Survey Finds Job Loss and Financial Difficulty Amongst Immigrants During Pandemic
WES is a provider of Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs)in Canada, which is used to verify that an immigrant’s foreign credentials are equivalent to Canadian ones. Immigration candidates are often required to obtain an ECA when submitting economic class applications to the federal government or a province or territory.
For their recent study titled “How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Financial Well-Being of Immigrants, Temporary Workers, and International Students in Canada?” over 1,800 permanent residents, international students, and temporary foreign workers living in Canada were surveyed by WES to help them gain a better understanding of the impact that COVID-19 has had on their economic health.
Here’s what they found:
Loss of Income
WES reported that 15 per cent of all respondents lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it difficult to afford their rent or make mortgage payments. International students also experienced income loss, with 34 per cent finding it difficult to afford rent or utilities.
Additionally, 24 per cent of permanent resident respondents said they had lost their main source of income. For temporary foreign workers, this number was 22 per cent.
Fortunately, to help offset this loss in income, many immigrants were able to receive emergency benefits such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Employment Insurance (EI).
Those receiving EI or CERB were largely made up of permanent residents and temporary workers (90 per cent), according to the WES survey.
Unfortunately, very few international students were able to receive either benefit due to the eligibility requirements which requires applicants to have received an income of at least CAD$5,000 in 2019.
However, permanent residents who are also students were able to receive payments from the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), an emergency benefit for Canadian and permanent resident students.
How COVID-19 Has Affected Canada’s Economy – And What Needs to Happen Next
While Canada’s economy has begun to improve in recent months, it’s estimated that 2 million Canadians, including permanent residents, international students, and temporary foreign workers lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Now, with emergency benefits set to end soon, there is a dire need for a recovery plan with focus on immigrants in Canada, says WES.
“Supporting immigrants, temporary workers, and international students now is also an investment in Canada’s future. In the short term, the crisis has caused the economy to shed jobs at an unprecedented rate,” said WES. “But in the long term, the nation’s aging population and low birth rates mean that there will not be enough Canadian-born workers to meet the economy’s growing demands. These talent shortages can only be addressed through robust immigration and the effective integration of landed immigrants into Canada’s labour market.”