Government report shows that among second-generation immigrants, Chinese fare best economically

Children of immigrants of African ancestry have the worst economic outcomes

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      There is "tremendous variation by country of origin" in the educational and economic outcomes of children of immigrants to Canada, according to an internal government report.

      "Within the second generation visible minority population, Blacks fared the worst in terms of economic outcomes, and the Chinese the best," the document states. "However, the gaps in economic outcomes between the second generation visible minority groups (relative to Whites with Canadian-born parents) are not large when compared to the much larger economic deficit experienced by their immigrant parents.

      "It may be that for some, economic integration is a multi-generational process," the report continues. "The earnings gap for visible minorities relative to Whites is reduced across generations; it is greatest among the arriving generation."

      The undated report was written for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) by Garnett Picot. He's an expert on the economic integration of immigrants and earnings inequality at the Queen's University School of Policy Studies.

      The document was obtained through an access-to-information request and reported in Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland's monthly newsletter.

      "If ever there as evidence Canada needed to justify a national fact finding inquiry into why Canadian Black immigrants fare so poorly relative to other groups, this is it," Kurland wrote in an email to those who receive his newsletter.

      Picot's report included many positive conclusions about how kids of immigrants are faring in this country.

      "Canada fortunately has among the best educational and economic outcomes for the children of immigrants in the western world," he wrote.

      "This success sets Canada apart from most European nations, and to some extent, the U.S.," he declared in the report.

      Picot also noted that children of immigrants from many Asian nations, including India, "register remarkably high educational outcomes".

      That's because, in part, Asian families "tend to have higher educational expectations for their children, on average, than families with Canadian-born parents".

      Canadian kids from American and European families registered slightly higher educational outcomes, on average, than those in Canadian families.

      However, children from Latin America and the Caribbean families "tend to display lower levels of educational attainment, but still roughly on par with children with Canadian-born parents (from 23% to 28% completed university)".

      The report also examined why children of immigrants fare poorly in Swiss high schools whereas in Canadian secondary schools, children of immigrants "do fine".

      Part of the reason, Picot concluded, is that the Swiss have traditionally attracted less-skilled immigrants, though that has changed recently.

      Another factor is that the Swiss have a "streaming" process in secondary schools.

      Children of immigrants to Switzerland are more likely to be put into less academically challenging streams. That, in turn, offers less likelihood of getting into postsecondary education.

      In addition, Picot wrote, "Canada obtains a larger share of its immigrants that place a very high premium on education, such as China and India, than does Switzerland (or most European countries)."

      "Canada is one of the few western nations where researchers, policy developers and the public are little concerned about immigrants 'stealing' the jobs of Canadians," Picot stated. "This is a prominent issue in most western nations. But a few highly publicized events demonstrating that employers are selecting immigrants (temporary or permanent) in the place of Canadian workers could change this perception."