Immigrants in B.C. earn 18% less than 3rd-generation Canadians, survey finds

Immigrants in B.C. earn 18% less than 3rd-generation Canadians, survey finds

Less than half of those surveyed said they found work to match their credentials

Half of immigrants in B.C. surveyed say they haven’t found work that matches their workplace credentials and have taken lower-wage jobs. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
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Immigrants in B.C. earn less than Canadians whose parents were born in Canada, and at least half struggle to find work that matches their experience and credentials, a new survey suggests.

The problem is especially acute in Vancouver, where immigrants earn 18 per cent less than third-generation Canadians, compared to immigrants elsewhere in B.C. who earn nine per cent less on average, according to a joint study by Vancity Credit Union and Angus Reid.

“We know anecdotally that this is the experience of newcomers to Canada,” said Catherine Ludgate, Vancity’s senior manager of community investment.

“But it’s so stark. To have the wage challenges run as deep as they are, that truly is shocking.”

The report casts a light on the hurdles that newcomers face in getting their foreign credentials recognized in Canada.

2016 report found that nearly 850,000 Canadians were unemployed or underemployed — more than 60 per cent of whom were immigrants — because their credentials were not fully recognized.

If their credentials were recognized, the group would earn up to $17 billion annually.

In B.C., only 49 per cent of newcomers found work that matched their workplace credentials, while the rest took work in junior positions or different fields entirely, according to the latest survey.

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