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2. A large portion (about 62% in 2001) of immigrants still immigrate to Canada as dependents or refugees, foregoing selection for human capital (Chui, 2003)
3. For the future landed immigrants, who do go through the new selection process, there is no guarantee that these immigrants will “compete fairly” in the labour market.
Female immigrants made, on average, $15,021 a year less than their non-immigrant female counterparts, and $54,876 a year less than non-immigrant males (Statistics Canada, 2006)
Limitations to Human Capital
Social capital is an “investment in social relationships through which resources of other actors can be accessed or borrowed” (Lin, 2001, p.24).
Individuals compete fairly for their earnings in an “open market… based on their level of human capital”
An individual’s “economic outcomes are determined by the skills and credentials [they bring] to the labour market” (Phythian, Walters & Anisef, 2010)
Earnings are directly correlated to an individual’s productivity and potential economic contribution (Li, 2003)
The Economic Security of Immigrant Women in Central Alberta
The "Fall Back" Plan
Funded by Status of Women Canada
3 year project
Interviews with employers and immigrants in Central Alberta
45 in-depth interviews, 7 focus groups
Goal: To create a community plan that will increase the economic security of immigrant women in Central Alberta
“An assured and stable standard of living that provides individuals and families with the necessary level of resources to participate economically, politically, socially, culturally, and with dignity in their communities.”
(Canadian Counsel on Social Development, 2002)
* Foreign skills and qualifications are non-transferable to the Canadian labour market (Phythian, Walters & Anisef, 2010)
Canadian Work Experience
English/French Language Proficiency
Lack of foreign work experience recognition
Canadian-born held significantly higher scores than immigrants in literacy, document literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills
(Bonikowska, Green Ferrer, Green & Riddell, 2004)
Lack of credential recognition
Skills and credentials obtained in foreign countries are not equivalent to Canadian standards
Poor english language skills
Low language proficiency negatively impacts skills valued in the Canadian market
(Bonikowska, Green Ferrer, Green & Riddell, 2004)
Human Capital Barriers
Lack of Canadian Work Experience
Lack of English/French Language Proficiency
Lack of Recognition of Foreign Credentials
P1: “I find it’s... not easy to find a job just because you don’t have the Canadian working experience”
P2: “I think if my English is better, it is more easy [to] find other job…For me, I [would] like work, no clean. No clean…"
P3: “I worked as a medical doctor… about six years in [my country of origin]… working with… HIV virus... and also... medical drug problems… like heroine and… I work... for the refugee peoples… in a charity.”
Minimum official language thresholds and increased points for official language proficiency, making language the most important factor in the selection process
Increased emphasis on younger immigrants, who are more likely to acquire valuable Canadian experience
Credential Assessment (ECA), so that education points awarded reflect the foreign credential’s true value in Canada
(Government of Canada, 2013)
Canada's Points System
Social Capital as a "Fall Back" plan
P4: "I came here as a builder because my brother worked as a truss builder... my brother... [i]s a permanent resident here so his boss... offered to get his family over... So I resigned, I was an elementary school teacher back home, fourteen years.... I’m going to work towards, I’m going to go back to being a teacher... I w[ill] have to take two or three years of courses"
Major Barriers to Economic Security for Immigrant Women in Central Alberta
26% of immigrants used friends or family to find their main job
Immigrants are more likely than Canadian-born to use the help of close friends to find employment
(General Social Survey, 2008)
Some theorists maintain that social capital can mitigate the negative effect of lack of human capital, or even be productive in the absence of human capital (Coleman in Alder & Kwon, 2000
However, not only is social capital is not associated with income as strongly as human capital (Weaver & Habibov, 2012), but in the case of ethnic ties, it may actually disadvantage immigrants (Li, 2008)
Limitations to Social Capital:
Ethnic Mobility Entrapment
Ethnic Enclave Economy