The average starting salary for newcomers has risen to an all-time high of $25,900, though they still lag behind their Canadian-born peers by a huge margin, Statistics Canada says.
New immigrants who became permanent residents in 2016 made $5,500 more a year after arrival than those who came a decade ago and had a $20,400 entry wage, when the numbers are adjusted to the 2017 dollar value, the federal agency said in a report released Monday.
Researchers examined immigrants’ earnings through their tax returns since 1981 and found, overall, they lagged behind their Canadian-born counterparts, who had an average starting salary of $36,100 in 2017.
But not all immigrants face the same challenges in the Canadian job market, with those who had work experience in Canada prior to obtaining their permanent residence status reporting the highest earnings a year after admission to the country.
According to the report, newcomers who had Canadian education credentials and work experience actually made more money in their first year than their Canadian-born counterparts, at $39,800. However, those who had no previous work experience or who only had Canadian education credentials had a median entry wage of $19,000 and $12,500, respectively.
“In recent years, an increasing number of non-permanent resident permit holders are transitioning to permanent residence. The observed growth in entry wages can be partly accounted for by differences in income between immigrants with pre-admission work experience in Canada and immigrants without such work experience,” said the study.
Between 2007 and 2016, it noted, the number of immigrant taxfilers who had previous work experience in Canada increased by 166 per cent, while those without work experience rose by only 2 per cent.
Overall, immigrants’ wages increase with the number of years in Canada and they eventually catch up with their Canadian counterparts. The report said the key “wage catch-up factor” is a newcomer’s previous Canadian work experience while here on work permits, which helps them integrate through their proficiency in English or French and their established professional networks.
After a decade in Canada, those who came in 2007 after previously being in the country on both a student visa and work permit, had the highest median income at $63,800, followed by those formerly here on a work permit only, at $48,100, and with a student visa alone, at $37,600.
Immigrants with neither credentials only saw their average wage reaching $30,700 after 10 years, a level a tad above those who came as refugees. The entry wage for asylum seekers a year after arrival stood at $14,000 in 2007. The same group made $28,600 after 10 years, in 2017.
Among refugees who came in 2012 and filed taxes in 2017, Sri Lankans and Nigerians had the highest average wages, at $31,600 and $30,700 respectively, while those from Afghanistan, Iraq and China were at the bottom, earning $18,200, $17,300 and $14,300, in that order.
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