Large number of professional expats living in Canada not in jobs they are trained for, survey reveals

by Ray Clancy on February 26, 2010

Most foreign educated professionals such as doctors, engineers and lawyers aren’t working in the career they trained for after arriving in Canada, according to a new study released this week.

In 2006, 284,000 employed foreign educated immigrants in Canada had degrees that normally would lead to work in regulated occupations, which the agency defines as those governed by regulatory or professional associations and requiring specific credentials to practise.

The report from Canada Statistics reveals that only 24% of immigrants educated outside Canada in a regulated occupation, defined by those that are governed by provincial governing or professional association, worked in their professions after emigrating to Canada.

The highest match rate were among Canadian immigrants who work in the health care sector, with job match rates for doctors and nurses trained outside of Canada at 56%. Immigrant job matches dropped to 24% for teachers and 19% for engineers, with lawyers the lowest of all at 12%.

But officials say that the new federal-provincial programme to process and recognise foreign credentials before professional immigrants arrive in Canada is hoped to address this issue as well as help place key occupations in the country’s labour market sooner.

To address this shortfall Canadian Immigration said it is to implement a new system to fast track the recognition of foreign credentials and eliminate the barriers to employment and under-employment faced by many new arrivals in Canada.  The first group of occupations, which includes accountants, medical laboratory technicians, occupational therapists and pharmacists, will get access to the programme by the end of the year with the remainder of the professions such as doctors, engineering technicians, nurses and teachers having access by the end of 2012. By the end of 2012 a total of 15 occupations will be evaluated under the system.

The gap narrows but still persists for those who have been in Canada for a long time. Foreign educated immigrants living in Canada for 10 years have a match rate of 31% compared to 55% for Canadian educated immigrants and 62% for those born in Canada.

Across the country, match rates were highest in Eastern Canada and particularly in Newfoundland and Labrador, while Alberta and Saskatchewan, with their strong labour markets, also had match rates above the national average. Immigrants in Quebec and in British Columbia have match rates below the national average, while those in Ontario were on par with the national numbers.

Foreign educated immigrants who weren’t working in jobs associated with their training often worked in professional or technical jobs related to the sciences, such as scientists and technicians, Statistics Canada says, but large numbers were also working in clerical, sales and service positions, the report also shows.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

paresh shah October 1, 2010 at 6:38 am

i am a practicing radiologist & sonologist in india since last 21 yrs
i got pr status of canada under skilled worker categary
i am not eligible to work as a radiologist
i am not eligible to work even as a sonography technician -though i have performed more than 0ne lakh sonography in india!!!
govt should not call us under skilled worker catagary.
they should recognised few centres in each country in study in each field so that they can get job in canada or they become eligible to get job in canada without further study in canada


rakesh singh April 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm

cause mr paresh we are stupid enough to waste our money and energy trying to get visas to these stupid countries u have an vast experiance in india i bet all the radiologist in canada alltogether have not seen or done 1 lac usg and indian offers better and higher pays to docs like u with such vast experiance so dont waste u r life and skills of this fools stay back and b happy in our country


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