How Are Immigrants Affected by Poverty in Canada?

This essay will mainly discuss how immigrants to Canada are impacted by poverty. This means that the study is on how poverty affects various people who immigrate to Canada for a higher quality of life. It will address multiple rhetorical issues, including: What causes immigrant poverty? Do these elements result from Canadian economic or governmental policies? Moreover, how immigrants from Canada are impacted by poverty. Language difficulties, educational costs, educational attainment levels, earnings, income, employment, immigrant taxes, and a loss in economic well-being are all factors that contribute to poverty among Canadian immigrants.

Canada now ranks among the nations that welcome the most immigrants per capita, thanks to recent increases in immigration rates. Compared to the native population, immigrants’ financial situations in Canada have been worse during the last 25 years. According to a 2017 Canada Statistics report, the income of recent immigrants declines at a noticeable pace. Canada welcomed 271660 immigrants in 2015. (Goksel, 2017). Because of its small population and inability to fulfil the demand for workers for its many sectors, Canada experiences a high number of immigrants. The low birth rate in Canada is another contributing element. Even with the issues already described, immigrants to Canada continue to experience poverty, which is influenced by several variables that will be covered in the following paragraphs.

A language barrier is a barrier to communication between people who do not speak and cannot communicate in the same language. As most of these immigrants need to become acquainted with the wording used in Canada, this indirectly contributes to poverty among Canadian settlers. Since they must invest much time learning these languages to find jobs and communicate effectively, immigrants face a significant challenge. Most of them need more free time to devote to learning these languages, and the expense of doing so is prohibitive for most of them. Most of the time is squandered on learning these languages rather than participating in other economic pursuits, which causes the poverty rate among migrants to rise. Poor communication and language barriers prevent some people from working for multiple companies. This is another example of how poverty impacts Canadian immigrants who cannot afford the cost of language instruction. They eventually have to work very hard to get jobs.

Canada has high tuition costs when compared to other nations. A sizable portion of immigrants cannot afford these tuition costs. The high price of schooling makes life difficult for immigrants who come to Canada to pursue their degrees. Due to this restriction, some settlers cannot complete their education while others leave school. Most of these immigrants’ children need help to complete their education to a specific degree due to poverty, which impacts their ability to do particular jobs or hold certain work positions. This has led to an upsurge in immigrant social vices such as prostitution, violence, and robbery. Many newcomers work as manual labourers in various areas for little pay since they need help finding jobs in other professions, causing the poverty rates among Canadian immigrants to rise (Bloom, Grenier, & Gunderson, 2014).

Finding talented immigrants is a priority in the Canadian system. Compared to the United States, this nation has more gifted immigrants who settle there, but their earnings rise once they do. In Canada, immigrants have the most significant levels of education; 40% of workers with postgraduate degrees are immigrants, 20% are foreign-born, and 38% of those with master’s degrees were born in the nation (Goksel, 2017). Due to a rise in their numbers, most of these immigrants are now experiencing more frequent issues with companies and organizations failing to acknowledge their foreign educational qualifications. Since most immigrants to Canada are educated, yet their educational credentials are not recognized in this nation, they are forced to look for low-paying jobs, which has exacerbated poverty among immigrants (Picot, Sweetman, and Institute for Research on Public Policy, 2015). Due to the higher living standards in this nation, the income from these jobs is insufficient to cover the migrants’ basic needs. Most of them live in inadequate housing, struggle to go to better healthcare facilities, seek further education, or even send their kids to a particular academic institution or higher learning institutes. Consequently, the percentage of immigrants living in poverty in Canada has increased.

According to recent figures from Canada, a rise in the immigrant population results in a percentage reduction in earnings, with skilled workers—such as those with postgraduate degrees—feeling the effects the most strongly. Due to challenges with credentials, most immigrants are compelled to look for jobs that are below their educational level. While performing a comparable job, they are paid less than their native colleagues (In Grabb, In Reitz, & In Hwang, 2016).

There are a variety of reasons why immigrants make less money than locals. They have poorer labour productivity. They cannot optimize their pay since they are inexperienced with the labour market. Their employers need to be more faith in their trust, skills, and education, so they pay them less since they are unaware of their backgrounds. Moreover, since they want to settle in certain places like Toronto, they need to obtain better employment due to immobility (Richmond, 2018). Due to this, more immigrants are now living in poverty and below the poverty line.

As the number of immigrants to Canada has grown, so has the unemployment rate among them. It would likely take more years for immigrants to attain comparable employment rates to natives since, in 2016, immigrant unemployment rates were 15.5% compared to native Canadian jobless rates of 6.9%. (Goksel, 2017). The misery of immigrants has intensified due to rising unemployment rates. Most of these individuals immigrate to Canada to pursue better lives and employment, but they subsequently discover that life is more complex than they had thought. This contributes significantly to the fact that many recent immigrants live below the poverty line and cannot afford basic necessities like decent healthcare and education.

Due to high unemployment rates and poor incomes among migrants, new immigrants’ income levels have declined in recent years. Despite the government making adjustments to encourage the migration of educated and talented immigrants, it has led to a rise in the general low-income rates in Canada. Due to the overall country’s declining economic health, immigrants’ income has decreased. Immigrants are purposefully assigned by businesses and the government to jobs in the secondary sector, which are notorious for their poor pay, hazardous workplaces, protracted unemployment, and instability. Also, individuals face discrimination based on their place of origin. It is clear that immigrants do not earn enough money to raise their quality of life, so their poverty rates have continued to rise. Notwithstanding the reduction in immigrants’ quality of life, neither the second generation of immigrants nor those who arrived while they were children are negatively impacted by this (Card & Raphael, 2014)

These dangers and chances have contributed in many ways to the rise in poverty among Canadian immigrants. The likelihood that certain risks, such as changes in interest rates, fluctuations in oil prices, and changes in fiscal policies, will materialize is increasing. As a result, the economy’s investment, government spending, consumption, and trading patterns will change, impacting labour requirements. A modification in the policy surrounding the recognition of foreign educational credentials (Picot, Sweet man, and Institute for Research on Public Policy, 2015) would enhance the supply of workers in the Canadian labour market. Regarding the levels of poverty among the immigrants, this will have beneficial and destructive implications. As immigrants’ educational credentials are acknowledged, it will have a good impact on poverty rates among immigrants and harm their suffering. This runs the danger of lowering the demand for labour and raising unemployment rates among recent immigrants, which will lower their living standards and expose them to the harmful effects of poverty.

Immigration poverty rates have risen due to taxes levied by the government or public officials. Compared to wealthy people, newcomer families living below the poverty threshold pay far less in taxes. Real estate taxes are informational taxes that may be paid directly by property owners or indirectly via rent payments and sales taxes. Also, they need to align with the migrant workers’ incomes (Picot, Sweet man, and Institute for Research on Public Policy, 2015). The impoverished population is increased through immigration, which has a detrimental impact on public resources.

Moreover, as a consequence, many recent immigrants who reside in urban areas now live in close-knit homes. Due to their low incomes, which cannot meet most of their basic necessities, this has exacerbated poverty among immigrants to Canada. Their little income is taxed, leaving them in a worse financial situation than before (Card & Raphael, 2014)

These factors have led to a rise in poverty among immigrant populations in Canada. In contrast to their initial impressions and beliefs about life in Canada, several have seen an increase in immigrant misery. Indirectly, these indicators reflect how these individuals are impacted by poverty. A rise in the unemployment rate, poor earnings and income, increased tax rates imposed on immigrants, and the non-recognition of foreign education credentials demonstrate how poverty affects immigrants. Increasing unemployment rates and low wages paid to immigrants have reduced investment and savings and compelled the bulk of this population to dwell in inexpensive, congested, substandard housing conditions.

Due to the rise in poverty and suffering, social vices like drug trafficking, prostitution, crime, and violence have proliferated in these communities. Throughout time, school dropout rates among immigrant adolescents have risen due to the high cost of education and the inability of many arrivals to pay for it due to their low incomes and taxation (Card & Raphael, 2014).


Bloom, D., Grenier, G., & Gunderson, M. (2014). The Changing Labor Market Position of Canadian Immigrants. doi:10.3386/w4672

Card, D., & Raphael, S. (2014). Immigration, poverty, and socioeconomic inequalities in Canada. Calgary: Calgary Foundation.

Goksel, G. U. (2017). Socioeconomic Integration of Skilled Immigrants in Canada. Canadian immigrant statistics, 105-144. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-65843-8_4

In Grabb, E. G., In Reitz, J. G., & In Hwang, M. (2016). Social inequality in Canada: Dimensions of disadvantage among the immigrants (3rd ed.). Toronto: Toronto Publishers.

Picot, G., Sweet man, A., & Institute for Research on Public Policy. (2015). Making it in Canada: Immigration outcomes and policies (6th ed.).

Richmond, A. H. (2018). Social Mobility of Immigrants in Canada. Canadian Society, pp. 724–740. doi:10.1007/978-1-349-81601-9_48

Author: Adrienne DeRosa
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