Immigrants trail on wages and jobs

TheStar.com – Business – Immigrants trail on wages and jobs
Published On Tue Nov 24 2009.   Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew Business Reporter

Immigrants face lower wages and are more likely than Canadian-born workers to be forced into temporary or part-time jobs, according to a new study.

The report from Statistics Canada, made public Monday, also found newcomers tend to end up in jobs for which they are overqualified.

Immigrants who landed in Canada 10 years ago or more tend to fare better, with their work experience more closely resembling that of people who were born here.

The report, based on data from last year’s labour market, found that the average weekly hours worked by immigrants in their main job was 38.3, only slightly higher than the 38.1 hours of Canadian-born workers.

The average hourly wage of a Canadian-born employee aged from 25 to 54 was $23.72, compared with $21.44 for an immigrant worker, a difference of $2.28 an hour, Statistics Canada noted.

The widest gap, $5.04 per hour, involved immigrants who had landed within the previous five years, the paper said, but the overall wage gap existed “regardless of when the immigrants landed.” It narrows to $1.32 for immigrants in Canada for a decade or longer.

The difference in wages between immigrant workers and Canadian-born colleagues was widest among those with university degrees, with immigrants earning an average of $25.31 an hour, about $5 less than Canadian-born counterparts.

Immigrants with multiple jobs worked an average of 50 hours per week in 2008, about 2.3 hours longer than Canadians who hold down more than one job, StatsCan said.

Among part-time workers, 38 per cent of newcomers said working part-time was involuntary, higher than the 30 per cent of Canadian-born workers who agreed. Last year, 9.7 per cent of newcomers were in temporary positions, slightly more than the 8.3 per cent of Canadian-born employees.

The report also found 42 per cent of immigrant workers 25-54 had a higher education level for their job than normally required, while 28 per cent of Canadian-born workers were similarly overqualified.

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