More Canadian immigrants are being hired for jobs that fit their qualifications

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: June 10, 2024

A new Statistics Canada (StatsCan) report suggests that overqualification among Canadian immigrants is decreasing.

Overqualification describes what occurs when immigrants to Canada are hired for jobs where their education and/or work experience is too advanced for their role.

According to a StatsCan report published on May 22, among recent immigrants with at least a bachelor’s degree, the number of immigrants working “in jobs fitting their qualifications” has increased by 4.4% between Canada’s last two censuses*.

*This is according to a comparison of census data in 2016 and 2021.

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Note: StatsCan also revealed a decrease in the percentage of “over-educated” recent immigrants over the same period. According to 2016 census data, 31.1% of recent immigrants were over-educated for their jobs. This number decreased to 26.7% in the 2021 census.

Understanding the history of overqualification in Canada

Overqualification has been a long-standing issue for recent Canadian immigrants.

Going back as far as 2001, StatsCan data reveals that the rate of recent immigrants’ “education-occupation mismatch” has been inconsistent.

In 2001, 28.7% of recent immigrants were overeducated for their occupation.

In five-year increments, that number fluctuated as follows:

2006: 32.9%

2011: 27.8%

2016: 31.1%

2021: 26.7%

Note: This means that, in 2021, recent Canadian immigrants had the lowest rate of overeducation in 20 years.

Corresponding data also revealed that 2021 (44.4%) revealed the highest percentage of recent Canadian immigrants with an “education-occupation match” that Canada has seen in two decades.

Going backwards to 2001, StatsCan revealed that the percentage of recent immigrants with a match between their education and their occupation was as follows:

2016: 40.0%

2011: 43.7%

2006: 43.7%

2001: 48.0%

Addressing overqualification and finding a job in Canada

Recent Canadian immigrants (as well as newcomers more generally) can attempt to address concerns of overqualification by taking advantage, if they are eligible, of bridging programs.

These programs, which are funded, organized and administered by provincial and territorial governments, exist to help Canadian newcomers connect their international education and/or work experience with Canadian requirements.

Note: Bridging programs are not available for workers in all industries.

By working to help foreign nationals receive the required accreditation and work experience, these programs prepare newcomers to work in regulated industries across Canada – often the same industries that these newcomers worked in while living in their country of origin.

For more about bridging programs, visit this dedicated webpage.

Finding employment in Canada

It is not always easy to find employment for newcomers to Canada

In part, this is because each country has different workplace customs, cultures and requirements that make them unique.

To help Canadian newcomers prepare for and find employment, many online platforms provide helpful resources to assist foreign nationals with everything from creating a Canadian-style resume to perfecting a strategy for their next job interview.

A sample of these resources is available below:

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