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Abstract: The paper aims to expand our understanding of immigrant disadvantage by examining four crucial indicators of underemployment: involuntary part-time work, minimum wage work, unemployment and worker discouragement. The paper also compares immigrant underemployment by level of education, measured by completion of a university degree. By doing so, the study paints a more complete picture of the labour market experiences of immigrants in the Canadian context and offers relevant policy interventions to ensure that newcomers can contribute their talents and skills to society.
This paper applies the Labor Utilization Framework (LUF) to analyze pooled data from the Canadian Labour Force Survey from 2006 to 2016. Using multinomial logistic regression, the study estimates the probability of being in one of five mutually exclusive categories: i) full-time employed; ii) voluntary part-time employed; iii) involuntary part-time employed; iv) unemployed; or v) discouraged worker. For those who are employed, the paper then applies logistic regression to model the probability of holding a minimum wage job.
The results suggest that highly educated recent immigrants are significantly more likely to be unemployed, working in minimum wage jobs, involuntary part-time jobs, or become discouraged workers than their native-born counterparts. Highly educated immigrants are more likely to be underemployed relative to their native-born counterparts than less-educated immigrants. Most forms of underemployment decrease with years in the host country. However, with the exception of unemployment, education level does not moderate the effect of years since migration.
This study provides empirical evidence of the hidden forms of immigrant labour market disadvantage which are often overlooked in the literature.