Accepted Paper:

East Asian Migrant Youth's Experience in the Canadian Labour Market  

Author:

Lori Wilkinson (University of Manitoba)

Paper short abstract:

Using a series of narrative analysis conducted with 35 former immigrants, mostly from East Asia, along with quantitative data from the IMDB data set (one that follows the employment histories of immigrants to Canada since 1980), this presentation seeks to examine the labour market histories of immigrants who arrived to Canada during their teens. and follows them throughout their adulthood. Popular belief among government officials is that migrants arriving to Canada during these formative years experience nearly flawless integration into the Canadian labour market. This success hypothesis has not been questioned by the extensive literature on economic integration among immigrants in Canada. The qualitative and quantitative historical data collected reveals a less successful labour market trajectory, particularly among the migrants from Eastern Asian countries.

Paper long abstract:

Migrants from East Asia have made up the largest number of arrivals to Canada during the past 20 years; in 2010, 48% of all new arrivals originated from this area of the world. Most immigrants are not naïve to the difficulties they will endure on their entry to Canada. We wonder why, given the well-documented difficulties migrants face, do young people continue to migrate to Canada in search of professional and managerial employment? Why risk years of discrimination in the labour market for poor income returns? Despite the difficulties they face as they try to locate employment commensurate with their experience and qualifications, migrants continue to relocate to Canada. Using a series of narrative analysis conducted with 35 former immigrants, mostly from East Asia, along with quantitative data from the IMDB data set (one that follows the employment histories of immigrants to Canada since 1980), this presentation seeks to examine the labour market histories of immigrants who arrived to Canada during their teens and follows them throughout their adulthood. Popular belief is that migrants arriving to Canada during these formative years experience nearly flawless integration into the Canadian labour market. This success hypothesis has not been questioned by the extensive literature on economic integration among immigrants in Canada. Using Structuration theory and a political economy perspective, my analysis reveals that the assumption that young migrants are more successful in the labour market is not true. The qualitative and quantitative historical data collected reveals a less successful labour market trajectory, particularly among the migrants from Eastern Asian countries.

Panel MMM16
Human resource and mobility: a comparative study between north America and east Asia (IUAES Commission on Enterprise Anthropology)