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The samples of FIS, FE immigrants, and CB population are constructed from the Canada 2006 Census and 2011 National Household Survey. The 2011 NHS was conceived as a replacement of the mandatory long-form census with similar contents*. Both files are able to identify individuals’ immigration status, the location of study, the highest level of education, and the year of immigration. This research places restrictions on individuals aged 18 to 60 with a college degree or above. The FISs are distinguished from the FE immigrants by their locations of study from whether their highest education degree was obtained inside Canada. Both FIS and FE are drawn from the most recent immigrants who landed from 2004 to 2006, surveyed in 2006 Census; and 2009 to 2011*, surveyed in 2011 National Household Survey. This ensures the FISs have earned Canadian education certificates or degrees prior to the time they became landed immigrants. A comparison has also been made between the FISs and the Canadian-born population. The sample of CB is also derived from the census and NHS with individuals who were born in Canada and finished their highest level of education in Canada. Pooling these two sources of data significantly increases the sample size. Together these two files result in samples of 777, 6867, and 198447 correspond to FIS, FE immigrants, and CB individuals, respectively.
The labour market outcome of each sample is determined by four variables: log weekly wages, employment, occupation skill level, and the matching of STEM degree holders with STEM occupations. The census and NHS contain variables on field of study, total wages and weeks worked during the prior year of survey, and the occupation major groups, which are applicable to analyze the outcomes for all types of student.
The occupation skill level is classified by the National Occupation Classification; each unit groups are constructed on the basis of the kind of work performed and the education or training required to enter the job. The Canadian immigration programs use the NOC to decide whether the applicants are eligible to immigrate as skilled workers. The major skill types fall under the NOC are: type 0—management occupations, type A—professional jobs that require for a university degree, type B—technical jobs and skilled trade that require for a college diploma, type C—intermediate jobs that call for high school or specific training, type D—labour jobs that give on-the-job training. Among the five types of occupation, three of them (Type 0, A, B) are considered “skilled” jobs. This research aims to assess whether the FISs are more or less likely to be employed in a skilled job.
The analysis of the STEM occupation matching of the STEM education examines whether a specific education training has a decisive transition to a particular type of job*. The debate is whether the FIS STEM degree holder’s probability of getting a STEM job differs from the FB immigrants due the possible variation of education quality.
Table 1 lists the unconditioned sample mean of all outcome variables and explanatory variables between the FISs, FE immigrants, and Canadian-born individuals. As shown in the first outcome section, the FISs’ log weekly wages are about 0.15 log points higher compared to the FE immigrants. Unexpectedly, the FISs have a significant earning gap at over -0.30 log points, relative to CB individuals. The large disadvantage does not go down much after the control variables were added to the regression model. The same trend can also be seen at employment rates at which the CB has the highest employment rates at 87.6%, the FE remains at the low end (73.2%), and the FIS in the middle (81.6%). While the FISs with STEM degrees are more likely to be employed in the STEM field compared to the FE immigrants, the FISs and CB individuals’ almost have an equal probability of getting a STEM field match. Relative to FE immigrants, the FISs are also more likely to be admitted in a skilled job. The outcome of the occupation skill level for CB and FIS remains similar.
To explain this variance in the labour market performance, different control variables will be included for each outcome. The data reveals that the FIS has a much higher share of Ph.D. and Master graduates, at 35.8%, compared to 29% of FE. More than 90% of FISs indicated that they lived in Canada 1 year ago and 62% of them lived in Canada 5 years ago, yet only 70% and 13% of FE immigrants lived in Canada 1 year and 5 years earlier. The FIS also has a slight language advantage over the FE with 27% of FISs listed the official language (English or French) as their mother tongue compared to 18% for FE. All these results may account for the findings of the greater labour market performance of the FISs over the FE immigrants.
Relative to the CB individuals, the FISs have a much greater advantage in terms of their highest level of schooling. While 35.8% of FIS earned Ph.D. or Master degrees, the CB had only 12.6%. In addition, the FISs are more likely to obtain their education degree in the STEM fields. However, the CB is about 10 years older than the FIS on average, and virtually all the CB individuals lived in Canada during the past 5 years and speak either English or French as their mother tongue.
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