Immigrants and minorities face barriers in job market

By Michelle Pucci

African, Arab and Latin American minorities in the Montreal region are discriminated against the most when they apply to jobs, according to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Paris-based international organization tested the callback rate by submitting two fake curriculum vitae (CV) to prospective employers in 17 European and North American countries. Both boasted the same qualifications. The only difference was the name of the fake job applicant.

The findings showed that people whose names make them sound like immigrants have to submit almost twice as many CVs to receive a callback. It also noted that slow economy allows employers to be choosier when hiring, which tends to exacerbate discrimination.

Despite facing discrimination in the job market, the study said that unemployment rates for immigrants are not very high. According to the OECD, minorities faced with discrimination compensate by trying harder to find work and accepting lower-level jobs. Employment rates for foreign-born men are par with citizens, but with more immigrants seeking work, their unemployment rate is above eight percent.

Laval, the third-most popular destination for immigrants in Quebec, is seeing its non-francophone population steadily growing. Half of Laval newborns have at least one immigrant parent. Recent immigrants to the city are three times more likely to live on a low income, even though a larger percentage of immigrants have completed higher education.

The same OECD study in Toronto showed that Chinese, Indian and Pakistani people are more likely to be discriminated against, although slightly less so than in the Montreal region.

Canada remained a prime destination for 46 million people surveyed by the OECD between 2010-2012, second only to the United States. Most migrants come from China, the Philippines and India. Canada also has the highest share of educated working age people born outside of the country.

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