Better educated, but unemployed: the Montréal immigration paradox
December 6, 2016
The Institut du Québec (IdQ), in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM) and Montréal International (MI), released a study entitled Plus diplômés, mais sans emplois. Comparer Montréal : le paradoxe de l’immigration montréalaise. The three organizations looked closely at Montréal immigration and compared it with that in other North American cities. They found that immigration will be a determining factor in Montréal’s economic performance over the next several years.
Analyses by the IdQ show that Montréal immigrants have a higher university-graduation rate (33%) than do native-born Montrealers (24%), while the opposite is true in 13 of the other 16 cities studied. This gap in favour of immigrants can largely be explained by native-born Montrealers’ low level of schooling, whereas immigrants here are better educated than the average in other cities.
“Although Montréal immigrants are among the best-educated in North America and their university-graduation rate is higher than that of native-born Montrealers, this is where it is hardest for them to find jobs, especially for university graduates,” says IdQ President Raymond Bachand. “This intolerable situation calls for urgent action and the immediate implementation of the eight bold and concrete proposals outlined in our study,” says IdQ Director Mia Homsy.
In Montréal, the unemployment rate for immigrants with a foreign degree is close to 12.5%, and about 7% for those with a Canadian degree. The trend may be similar in Toronto and Vancouver, but it is most pronounced in Montréal. Moreover, when Montréal immigrants with a foreign degree do find work, nearly 63% of them are overqualified for the job (rate similar to Vancouver, but much higher than Toronto).
Because our population is aging, workforce needs are starting to be felt in the Metropolitan Montréal region. If we exclude immigrants, the main pool of potential workers – people aged 25 to 54 – has shrunk by 10% in Montréal since 2006. In this context, it is clear that Montréal truly needs all these immigrants to counter this shrinkage.
The portrait of Montréal immigration compiled in the study points to a number of concerns. Eight proposals for improving the situation are outlined. The full report can be read here: Plus diplômés, mais sans emplois. Comparer Montréal : le paradoxe de l’immigration montréalaise.