Advertisement

Educated and underemployed: Refugee integration into the Canadian labour market

  • Harvey Krahn
  • Tracey Derwing
  • Marlene Mulder
  • Lori Wilkinson
Articles

Abstract

This study explores issues of access to high-status occupations in the Canadian labour market, with particular emphasis on refugees who were in professional or managerial positions prior to their arrival in Canada. The study is based on interviews with a sample of 525 adult refugees who were initially resettled in the province of Alberta between 1992 and 1997. About two thirds of the respondents came from former Yugoslavia, the remainder from countries in the Middle East, Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Despite the generally high educational attainment of these refugees, the results show that they experience, much higher rates of unemployment, part-time employment, and temporary employment than do Canadian-born individuals. A variety of structural factors operating in a segmented Canadian labour market help to explain the downward mobility of these highly qualified refugees. The policy implications of these results are examined in detail.

Keywords

Labour Market Home Country International Migration Sample Member Downward Mobility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Résumé

La présente étude porte sur l’accès à des postes de haut niveau sur le marché de l’emploi canadien, plus particulièrement dans le cas des réfugiés qui exerçaient une profession libérale ou des fonctions de cadre avant leur arrivée au Canada. L’étude s’appuie sur des entrevues avec un échantillon de 525 réfugiés adultes originellement réinstallés dans la province de l’Alberta entre 1992 et 1997. Les deux tiers environ des personnes interrogées venaient de l’ex-Yougoslavie, les autres de pays du Moyen-Orient, d’Amérique centrale, d’Afrique et d’Asie du Sud-Est. Malgré le niveau d’instruction généralement élevé des réfugiés en question, les résultats montrent que le taux de chômage dans leur cas est plus élevé et qu’ils occupent plus souvent des emplois à temps partiel et des emplois temporaires que les personnes nées au Canada. Divers facteurs structurels intervenant dans un marché de l’emploi canadien segmenté aident à expliquer la mobilité vers un moindre niveau d’emploi de ces réfugiés hautement qualifiés. Les implications de ces résultats en matière de politique sont examinées en détail.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abu-Laban, B., Derwing, T., Krahn, H., Mulder, M. & Wilkinson, L., (1999). The settlement experiences of refugees in Alberta. Edmonton, AB: Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration.Google Scholar
  2. Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC). (1999). quality assurance framework [On-line]. Available: http://www.canalliance.orgGoogle Scholar
  3. Aycan, Z., & Berry, J., (1996). Impact of employment-related experiences, on immigrants’ psychological well-being and adaptation to Canada. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 28, 240–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Basavarajappa, K., & Verma, R., (1990). Occupational composition of immigrant women. In S.S. Halli, F. Trovato, & L. Driedger (Eds.), Ethnic demography, Canadian immigrant, racial and cultural variations (pp. 297–313). Ottawa: Carleton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Basran, G.S., & Zong, L., (1998). Devaluation of foreign credentials as perceived by visible minority professional immigrants. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 30, 6–23.Google Scholar
  6. Blizzard, C. (1999, September 12). Some of our doctors are missing. The Ottawa Sun, p. C4.Google Scholar
  7. Bonacich, E., (1972). A theory of ethnic antagonism: The split labor market. American Sociological Review, 37, 547–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (1999a). Canada-The place to be Annual immigration plan for the year 2000. Ottawa: Ministry of Public Works and Government Services Canada.Google Scholar
  9. Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (1999b). Refugee selection overseas [On-line]. Available: http://cicnet.ci.gc.caGoogle Scholar
  10. Collins, J. (1999, December). Globalization and changing patterns of immigration and immigrant opportunity in Australia. Paper presented at the Fourth Annual International Metropolis Conference, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  11. Council of Europe (1999). Recognition of refugee qualifications: Outline of a training seminar. Secretariat discussion document. Strasbourg: Directorate of Education, Culture and Sport.Google Scholar
  12. Dawson, A. (1999, August 26). Unqualified docs eye the west. The Calgary sun, p. 32.Google Scholar
  13. Foreign-trained MDs win rights ruling. (1999, December 20). The edmonton Journal, p. C11.Google Scholar
  14. Gingrich, P., (1995). Refugee settlement and integration: Removing barriers. Regina, SK: The Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Agencies.Google Scholar
  15. Government of Ontario. (1999). Access to professions and trades. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.Google Scholar
  16. Henry, F., Tator, C., Mattis, W., & Rees, T., (1995). The colour of democracy: Racism in Canadian society. Toronto, ON: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  17. Human Resources and Development Canada (HRDC). (1999). The new employment insurance system [On-line]. Avalable: http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/ei/common/home.shtmlGoogle Scholar
  18. Kelly, K., Howatson-Leo, L. & Clark, W. (1997, Winter). “I feel overqualified for my job...” Canadian Social Trends, 11–16.Google Scholar
  19. Krahn, H., & Lowe, G.S., (1998). Work, industry and Canadian society (3rd ed.), Toronto, ON: ITP Nelson.Google Scholar
  20. Lam, L., (1994). Blocked mobility and entrepreneurship resettlement of Vietnamese-Chinese refugees in Montreal, 1980–1990. Mimeo. Toronto, ON: York University.Google Scholar
  21. Li, P., (1988). Ethnic inequality in a class society. Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Press.Google Scholar
  22. Marshall, R., (1991). Immigrants. In D.W. Hornbeck & L.M. Salamon (Eds.), Human capital and America’s future: An economic strategy for the ’90s, (pp. 95–138). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  23. Neuwirth, G., & DeVries, J. (1994). Refugees: A new underclass? International Sociological Association.Google Scholar
  24. Ohler, S. (1999, December 2). Fast-tracking to a career in nursing: Immigrant doctors get other options. The Edmonton Journal, p. B3.Google Scholar
  25. Reitz, J.G., & Sklar, S.M., (1997). Culture, race, and the economic assimilation of immigrants. Sociological Forum, 12, 233–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Samuel, T.J., (1984). Economic adaptation of refugees in Canada: Experience of a quarter century. International Migration, 22, 45–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Samuel, T.J., (1987). Economic adaptation of Indochinese refugees in Canada. In K.B. Chan & D.M. Indra (Eds.), Uprooting, loss and adaptation (pp. 65–75) Ottawa, ON: Canadian Public Association.Google Scholar
  28. Skinner, C., (1995). Urban labour markets and young Black men: A literature review. Journal of Economic Issues, 29, 47–65.Google Scholar
  29. Statistics Canada. (1998). Work arrangements in the 1990s (Analytic Report No. 8). Ottawa, ON: Public Works and Geovernment services.Google Scholar
  30. Statistics Canada. (1999). Labour force annual averages 1998. Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services.Google Scholar
  31. Stein, B.N., (1979). Occupational adjustment of refugees: The Vietnamese in the United States. International Migration Review, 13, 25–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Swan, N., Auer, L., Chenard, D., dePlaa, A., deSilva, A., Palmer, D., & Serjak, J., (1991). Economic and social impacts of immigration. Ottawa: Economic Council of Canada.Google Scholar
  33. Thomas, D., & Boyd, M. (1999). Engineers at work: Temporal variations in the educational-occupational match of immigrants and the Canadian-born. Paper presented at the Fourth Annual International Metropolis Conference, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  34. Wooden, M., (1991). The experiences of refugees in the Australian labour market. International Migration Review, 25, 514–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhou, M., (1997). Segmented assimilation: Issues, controversies and recent research on the new second generation. International Migration Review, 31, 975–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer SBM 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harvey Krahn
    • 1
  • Tracey Derwing
    • 1
  • Marlene Mulder
    • 1
  • Lori Wilkinson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaCanada

Personalised recommendations