Bringing Employers Into the Immigration Debate: Survey and Roundtable

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By: Sandra Lopes
Org: Public Policy Forum
Date: 2004

To better understand the issues relating to the integration of immigrants into the workforce, the Public Policy Forum undertook a research project that focused on employers' perceptions of "recent immigrants," who were defined as those immigrants who had arrived in Canada within the last 10 years. The research sought to:

  • determine the extent to which employers think foreign trained/educated individuals can fill their current or future labour market shortages;
  • identify any issues or concerns employers may have had when hiring and/or assessing the skills of foreign-trained/educated individuals;
  • identify any barriers to integrating foreign-trained/educated individuals into the employer's labour force; and
  • better understand the importance of foreign trained/educated employment by a number of factors including city, province and company size.

The survey revealed that employers have a positive attitude toward immigrants and immigration. Employers see many positives and few negatives to hiring recent immigrants and welcome the opportunity to participate in strategies that seek to better integrate immigrants into the workforce.

However, the survey and focus groups also found that employers:

  1. overlook immigrants in their human resource planning;
  2. do not hire immigrants at the level that they were trained; and
  3. face challenges integrating recent immigrants into their workforce.

The findings suggest that the economic and labour market needs of immigrants cannot be seen in isolation from their social and cultural integration. Furthermore strategies to address issues relating to continuing challenges must be different in destination areas and non-destination areas, and different for large and small companies.

This survey report is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format (90 KB, 18 pages).