Immigrants who do not speak one of Canada’s two official languages usually end up working in “ethnic enclaves” and earning less than both their Canadian-born counterparts and immigrants who speak English or French, according to a government report from 2011.
The report was commissioned early last year to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), where workers whose skills are considered high-demand in the province are able to have their residency applications fast-tracked at the federal level.
The findings of the report indicated that language was a major factor in determining an immigrant’s professional prospects, earning potential, and overall adaptation to Canada. Furthermore, the number of Canadians who are working in a language other than English or French has been steadily climbing between 2001 and 2006.
Analysts argue that working in ethnic enclaves is a short-term solution with long-term implications, including lack of language skills being developed in the home, as well as possible danger to the worker who may not be aware of his or her rights.
“Exposure to one’s group reduces the accumulation of skills specific to the host country’s labour market, decreases the knowledge of the local native language and impedes immigrants’ economic progress,” said the report.
Last spring, the government announced that it would implement changes to the PNP in order to place more emphasis on worker’s language skills – particularly those workers who are filling low- and semi-skilled positions.
Source: The National Post