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Immigrant Youth and Employment: Lessons Learned from the Analysis of LSIC and 82 Lived Stories

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Finding a job has become a critical challenge to many youth. Immigrant youth, who have been a key part of the global migrants, are particularly vulnerable when entering the job market of the host country due to various structural barriers. However, in both public policy discourse and research, their labour market experience tends to be overlooked. In this paper, we report the employment experience of recently arrived immigrant youth based on an analysis of the LSIC and findings of in-depth interviews of 82 immigrant youth in four cities in Canada. Our results reveal that recently arrived immigrant youth tend to work in lower-skilled employment, experience significant delays in finding employment, have difficulties with foreign credential recognition, and have fewer means to access to job markets.

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  1. The number of unweighted cases is just over 2,500, which limited our ability to examine the results of individual countries and characteristics in greater detail.

  2. Montreal would be another ideal choice of a large city with an important immigrant population. Our goal with the interview data is not a nationally representative sample. We hope to capture a wide variety of experiences with these interviews, including large and mid-size cities, and different employment sectors.

  3. Participants from Africa came from Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Those from Asia came from Bangladesh, Burma, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Nepal, Philippines and Taiwan. Those from the Middle East came from Afghanistan, Iran, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Those from Latin America, Pacific Islands and the Caribbean came from Fiji, Barbados, Mexico, Peru and Colombia. Those from Europe and USA come from England, Greece, Russia and the USA.


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This study was made possible by the joint research grant (Grant #: 808-2007-1001) of Social Science and Humanities Research Council and Metropolis Canada. The authors would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the following individuals: Ian Clara (Statistics Canada Manitoba Research Data Centre), Christine Hochbaum (University of British Columbia), Da Rae Lee (University of British Columbia), Fadi Ennab (University of Manitoba), Jasmine Thomas (University of Manitoba), Kirandeep Sibia (McMaster University) and the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on this paper.

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Correspondence to Miu Chung Yan.

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Lauer, S., Wilkinson, L., Yan, M.C. et al. Immigrant Youth and Employment: Lessons Learned from the Analysis of LSIC and 82 Lived Stories. Int. Migration & Integration 13, 1–19 (2012).

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