Immigrant income and labour market outcomes: 2006 - 2015 cohorts

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


One of the central goals for the province of New Brunswick (NB) is to boost economic development by increasing labour market participation, and immigration is key to this plan. NB is faced with many demographic challenges, including an aging population, slow population growth, and the out-migration of its younger workers. All these issues have a negative impact on the provincial economy, which in turn is faced with the fiscal challenges of a shrinking tax-base and decreasing workforce. The Government of New Brunswick (GNB) has implemented many immigration programs, all with the expectation that immigrants will play a vital role in remedying these challenges while benefitting from participation in and contribution to the culture and labour market of NB. However, while NB has successfully welcomed a growing number of immigrants over time, there is still a need to retain the immigrants who land here. Immigrant retention poses a challenge for the province’s goal of population growth, as a substantial number of immigrants choose to leave the NB years after landing. In 2019, the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) examined the retention of immigrants arriving through NB’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) – one of the many immigration streams implemented by GNB to boost immigration in NB. Researchers found that just about half of PNP immigrants destined for NB were still living in the province five years after arriving. These findings raise further questions, such as, “Who decides to stay? Who decides to leave? And what factors influence these decisions?” Understanding the experiences of immigrants residing in NB may help the province address challenges related to immigrant retention, and since there is a well-established link between mobility and economic opportunity, focusing on the economic experiences of immigrants in NB may shed light on a correlation between experiences and retention. To this end, this report examines the economic outcomes and retention rates of immigrants in NB to investigate trends and determinants of income and retention. With the goal of contributing to evidence-based assessments of provincial immigration policies and efforts, it presents detailed descriptive and empirical evidence on the evolution of immigrant retention and immigrants’ post-landing labour market experiences. This report has five aims: To show changes in the economic and demographic profiles of NB immigrants over time To show how NB’s major cities – Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton – are doing at retaining immigrants destined for them To show which characteristics are associated with immigrants performing better (i.e., earning more) in the NB labour market To consider whether those with pre-admission time spent in NB on a work or study permit or with asylum claims have an advantage over those who had none before landing as permanent residents To show correlations, if any, between retention and economic success in the form of employment income for immigrants in NB