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Why the world’s best and brightest struggle to find jobs in Canada Why do skilled immigrants often fare worse here than in the U.S. For a time, Sanjay Mavinkurve and wife Samvita Padukone were held up as poster children for Canada’s open and flexible immigration system, long touted for the benefits it brings to both the country and its newcomers.
Their story inspired a flurry of alarmist news coverage south of the border on how America’s overly bureaucratic immigration system was putting the country’s economic future at risk. In the end, their story turned out to be less a picture of the Canadian dream than an image of the ugly reality facing so many Canadian immigrants.
Canada’s “points system,” the first such system in the world, was designed to build a multicultural society based on selecting those with the kinds of broad, transferable skills that would ensure them long-term economic success. In 1970, men who immigrated to Canada earned about 85 per cent of the wages of Canadian-born workers, rising to 92 per cent after a decade in the country.
The implications for the country are huge, given that Canada has one of the highest rates of immigration in the world and attracts far more skilled immigrants than most other Western countries. During the last recession the unemployment rate for foreign-born university grads in Canada topped out at 8.4 per cent in 2010.
The sheer number of immigrants with such a vast array of foreign work experience and university degrees has meant that Canadian companies now routinely demand “Canadian work experience” simply as a way to screen out thousands of potential job applicants. American employers are likely just as discriminatory as Canadian companies, but because workers need a job offer to immigrate, that discrimination tends to happen before prospective immigrants have been given a work permit and have made plans to move to a new country. Critics have attacked America’s system of temporary employment-based immigration, since it leaves immigrants vulnerable to the whims of their employers or the economy. Kara Somerville and Scott Walsworth, a husband and wife team at the University of Saskatchewan, travelled to India in 2011 to investigate why, after decades of detailed stories about newcomers living in poverty in Canada, new immigrants were consistently shocked by how difficult it was to break into the job market. For immigrants like Mavinkurve, the solution is pretty simple: let employers decide which of the world’s skilled workers it needs and leave governments the job of ensuring companies and immigrants don’t abuse the privilege. That’s ultimately where Canada’s immigration system is heading, says Jason Kenney, in an interview. The non-stop economical havoc and hardships the Obama administration has wreaked upon the citizens of our nation will confound those who understand the realities of supply and demand and free market principles (as Team Obama does not), understand the importance of small, sustainable government (as Team Obama does not), understand the consequences of spending more than is taken in and that one can not overspend a nation to prosperity (as Team Obama does not).

When Obama entered the White House in January 2009, the city average price for one gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $1.79, according to the BLS. What would have created countless American jobs and helped decrease our dependence on Middle Eastern oil has been stopped in its tracks by the Whiner in Chief, but at least one outrageously wealthy liberal crony of Barack’s has benefited. Tags: 2012, 2012 election, America, American citizen, bacon, Barack Obama, billionaire, Canada, capitalism, China, Congress, costs, Democrat, destroy economy, drilling, economic crisis, economic difficulty, economic hardship, economic recession, economists, federal government, first lady, First Lady Michelle Obama, food, food costs, food prices, food prices rising, food stamps, free market, free market principles, fuel, fuel costs, fuel economy, fuel prices, gasoline, gasoline costs, gasoline prices, government overspending, ground beef, hopenchange, ice cream, jobless, jobs, keystone, Keystone pipeline, Keystone XL, law, leadership, liberal news, Michelle Obama, Nebraska, November 2012, November election, November is coming, Obama, Obama reelection, Obama's SOTU, Obamanomics, offshore drilling, offshore drilling ban, oil, oil exploration, oil prices, overspending, pigs, pigs stolen, pipeline, Pres. When the couple married in 2008, Mavinkurve—born in India, raised in Saudi Arabia and trained at Harvard University—was living in Silicon Valley, where he led a team of engineers designing Google maps for mobile phones. Profiles in the Canadian media, meanwhile, pictured the young couple in the typical new immigrant pose: sitting on the couch of their threadbare downtown Toronto apartment, smiling beneath a Canadian flag.
By the late 1990s, they earned just 60 per cent, rising to 78 per cent after 15 years, according to Statistics Canada studies.
Between 2000 and 2007, nearly 80 per cent of skilled workers who immigrated to Canada had a university degree, compared to about 25 per cent for the Canadian-born population, reports Statistics Canada. Economic migrants—those chosen because they’re thought to have the kinds of skills that can boost a country’s economy—represent roughly half of all Canadian immigrants, compared to around 16 per cent in the U.S. Interviewing 500 Indian university students, they found Canadian immigrants go to great lengths to disguise just how much they are struggling in their new country, mostly because they face intense social pressure to portray themselves as successful back home.
Calls to employers went unreturned or recruiters told her she would need Canadian work experience to qualify. Their short time living in Canada taught the couple a lot about what it’s like to immigrate to Canada and, says Mavinkurve, it’s “not what any Canadian wants to hear.” “Canada is, by and large, not friendly to immigrants,” he says. Even as Canada has worked diligently to attract the world’s most educated workers, the country has witnessed a dramatic decline in the economic welfare of its most skilled immigrants. These days, university-educated newcomers earn an average of 67 per cent of their Canadian-born, university-educated counterparts. By far the largest gap in wages between immigrants and Canadian-born workers was among those with university degrees. In the decade following the early 1990s, when Canada abandoned its long-standing practice of tying immigration numbers to economic growth and switched from admitting mainly relatives of Canadian residents to admitting mostly skilled immigrants with no local ties to the country, wages for university graduates fell eight per cent, while wages for high school dropouts rose eight per cent.

University of Toronto economist Philip Oreopoulos sent thousands of resumes to posted job ads and found that changing the name on a resume from anglophone to Indian or Chinese reduced responses from employers by 50 per cent, with most employers saying they assume a foreign name meant the worker had poor English. With extended family already living in Canada, the couple expected a slow start, but was shocked by how difficult life here turned out to be. It’s a decline other countries—nations far less welcoming to highly skilled imimigrants than Canada—have managed to avoid. Nearly half of chronically poor immigrants living in Canada are those who have come as skilled workers. Even during the worst of the recession, the unemployment rate for Canadian-born university graduates hit a mere 3.5 per cent.
That shift has primarily affected immigrants, since a far higher proportion have a university degree compared to Canadian-born workers. But the demand for “Canadian experience” is also a result of recruiters simply being inundated with so many resumes that spending a few minutes going online to research foreign universities and work experience wasn’t worth the hassle. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), nearly 23 per cent of Canadian immigrants live in poverty compared to an OECD average of 17 per cent.
Canada is also one of the worst at matching immigrants’ education to their jobs, ahead of only Estonia, Italy, Spain and Greece. Just 60 per cent of highly skilled Canadian immigrants were working in jobs that required highly skilled workers, compared to an OECD average of 71 per cent. A huge influx of low-skilled illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America caused wages for American high school dropouts to fall 20 per cent, while a move toward employer-sponsored visas for skilled workers boosted wages for workers with postgraduate degrees by the same percentage. Those same stories don’t filter back among skilled immigrants who move to Canada as permanent residents, giving the impression that Canada is a better place to come look for steady work.

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