Is finding a job in Quebec more difficult for immigrants

That is what the latest statistics from Institut du Québec seem to show.

Immigrants in Quebec have more difficulties finding employment that matches their skills and qualifications more so than anywhere else in North America.

According to this Quebec research institute, these issues do not stem from the immigrant’s lack of expertise or qualifications. Quite the contrary, in 2015 in Montreal, the rate of foreign-born graduates was 33% compared to 24% of those born in Canada. Certain studies even suggest a 60% rate of foreign-born graduates.
Furthermore, the unemployment rate of immigrants that obtained a bachelor’s degree in Canada was, at 6.9%, more than double of those originally born in Canada¬.

Additionally, immigrants who obtained their degrees abroad are even further penalized because getting their foreign credentials recognized is particularly problematic. The unemployment rate of people with foreign degrees (born in Canada or not) is close to 13%, more than double the national average.
They are often very qualified people, such as doctors or engineers, but they have to drive a taxi or wash dishes to make a living. Far from cliché, unfortunately this is the reality faced by numerous immigrants living in Quebec, particularly in Montreal.
The Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, has announced that his administration will introduce a draft bill to facilitate the employment integration of profession-holder immigrants.

The Montreal problem

This last December, the Institut du Québec published a comparative study on labour access market differences between immigrants and native Canadians in the Montreal region.
Compared to other 16 major North American cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver, Boston and New York, Montreal is found at the bottom of the list in nearly every category dealing with immigrant job inclusion.
This study shows that the immigrant unemployment rate in Montreal was at its highest in 2015. It bordered on 10%, meanwhile Toronto was at around 6% and even 5% in Vancouver. Furthermore, it is in Montreal where the unemployment gap between “natives” and immigrants is at its highest.
A French-speaking immigrant would have better chances of finding a job in Toronto than in Montreal! The unemployment rate for French-speaking immigrants reaches 27% in Montreal, while it is 14% in Toronto.
Each year, Quebec loses around 20 to 25% of the immigrants it welcomes to other provinces because of the issues they face trying to get hired here.

The best performing city was Portland, Oregon, where the immigrant unemployment rate was less than 3%.

How to change this situation?

Besides making foreign credential recognition faster and easier (by giving short refresher training sessions less than a year after receiving their foreign credential recognition application), in order to help immigrates have the same employment access opportunities as “Quebec natives”, the Institut du Québec wants to prohibit employers from demanding Canadian job experience to immigrants if they do not have a particular reason for it.

Additionally, I would like to add that the development of a collaborative staffing system, as proposed by for hotel and food service industry jobs, would be a big plus for both immigrants and “natives”. In fact, 37% of restaurants hire employees, knowing that they won’t do the job *, and 70% have difficulties employing qualified personnel, hiring managers waste too much time trying to find staff in the hopes they are good, qualified and skilled.

Even today, they tend to hire haphazardly, it’s a unmitigated Russian roulette.

The spread of collaborative staffing pushes the skill of each person ever so higher by putting the individual, with their expertise and qualifications, at the service of the company. This would give a chance to people who possess industry-recognized skills, whether they have a degree or not.

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* Source ARQ 2016

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