Enriching Foreign Qualifications Through Canadian Post-secondary Education: Who Participates and Why?

  • Maria Adamuti-Trache
  • Paul AnisefEmail author
  • Robert Sweet
  • David Walters


The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada is employed to compare recent immigrant post-secondary education participants and non-participants with respect to a range of factors, including demographic, socio-economic, and cultural differences, official language competency, recognition of educational credentials and employment experiences, and social capital. A multilevel logit model was employed to identify the (changing) impact of factors on post-secondary participation. The cumulative post-secondary participation rate increased from 10% to 33% to 44% within 6 months, 2 years and 4 years of arrival, respectively. Gender, age, prior level of education, self-reported language proficiency, social capital and situational factors were significant in explaining the cumulative increase.


Higher education Economic integration Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada 



The analyses in this report are based on data from Statistics Canada. The opinions and interpretation expressed by the authors do not represent the views of Statistics Canada.


  1. Adamuti-Trache, M., & Sweet, R. (2005). Exploring the relationship between educational credentials and the earnings of immigrants. Canadian Studies in Population, 32(2), 177–201.Google Scholar
  2. Adamuti-Trache, M., & Sweet, R. (2010). Adult immigrants’ participation in Canadian education and training. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 222(2), 1–26.Google Scholar
  3. Akhter, A., Chakrawarti, R., & Rasheed, N. (2006). A review of bridge training programs for immigrants with professional backgrounds in OntarioExploratory findings. Toronto: Policy Roundtable Mobilizing Professions and Trades (PROMPT), Research Paper No.5.
  4. Akresh, I. R. (2007). U.S. immigrants’ labor market adjustment: Additional human capital investment and earnings growth. Demography, 44(4), 865–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alboim, N., Finnie, R., & Meng, R. (2005). The discounting of immigrants skills in Canada: Evidence and policy recommendations. Institute for Research on Public Policy Choices. Retrieved September 7, 2011 from
  6. Andres, L., & Adamuti-Trache, M. (2007). You’ve come a long way, baby? Persistent gender inequality in university enrolment and completion in Canada, 1979–2004. Canadian Public Policy, 33(1), 93–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anisef, P., Sweet, R., & Frempong, G. (2003). Labour market outcomes of immigrant and racial minority university graduates in Canada. CERIS working paper No. 23. Toronto: Joint Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement.Google Scholar
  8. Anisef, P., Sweet, R., & Adamuti-Trache. (2008). Impact of Post-Secondary Education on Recent Immigrants Labour Market Outcomes. Ottawa: Citizenship & Immigration Canada.Google Scholar
  9. Association of Canadian Community Colleges (2008). Colleges and institutes supporting the integration of immigrants into the Canadian labour market. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from
  10. Baldwin, J. R., & Beakstead, D. (2003). Knowledge workers in Canada’s economy, 1971–2001. Catalogue no. 11-624-MIE -No. 004. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  11. Banerjee, R. & Verma, A. (2009). Determinants and effects of post-migration education among new immigrants in Canada. Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network, Working Paper No. 11. Retrieved February 15, 2009, from
  12. Bauder, H. (2003). Habitus, rules of the labour market and employment strategies of immigrants in Vancouver, Canada. Social and Cultural Geography, 6(1), 81–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Beakstead, D. & Vinodrai, T. (2003). Dimensions of Occupational Changes in Canada’s Knowledge Based Economy, 1971–1996. Catalogue no. 11-622-MIE—No. 004. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  14. Becker, G. (1975). Human capital. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  15. Berger, J., Motte, A., & Parkin, A. (2006). The price of knowledge. Student debt: Trends and consequences (Chapter 5). Montreal: CMSF. Retrieved September 7, 2011 from
  16. Borjas, G. J. (1982). The earnings of male Hispanic immigrants in the United States. Industrial & Labor Relations Review, 35(3), 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Boyd, M. (2008). Variations in socio-economic outcomes of second generation young adults. Canadian Diversity, 6(2), 20–24.Google Scholar
  18. Chiswick, B. R., & Miller, P. W. (1994). The determinants of post-immigration investments in education. Economics of Education Review, 13(2), 163–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chiswick, B. R., & Miller, P. W. (1995). The endogeneity between language and earnings: International analyses. Journal of Labor Economics, 13(2), 246–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cobb-Clark, D., Connolly, M. D., & Worswick, C. (2005). Post-migration investments in education and job search: A family perspective. Journal of Population Economics, 18, 663–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Duleep, H. O., & Regets, M. C. (1999). Immigrants and human-capital investment. The American Economic Review, 89(2), 186–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ferrer, A., & Riddell, C. (2008). Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings. Canadian Journal of Economics, 41(1), 186–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Friedberg, R. M. (2000). You can’t take it with you? Immigrant assimilation and the portability of human capital. Journal of Labor Economics, 18(2), 221–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grabke, S. & Anisef, P. (2008). Adult immigrant student experiences in Ontario post-secondary institutions: Issues and barriers to success. Paper Presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Sociological Association at the 2008 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 3–6, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  25. Grondin, C. (2007). Knowledge of official languages among new immigrants: How important is it in the labour market? Catalogue no. 89-624-XIE. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  26. Hawthorne, L. (2007). Foreign credential recognition and assessment: An introduction. Canadian Issues/Thèmes canadiens (Spring 2007). Montreal: The Association of Canadian Studies Retrieved January 27, 2009 from
  27. Hum, D., & Simpson, W. (2003). Job-related training activity by immigrants to Canada. Canadian Public Policy, 29(1), 469–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kasworm, C. (2003). What is collegiate involvement for adult undergraduates? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago. Google Scholar
  29. Khan, A. H. (1997). Post-migration investment in education by immigrants in the United States. The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 37, 285–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kunz, J. L. (2005). Orienting newcomers to Canadian society: Social capital and settlement. Social Capital in Action: Thematic Policy Studies, (pp. 52–64). Ottawa: Policy Research Initiative.Google Scholar
  31. Li, P. S. (2003). Initial earnings and catch-up capacity of Immigrants. Canadian Public Policy, 29(3), 319–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Peters, V. (2004). Working and training: First results of the 2003 Adult Education and Training Survey. Catalogue no. 81-595-MIE20040015. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  33. Picot, G. (2004). The Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes. Analytical Studies Branch research paper series 11F0019MIE2004222. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  34. Picot, G. & Sweetman, A. (2005). The Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes: Update 2005. Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Cat. No. 11F0019MIE-No. 262. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  35. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Reitz, J. G. (2001). Immigrant success in the knowledge economy: Institutional change and the immigrant experience in Canada, 1970–1995. Journal of Social Issues, 57(3), 579–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reitz, J. G. (2005). Tapping immigrants’ skills. New directions for Canadian policy in the knowledge economy. IRPP (Immigration and Refugee Policy) Choices, 11(1), 2–18.Google Scholar
  38. Reitz, J. G. (2007). Immigrant employment success in Canada, Part I: Individual and contextual causes. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 8, 11–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rendón, L. I., Jalomo, R. E., & Nora, A. (2000). Theoretical considerations in the study of minority student retention in higher education. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Reworking the student departure puzzle (pp. 127–156). Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Rubenson, K., Desjardins, R., & Yoon, E-S. (2007). Adult learning in Canada: A comparative perspective. Catalogue no. 89-552-MIE- No.17. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  41. Statistics Canada (2003). Longitudinal survey of immigrants to Canada: Process, progress and prospects. Catalogue no. 89-611-XIE. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  42. Sweetman, A., & McBride, S. (2004). Postsecondary field of study and the Canadian labour market outcomes of immigrants and non-immigrants. Ottawa: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.Google Scholar
  43. Sweetman, A. & Warman, C. (2010). A new source of immigration: The Canadian Experience Class. Policy Options, (July/August). Retrieved September 7, 2011 from
  44. The Conference Board of Canada (2004). Performance and potential 2004–2005: Key findings. How can Canada prosper in tomorrow’s world? Retrieved August 31, 2005 from
  45. Thompson, E. N. (2000). Immigrant occupational skill outcomes and the role of region-of-origin-specific human capital. Ottawa: Human Resources Development Canada.Google Scholar
  46. Tolley, E. (2003). The skilled worker class. Selection criteria in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Metropolis Policy Brief no. 1 (pp. 1–8).Google Scholar
  47. Van Tubergen, F., & Kalmijn, M. (2005). Destination-language proficiency in cross-national perspective: A study of immigrant groups in nine western countries. The American Journal of Sociology, 110(5), 1412–1457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Van Tubergen, F., & Van de Werfhorst, H. (2007). Postimmigration investments in education: A study of immigrants in the Netherlands. Demography, 44(4), 883–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Walters, D., Phythian, K., & Anisef, P. (2006). Understanding the economic integration of immigrants: A wage decomposition of the earnings disparities between native born Canadians and immigrants of recent cohorts. Working Paper no. 42. Toronto: Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement.Google Scholar
  50. Worswick, C. (2004). Immigrants’ declining earnings: Reasons and remedies. C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, 81(April), 1–11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Adamuti-Trache
    • 1
  • Paul Anisef
    • 2
    Email author
  • Robert Sweet
    • 3
  • David Walters
    • 4
  1. 1.Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of Education and Health ProfessionsUniversity of TexasArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  4. 4.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations