Immigrants with a Canadian education earn more — here are 3 reasons why

Immigrants with prior Canadian education earn more than other newcomers
Canadian-taught immigrants earn more than other newcomers due to better language ability and pre-immigration Canadian work experience. Source: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images/AFP

Getting a Canadian education is fast becoming the top choice for many international students worldwide, and there’s a good reason why. Cheaper tuition fees and welcoming immigration policies aside, a new report has shown that graduates of Canadian universities earn significantly more than newcomers to the country who completed their education elsewhere.

According to a report by Statistics Canada on Feb. 23, 2022, immigrants who graduated from Canadian institutions have a more lucrative paycheck during the first two years after immigration than those who completed their education elsewhere before migrating to Canada, owing to better language ability and pre-immigration Canadian work experience.

Immigrants with prior Canadian education earn more compared to other newcomers

Canadian-taught graduates have the opportunity to use their study years to acquire skills and knowledge specific to the Canadian workforce, putting them at an advantage above other new immigrants. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Earlier this month, Denise Amyot, President and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, and Don Bureaux, President of the Nova Scotia Community College, wrote in Canadian Immigrant magazine: “Making it easier for the tens of thousands of international students who are already in the country to access permanent residency, is key to reaching Canada’s immigration target. 

“These students are ideal candidates for immigration – with education grounded in Canada, an understanding of Canadian workplace norms and, in many cases, a strong desire to make Canada their permanent home.”

If working in Canada looks like a possibility in your future, here are three solid reasons why you should start with an education in the Great White North first:

 1.  Your Canadian education and lived experience as a student counts 

Starting off your Canadian immigration journey with a study permit isn’t just useful for a degree. As a study permit holder, you’re entitled to work off-campus for up to 20 hours weekly during regular academic sessions, and be employed full-time during scheduled academic breaks, such as the winter and summer holidays. 

Racking up job experience in Canada boosts your resume over time, and gives you a great head start to land a permanent position post-graduation. The work-school combination pays off in the long run: approximately a decade after immigration, those with at least a year of Canadian education had higher earnings than newcomers without such experience, regardless of whether they had pre-immigration Canadian work experience.

2.  Your improved language skills can attract employers

The report by Statistics Canada cites language fluency as a major factor that boosts employability and earnings among Canadian-taught immigrants. In fact, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) – the points-based system used to admit skilled immigrants through the Express Entry pathway – awards individual applicants with 160 points for official language ability. 

According to a news release by the Canadian government, international students possess “strong employment and language skills, bolstered by their Canadian education and work experience, so they are typically well positioned to apply for permanent resident status”. 

Spending a few years as a student gives you ample time to hone your fluency and communication skills in English. Besides, Canada is well-known for its linguistic plurality due to its large immigrant populations. You might even find yourself picking up an additional language or two along the way, such as French, which will come in handy when working in a multicultural environment. 

3.  You’re familiar with the locals and their respective cultures

Canada is a cultural mosaic: just under half of the population in Toronto alone consists of immigrants. Most learning institutions are located in major cities or towns, which gives you ample opportunity to immerse yourself in Canadian society. As a result, you’ll have greater cultural awareness and sensitivity as you cultivate people skills throughout your study period. 

A culturally competent employee is a major asset to an organisation, especially when it comes to dealing with clients or customers from different backgrounds. A survey has also shown the positive correlation between workplace diversity and productivity: a one percent increase in diversity corresponded to an average increase of 2.4% in revenue and 0.5% in productivity, with some industries achieving as much as a six percent increase in revenue related to diversity.

It comes as no surprise then that in 2019, more than 58,000 graduates successfully gained permanent resident status. All of them tend to be younger, more linguistically fluent, and more educated — which is a further reason for you to start your Canadian university applications right away.