Challenges facing IEPS/New Immigrants to Canada

A longitudinal survey of immigrants to Canada published in 2003 by Statistics Canada explored the “Progress and Challenges of New Immigrants in the Workforce,” revealing the disturbing reality that nearly 60% of new immigrants arriving in Canada are unable to find employment in their intended occupations.[1]

Adversely, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) policies and points-based immigration process stress the importance of accepting highly educated and experienced professionals within their respective industries. A profound gap exists that prevents internationally educated professionals from smoothly transitioning their expertise, professional knowledge and global perspectives into the Canadian labour market. A report published by Monica Boyd and Grant Schellenberg finds:

Immigrant professionals face difficulties in having their degrees, work experience and/or language proficiency recognized. The collision of national immigration policies with professional accreditation thus creates a paradox: while highly educated immigrants are recruited on the basis of their potential professional contributions to Canadian society, the re-accreditation requirements they must meet often act as barriers to the full utilization of their skills.[2]


Researchers McCoy and Masuch conclude that “employment services for immigrant professionals need to be addressed on a policy level, as well as increased efforts in bridging programs, job search strategies, and employer education.”[3]

[1] Statistics Canada, “Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: Progress and Challenges of New Immigrants in the Workforce.” 2003. Catalogue No. 89-615-XIE.

[2] Boyd, Monica and Grant Schellenberg. 2007. “Re-accreditation and the occupations of immigrant doctors and engineers”. Canadian Social Trends. Cat. No. 11-008. pp 2-10.

[3] McCoy, L. & Masuch, C. “Beyond “Entry-level” Jobs: Immigrant Women and Non-regulated Professional Occupations. Journal of International Migration and Integration,” (2007). 8, 185–206.

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