How to help immigrants find the right work

As Canada opens its arms wider than Mr. Fantastic to address labour shortages, a new RBC report delves into some roadblocks that newcomers face in the current system.

Driving the news: Canada plans to bring in 1.5 million new residents over the next three years, but despite the average immigrant being younger and more educated than the general population, a higher percentage ends up working in roles below their skill level.

  • Those with degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and optometry are six times more likely to work in jobs unrelated to their training. 
  • In 2021, the top job for residents who arrived through Canada’s ITA program (which grants express entry for people with desirable skills) was a food services supervisor.

Why it’s happening: Canada’s recertification processes for highly-skilled jobs are long and arduous (as foreign-trained but Canadian-born med students can attest), meaning people perfectly capable of treating your cat or filling your cavity must wait years to do so.

Why it matters: These professionals are aiming to break into the sectors where Canada is dealing with shortages. For Canada’s immigrant push to succeed and for the job force to become “not only larger—but more productive,” foreign credentials need better recognition. 

Zoom out: By prioritizing providing highly-skilled workers with a path to residency, Canada doesn’t have a pathway to bring in people to fill blue-collar and hospitality positions—too bad the construction and services sectors are also contending with record job vacancies.