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Comparing Outcomes: The Relative Job-Market Performance of Former International Students

Mikal Skuterud and Zong Jia Chen
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Zong Jia Chen: University of Waterloo

C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, 2018, issue 518

Abstract: Canada is increasingly looking to international students as a source of post-secondary tuition revenues and new immigrants. We compare the labour-market performance of former international students (FISs) who studied at Canadian institutions through the first decade of the 2000s to their Canadian born-andeducated (CBE), as well as to their foreign born-and-educated (FBE) counterparts. We find FISs outperform FBE immigrants by a substantial margin, but underperform CBE graduates from similar post-secondary programs. We also find evidence of a deterioration in FIS outcomes relative to both comparison groups. The contribution of our analysis is threefold. First, in comparing FIS and FBE immigrants, we obtain evidence that giving preference to Canadian-educated applicants in the Express Entry immigration system is optimal. Second, in comparing FISs with CBE individuals graduating from similar academic programs, the results are consistent with FISs experiencing job search frictions, discrimination, and language difficulties, thereby requiring better immigrant settlement policies. Finally, with three cohorts of FISs spanning the first decade of the 2000s, we find that there has been a deterioration in the labour-market performance of FISs as post-secondary institutions and governments have reached deeper into foreign student pools to meet their student and immigration demands. We argue that this deterioration is most consistent with a trade-off that has occurred, as the quality and supply of international students has not kept pace with the growth in demand. As Canada moves to increase its reliance on international students, monitoring the relative labour-market performance of FISs is critical

Keywords: Demographics and Immigration; Immigration Policy and Outcomes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 J61 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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