 31 23 36 40 27 29
100 31 23 35 39 27 29
101 30 23 35 39 26 29
102 30 23 35 39 27 29
103 30 23 35 39 26 29
104 30 23 35 39 26 29
105 30 23 34 39 25 28
106 30 23 34 38 25 28
107 30 23 33 39 26 28
108 30 23 34 38 26 28
109 29 23 34 38 27 28

Source: Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada – Wave 2 (2003)

Notes

6 From the results of the first wave, at six months after arrival, the employment rates by immigration category were: family class (39%), skilled workers (PA) (60%), skilled workers (S&D) (36%), refugees (21%) and all immigrants (44%).

7 From the results of the first wave, the unemployment rates by immigration category were: family class (34%), skilled workers (PA) (34%), skilled workers (S&D) (43%), refugees (51%) and all immigrants (37%).

8 The unemployment rates six months after arrival for all age groups were: 39% for 15-24, 36% for 25-44, 41% for 45-64, and 46% for 65 and over.

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