Immigrant wages rising, but gaps with Canadian-born earners persist

New Statistics Canada figures suggest that recent immigrants to Canada are earning more money than ever.People who had spent one year in their new country made an average of $24,000 in 2014, the highest amount since 1981.

This rise is partly due to the so-called Canadian Experience Class, a centrepiece of the previous Conservative government’s economic immigration reforms, which fast-tracks permanent residency for newcomers who already have work experience in Canada.

Statistics Canada senior analyst Scott McLeish said, “There are more immigrants coming in through this class.They already have experience working in Canada in high skills occupations.So they’re starting from a different point than other immigrants.”

Statistics Canada disclosed these numbers by looking at 2015 tax returns from immigrants.

The rise in median wages is the good news. But immigrants still make significantly less than people born in Canada. While non-immigrants earned on average $36,300, immigrants made $29,770, according to the 2016 census.

This immigrant wage gap varies by province, with the widest gap in Alberta and the narrowest in Nova Scotia.In the Northwest Territories and in Newfoundland and Labrador, immigrants earn on average more than people born in Canadians.

Immigrants tend to make more money the longer they live in Canada. In 2008, an immigrant who had been in Canada for seven years made almost $11,000 more than one who had arrived a year before.

This residence gap is most acute for immigrants from Africa and the Middle East. Recent immigrants from those regions earn much less than those from Asia, Latin America, and Europe.

According to a report by the Conference Board of Canada, the main factors of the wage gap are language skills, foreign qualification and skill recognition, and discrimination.

The vast majority of immigrants who land in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia stay in those provinces, Statistics Canada has found.