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by Emma Bartel

Finding work is one of the essential parts of settling in a new country. Employment is not only related to personal financial resources, rather meaningful work is part of what helps us feel like valued, contributing members of society (1).

Research into employment for newcomers in Canada has revealed significant challenges. Family class immigrants and refugee newcomers have been found to have the lowest annual employment earnings, when compared to other immigrant categories and the Canadian average(2).  Why is this the case? A number of factors are explored briefly here.

Overcoming barriers

There are many things that can be done to improve employment experiences of newcomers in Canada. Refugee newcomers have identified that, wherever possible, language and skills training could be offered prior to arrival in Canada as a means of speeding up the process post arrival. In addition, systems could be created to help with recognition of foreign credentials (4).

Some researchers have recommended creating networking programs for newcomers to be matched with Canadian professionals in a similar field of work, to build relationships and overcome the social network barrier (5).

Other ways that barriers to employment can be overcome will be discussed at WelcomeHomeTO’s upcoming event Navigating Pathways to Meaningful Employment, happening Thursday, June 21 at the Centre for Social Innovation: Regent Park (585 Dundas Street East) between 7 and 9pm.


  1. Jackson S, Bauder H. Neither temporary, nor permanent: The precarious employment experiences of refugee claimants in Canada. J Refug Stud. 2014;27(3):360–81.
  2. Yu S, Ouellet E, Warmington A. Refugee integration in Canada: A survey of empirical evidence and existing services. Refuge. 2007;24(2):17–34.
  3. Beiser M. The Health of Immigrants and Refugees in Canada. Can J Public Heal. 2015;92(2).
  4. Wilkinson L, Garcea J, Bhattacharyya P, Riziki A. Resettling in the Canadian Prairies: A Survey of Syrian Refuees in Canada’s Prairies. 2017.
  5. Ryan L, Woodill J. A Search for Home : Refugee Voices in the Romero House Community. Toronto, Ontario; 2000.