Why Hire Immigrants?

Immigrants are a key resource for building and strengthening Canada, particularly in light of our aging population, our declining birth rate and the global competition for talent.

Canada brings in roughly 250,000 immigrants per year. This figure is comprised of economic immigrants and their families, family class immigrants and refugees. Of these, the largest group are economic immigrants. This includes individuals selected through the skilled worker and provincial nominee programs. Immigrants in this category are highly skilled and educated and are best equipped to meet the needs of our evolving economy.

Nevertheless, these skilled immigrants often face obstacles in finding employment in their field of expertise. Only four out of ten skilled immigrants are able to find employment that is commensurate to their education and experience.

Skilled immigrants may face the following barriers when trying to enter the labour force:

  • Lack of recognition of international education, training, and experience;
  • Insufficient information about employment opportunities and requirements;
  • Lack of professional networks;
  • Lack of occupation-specific terminology in English or French;
  • Lack of targeted training programs to bridge gaps in qualifications; and
  • Challenges in meeting Canadian work experience requirements.

Research has shown that employers may have the following reasons for not hiring skilled immigrants:

  • Lack of familiarity with international credentials and experience;
  • Preference or requirement of Canadian work experience;
  • Concerns about language proficiency and lack of awareness about Canadian technical terminology and idioms;
  • Concerns about lack of understanding of Canadian culture and business norms; and
  • Lack of knowledge about and access to skilled immigrant talent.

Why should employers care about hiring skilled immigrants at all?

For starters, consider these four important reasons:

  1. The Canadian-born workforce is shrinking and the demand for labour is growing.
  2. Skilled immigrants can help Canadian companies do business with the world.
  3. Skilled immigrants bring international expertise.
  4. Skilled immigrants can give Canadian businesses an “in” into expanding local ethnic markets.

By identifying future skill requirements and planning for the new face of work, employers will be better able to source, screen, select, and invest in the skilled immigrants who will make up the labour shortfall.