This paper utilizes a new data set, compiled by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Revenue Canada and Statistics Canada, to examine the unemployment experience of Canadian immigrant cohorts over the time period 1980 to 1988. Using the records of unemployment insurance benefits of persons who immigrated to Canada in those years and who filed income tax returns, the unemployment experiences of those people are compared by landing year, gender, level of education, language ability, and country of last permanent residence. The determinants of the proportion of each immigrant cohort that received unemployment insurance benefits are estimated by relating the proportions to landing year, duration of time in Canada, and labour market conditions. Briefly, we find no obvious influences on UI receipt behaviour following the immigration reforms of 1982. However, the recession of 1981–82 had a major impact on incomes which did not recover until 5 or 6 years later. Nevertheless, more generous UI benefits did raise slightly the likelihood of UI receipts.