Since 1980 over a million refugees have arrived in Canada. People who hold refugee status in Canada are not allowed to have a job unless they obtain a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Most refugee claimants can apply to IRCC for a work permit once their refugee claims have been referred to the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.
Such a process, however, takes some time. In order to come to a point where searches for a job are possible - many have to face the financial barrier as they come with very few if any, financial resources. Despite the challenges refugees face, the unemployment rate for them is almost the same (9%) as for Canadians (6%). Half of the refugees (51%) are employed in high-skilled jobs, including doctors, dentists, architects, service managers, and software engineers.
Refugees create jobs for both themselves and other Canadians. Including those who are self-employed and those who own companies, 14.4% of refugees in Canada between 10 and 30 years are entrepreneurs, compared to 12.3% of people born in Canada. Refugee children perform as well in school as Canadian-born children, and their knowledge and skills contribute significantly to the country’s workforce. Refugees who arrived in Canada have a higher completion rate of high school, college, university, and graduate degrees than children born there.
Despite many obstacles that refugees face, it is clear that they are a significant part of the Canadian job market, and no obstacle will stop them from establishing the life they deserve.