Immigrant selection, economic establishment and employment

The Conference Board of Canada
28 pages,

October 4, 2022

Impact paper


This impact paper explores the economic benefits and costs of the “Canadian experience” and recommends ways to improve the transition from temporary to permanent residence for the purpose of economic integration.

Document Highlights

  • “Canadian experience” lacks a consistent definition, reducing the efficiency of the immigration system and pushing immigrants to invest in activities with unreliable economic returns.
  • Comparing those who have recently arrived in Canada with those transitioning from temporary to permanent residence presents a significant measurement problem because the latter group’s settlement journey begins much earlier.
  • To assess the economic viability of two-stage immigration, we must take into account that temporary residents generally do not have access to settlement services funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and do not have the rights to a permanent resident.
  • Having experience in a good quality job in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, advanced language and soft skills, and professional networks and ethnic ties help immigrants succeed economically from the start.
  • Education, volunteering and unpaid internships in Canada, and personal networks alone do not guarantee successful economic integration.
  • Hiring practices that assess a candidate’s “Canadianness” perpetuate discrimination against immigrants and are not based on job performance.


Main conclusions


Permanent residents are increasingly former temporary foreign workers and international students

The Canadian experience is ill-defined

What type of Canadian experience spurs economic integration?

Canadian experience should not be a hiring requirement

Not all Canadian experiences are clearly linked to economic integration

Immigrants bear the cost of acquiring and proving Canadian experience

The two-step immigration measurement error


Future research

Appendix A: Methodology

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