Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

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Séminaire doctoral - Pratiques langagières - terrains, méthodes, théories
Animé par I. Léglise et V. Muni Toke
Villejuif - Bât.D - S.511 - 14h00-18h00

Thomas Ricento (University of Calgary)
Immigrants, Language, and Integration into the Canada Labor Market

Changes to the 2002 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act focused on identifying immigrants based on their ability to integrate into the Canadian labor market (CIC 2010). The Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) recognizes factors such as education, experience, and language ability through the awarding of points based on a grid. Yet, many studies have shown that immigrants’ labor market outcomes have declined over the last several decades, even though their average level of education is higher than that of the Canadian-born population (e.g., Hawthorne 2008). The importance of English and French literacy skills has been identified as having significant direct and indirect influences on labor market outcomes (Ferrer, et al. 2006). Yet, research has also shown that difficulty in getting foreign credentials recognized as meeting Canadian standards is a barrier to labor market integration (Schellenberg and Maheux 2007), irrespective of acceptable scores on the Canadian Language Benchmark tool in an official language. In this presentation, I report the findings from a two-year ethnographic study carried out in Calgary, Canada. In Phase II of this project, 6 families were chosen for an in-depth ethnographic study over a 10-month period which included more than 100 hours of recorded interviews. The findings demonstrate both the tenacity of individuals seeking a new life in Canada, and their frustrations as ‘foreigners’ whose cultural capital is not recognized by credentialing authorities and employers. The study also revealed that there is a significant non-alignment between the curriculum of the LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) program, assessment of relevant language competencies, and the actual needs of skilled workers seeking to reestablish their professional careers in Canada.
CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). (2010). Evaluation of the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Available at:
Ferrer, A., Green, D.A., and Riddell, W.C.. (2006). “The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings.” Journal of Human Resources 41 (2): 380-410.
Hawthorne, L. (2008). “The Impact of Economic Selection Policy on Labour Market Outcomes for Degree-Qualified Migrants in Canada and Australia.” IRPP Choices 14 (5): 1-50.
Schellenberg, G., and Maheux, H. (2007). “Immigrants’ Perspectives on Their First Four Years in Canada: Highlights from Three Waves of the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada.” Canadian Social Trends. Catalogue no: 11-008-X. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.