Study: Canadian skilled migrants highest earners

A new study on Canadian immigration policy has found that immigrants who come to Canada as independent skilled migrants had "consistently and substantially" the highest earnings of four categories of immigrants. 

The researchers concluded that Canada should continue to focus on skilled migration. The researchers also hope that their study will influence future Canadian immigration policy.

The Queen's University study, Immigrant Earnings Differences Across Admission Categories and Landing Cohorts in Canada examined the first ten years after immigrants landed in three different time periods: 1982, 1988, and 1994.

The four categories include independent primary skilled migrant applicants, accompanying economic immigrants, family class immigrants, and refugees.
"The ten-year average of median earnings levels of skill-assessed economic immigrants exceeded the average median earnings levels for all immigrants by 30-37 percent across the [three periods studied] for men and by 39-56 percent for women," the study noted.
Family class immigrants and refugees had the lowest earnings out of the four categories.

"Refugees, both male and female, also experienced declines in their real earnings levels across the three successive [study periods]", the study said.
However, refugees had the highest earnings growth rates for both male and female immigrants during the first decade after coming to Canada.
Independent skilled migrants despite having the highest overall salary rates had the lowest growth rate over the first decade after coming to Canada.
The study also found that the economic downturns had a negative effect on immigrant earning levels and growth rates and that this effect was more pronounced for male immigrants than for female immigrants.

Immigrants who landed in Canada during the 1988 study period generally had the lowest median earnings growth rate for the three study periods due to the economic downturn in the early 1990s. The highest growth rate was in the 1994 study period, which experienced no economic downturn during the ten years.

The study noted that "since skill-assessed independent economic immigrants had substantially higher earnings levels throughout their first ten post-landing years, Canada should continue to place heavy weight on skill-assessed immigrants and not reduce the proportion of new immigrants admitted in the skilled worker category."

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