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Provincial Nominee Programs: An Evaluation of the Earnings and Retention Rates of Nominees


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Provincial Nominee Programs have increased the role of the provinces in selecting economic class immigrants to Canada. Despite the growing importance of the Nominee programs, relatively little is known about the outcomes of immigrants landing through these programs. In this paper, we use administrative data to compare the earnings and retention rates of Nominees with federal economic class immigrants in the first two years after landing. We find that Nominees had substantially higher earnings. However, Manitoba was the only province where Nominees were more likely to stay in the nominating province than observationally equivalent federal economic class immigrants.
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Provincial Nominee Programs: An Evaluation of
the Earnings and Retention Rates of Nominees
Manish Pandey and James Townsend
Department of Economics, University of Winnipeg
October 11, 2010
Provincial Nominee Programs have increased the role of the provinces in se-
lecting economic class immigrants to Canada. Despite the growing importance
of the Nominee programs, relatively little is known about the outcomes of im-
migrants landing through these programs. In this paper, we use administrative
data to compare the earnings and retention rates of Nominees with federal
economic class immigrants in the first two years after landing. We find that
Nominees had substantially higher earnings. However, Manitoba was the only
province where Nominees were more likely to stay in the nominating province
than observationally equivalent federal economic class immigrants.
Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: J61; J31
Keywords: Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; Earnings Level and Structure;
Earnings Differentials
1 Introduction
Due to concerns that fertility rates in Canada had fallen below replacement rates,
immigration policy in 1985 was recast as a tool to bolster population growth and
maintain the age structure of the country (Green and Green, 2004). As a result, the
immigration rate, defined as the annual flow of immigrants as a percentage of the
current population, increased from 0.33% in 1985 to 0.90% in 1992.1However, new
1This policy change marked an abandonment of tying immigration flows to the “absorptive ca-
pacity” of the labour market. Prior to this change in policy, the immigration rate was increased
immigrants mostly went to Canada’s three largest cities, while the flow of immigrants
to smaller provinces decreased.2
As a means of dispersing immigrants more evenly throughout Canada, in the late
1990s the federal and provincial governments developed the Provincial Nominee Pro-
grams (PNPs). These programs, based on shared jurisdiction between the two levels
of government over immigration matters, allow provinces to recruit and nominate
potential immigrants using selection criteria that meet locally defined needs. Mani-
toba, Saskatchewan, and the Atlantic provinces have announced ambitious plans to
increase immigration using the Nominee programs. In particular, Manitoba, the first
province to sign a PNP agreement, appears to have succeeded in this regard; in 2007,
the immigration rate of the province was the highest in the country, at 0.92 percent.3
Based on Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) projections, immigration
through the PNPs is expected to substantially increase in the future. The number
of immigrants arriving through the Nominee programs is expected to double between
2009 and 2012, from 20,000 to 40,000 (Auditor General of Canada, 2009, pg.12).4
These same projections indicate that the PNPs, along with the newly created national
Canadian Experience Class (CEC), will surpass the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
category (Figure 1).5By 2012, Nominees are expected to account for over 30% of
economic class immigration to Canada.
Despite the growing importance of the Nominee programs, relatively little is known
about the outcomes of Canadian immigrants landing through these programs.6In this
when jobs were plentiful and decreased when they were scarce. During the recession of the early
1990s, immigration flows were increased, despite rising unemployment.
2About 68.9% of immigrants arriving between 2001 and 2006 resided in the Census Metropolitan
Areas (CMAs) of Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto in 2006, compared to 34.4% of the native-born
population (Statistics Canada, 2007).
3Pandey and Townsend (2009) attribute this increase entirely to the Nominee program. Based
on a trend and other economic determinants of provincial immigration, Pandey and Townsend find
that the flow to Manitoba would have further decreased in the absence of the programs.
4The CIC forecasts that in 2012, 18,000 immigrants will be admitted through the FSW, compared
to 26,300 through the CEC and 40,000 through the PNPs (Auditor General of Canada, 2009).
5The federal economic class immigration is based on a point system and used as a means to
attract skilled immigrants to Canada. In this paper we focus on economic class immigrants. Other
classes of immigrants include family class and refugees.
6The paucity of research on Nominee outcomes is emphasized in the recent report of the Auditor
General of Canada, which notes “although PNP agreements require the provinces and territories to
collect information on the retention of nominees within their respective jurisdictions, the information
is either absent or incomplete and not always shared with the Department. The lack of information
on the retention of nominees was raised in recent reports of three provincial auditors general in
which one specifically noted that this represented non-compliance with the PNP agreement (Auditor
General of Canada, 2009, pg. 26).”
2009 2012
Source: Auditor General’s Report, 2009
Figure 1: Projected Economic Immigration, By Class
paper, we address this gap in the literature by using administrative data to compare
the real earnings and retention rates of nominees with those of observationally equiva-
lent federal economic class immigrants (ECIs) for the first two full years after arrival.
We restrict our attention to short term outcomes, since these programs began small
and have only recently began admitting large enough numbers of immigrants to per-
mit a meaningful comparison between the two categories.7However, given that the
Manitoba nominee program was large enough in the first few years to provide reliable
data to evaluate longer term outcomes, we employ data for the province to examine
the earnings profiles of PNPs and ECIs past the first two years after arrival.
Earnings are an important measure of immigrant labour market performance. It is
well-known that entry earnings of subsequent cohorts of immigrants to Canada have
been declining since the early 1980s (Aydemir and Skuterud, 2005). This decline
has been experienced by immigrants entering through all categories of the national
program, including independent economic immigrants (Green and Worswick, 2004).
These developments suggest that the selection criteria of these programs have not
been effective in predicting which potential immigrants will succeed in the Canadian
7In 1999, a total of 151 principal applicants were admitted to Canada through Nominee programs.
In 2005, the number was 2,643 (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2008).
economy. The selection criteria used by Nominee programs, however, differ signif-
icantly from those used by the national program. Special programs within Nomi-
nee programs allow provinces to recruit immigrants in semi-skilled occupations (i.e.
tradespeople) who would not have been eligible for immigration under the FSW (Leo
and August, 2009).8In addition, many PNPs require a legitimate job offer with a
recognized employer in Canada to qualify. Given the rising importance of the PNPs
and the possibility that they represent a new direction in immigration policy, analyz-
ing the outcomes of the Nominee programs may provide insights into whether these
programs have the potential to improve the welfare of one of the key stake holders in
Canadian immigration policy — the immigrants themselves.
Retention is an important issue with regards to the Nominee programs for two rea-
sons. First, the objective of dispersing immigrants more evenly throughout Canada
will only be met if immigrants selected through these programs actually settle within
the nominating province.9In addition, subsequent migration from nominating provinces
may have negative consequences for receiving provinces if newcomers place additional
stress on existing settlement and social services.
To evaluate the outcomes of interest, we use data from the Longitudinal Immi-
grant Database (IMDB). The IMDB is an administrative database that combines the
landing documents of immigrants, which are recorded at the time that permanent
resident status is granted, with the tax information available from subsequent income
tax returns. The IMDB is a census, containing records for all immigrants landing
between 1980 to 2006 who filed taxes at least once. This data permits us to identify
principal applicants by immigration category (Nominees vs. ECIs) and the region of
Canada to which they are initially destined.10 Subsequent tax returns provide infor-
mation on earnings and the province of residence at the time of filing. Immigrant
mobility is determined by comparing the initial destination province of an immigrant
with the province from which taxes are subsequently filed.
We begin our analysis by comparing the characteristics of ECIs and Nominees and
find that the latter are less likely to hold a university degree or speak either of the two
8The Manitoba PNP followed a pilot program in 1996 allowing employers within the province to
address skill shortages by recruiting sewing machine operators (Huynh, 2004).
9In the 1990s, small provinces experienced difficulties not only in attracting immigrants but also
in retaining those few that came (Goss Gilroy, Inc, 2005).
10While the Census and the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants (LSIC) are alternative data sets
which potentially could be used to address these issues, the IMDB is better suited for our purpose.
The Census does not permit us to identify immigrants on the basis of entry class, while the LSIC
does not distinguish between Nominees and other economic class immigrants.
official Canadian languages. However, the average earnings of Nominees were similar
to, if not higher than, ECIs. Using a regression framework to control for observable
differences between ECIs and Nominees, we find that the real earnings of Nominees
were substantially higher than those of equivalent ECIs. In Manitoba, which had the
largest program on the basis of the number of immigrants admitted, earnings were
39% higher than those of ECIs entering the province. For Atlantic Canada and the
remaining provinces, the earnings gap between Nominees and ECIs were even larger.
With regards to retention, however, only Manitoba’s Nominees were more likely than
ECIs to stay in the province one year after arrival. Nominees to other parts of Canada
had retention rates that were similar to those of ECIs.
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows: in Section 2, we provide a brief
history and overview of the Provincial Nominee Program; in Section 3, we describe
the data used for the analysis and provide some summary statistics; in Section 4, we
present our earnings and retention models and our results; in Section 5, we summarize
our findings and provide concluding remarks.
2 Provincial Nominee Programs
The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are federal-provincial agreements that al-
low provinces to play a greater role in recruiting, selecting and attracting immigrants
according to the economic needs of the region. Currently, all provinces except for
Quebec have signed Provincial Nominee Agreements.11 The details of the programs
vary across provinces, as each is developed according to the specific interests of the
region. Since the inception of the first PNPs in 1998, the provinces have created
more than 50 different immigration categories, each with its own selection criteria
(Auditor General of Canada, 2009). The provinces are required to inform Citizen-
ship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and provide the accompanying selection criteria
when creating new categories, but do not require CIC approval (Auditor General
of Canada, 2009, pg. 25). Applications and supporting documents are sent to the
province to which the applicant intends to settle, where they are vetted according to
provincially defined criteria. The province then nominates acceptable applicants for
permanent resident status. CIC, in consultation with the province, determines the
maximum number of immigrants in a given year to be allowed through the program,
11Under the Canada-Quebec Accord (1991), Quebec selects immigrants and determines the level
of immigration to the province.
and determines whether each nominee fulfills the federal admissibility requirements
relating to health and security.12
The PNPs are viewed as an incentive-based system for geographically dispersing
immigrants more evenly across Canada. PNP applicants with job skills that match the
needs of the province are offered faster processing of permanent residence applications
(Canada, 2003). Given the current backlog in the federal immigration process, an
application through one of the PNPs is processed in a substantially shorter span of
time.13 As the programs are intended to recruit immigrants that will stay in the
province, most PNPs require that applicants be sponsored by an employer with a
pre-approved job offer. Some programs (such as Manitoba) offer streams that allow
individuals to apply through the PNP without a job offer, provided that they can
demonstrate employability and strong ties to the province through either friends or
family residing in the province.
Nominee Programs have not replaced the federal independent immigrant cate-
gory. Instead, they are alternative routes for obtaining permanent resident status.
The number of immigrants coming through the programs has varied widely across
provinces. Table 1 shows the year in which the initial PNP agreement of each province
came into effect and provides two measures of program utilization for each province.
In Column (2), the percentage of immigrants that arrived through a Nominee Pro-
gram between 1999 and 2007 is reported for each province. Over this period, the
percentage of immigrants coming to Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario as Nom-
inees was small, while the PNP accounted for a significant share of immigrantion
to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Atlantic Provinces. The third column reports
each province’s share of the total number of Nominees that came to Canada over the
same time period. Manitoba has dominated the program, accounting for 55.70% of
all immigrants admitted through Provincial Nominee programs as of 2007.
Since the program began, immigration to Manitoba increased from to 2,993 in
1998 to 10,955 in 2007. In 2007, 7,689 Nominees landed in Manitoba, accounting for
over 70% of total immigration to the province. Even though nine provinces had a
PNP in 2007, nearly half of the immigrants landing in Canada through PNPs in that
year were destined for Manitoba.
12A federal visa officer may reject a provincial nominee, even if the applicant meets all the statutory
requirements, if the officer believes the nominee either does not actually plan to settle in or is unlikely
to become economically established in the nominating province.
13In December 2008, there were 620,000 people awaiting a decision on admission through the FSW
category, with an average wait time of 63 months (Auditor General of Canada, 2009).
Table 1: PNP Utilization by Province
Province Year In which
PNP Agree-
ment Signed
Nominees as
a Percentage
of Immigrants
to Province,
Share of Total
(1) (2) (3)
Alberta 2002 2.6 7.2
British Columbia 1998 1.9 12.1
Manitoba 1998 49.8 55.7
New Brunswick 1999 32.3 5.2
Newfoundland 1999 12.4 0.9
Nova Scotia 2002 13.0 4.0
Ontario 2007 0.2 4.6
Prince Edward Island 2002 56.2 3.0
Saskatchewan 1998 20.8 7.3
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2008).
Several factors account for the scale of the Manitoba program. Manitoba was one
of the first provinces to sign a PNP agreement, and unlike other provinces, it con-
solidated immigration, settlement and language services within a single department
by 1990 (Leo and August, 2009). Consequently, the province had the administrative
infrastructure in place to utilize the program immediately and extensively. Manitoba,
as a “slow-growth” province, had also identified immigration as an important part
of economic policy and had set aggressive targets for immigration (Leo and Brown,
To draw large numbers of immigrants to the province, Manitoba has created mul-
tiple categories within its PNP. Like most PNPs, Manitoba has an employer initi-
ated category which allows employers to recruit immigrants for full-time vacancies
that cannot be filled with a permanent resident or citizen in Canada. While some
provinces have limited the eligibility for this category to a narrow list of industries
or occupations, this is not the case for Manitoba.14 In addition to variants of these
standard streams, Manitoba has a general stream which allows entry without a bona
fide job offer, provided that applicants are able to demonstrate employability and the
existence of supports (relatives) within Manitoba (Carter et al., 2008). While similar
14For example, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) currently limits eligibility for
its semi-skilled worker category to employers in five pre-specified industries.
in spirit to the national ECI program, the points system of the Manitoba PNP general
stream is based on local labour needs and factors indicating that an immigrant will
settle in the province.
Following the impressive increase in immigration to Manitoba, Saskatchewan and
the Atlantic provinces have issued releases outlining strategies to increase immigration
through Nominee programs. In Saskatchewan, the Legislative Secretary to the Pre-
mier on Immigration and Settlement issued a report recommending that the province
follow Manitoba’s lead in increasing immigration through the Saskatchewan Immi-
grant Nominee Program (SINP) (Lorje, 2003). Several Atlantic provinces have also
outlined similar plans to use their Nominee programs to increase immigration flows
(Nova Scotia, 2005; Brunswick, 2008). While the emphasis continues to be on flows, as
the Auditor General’s report cited in Section 1 emphasizes, little is known about the
retention and earnings of Nominees, despite the increase in the number of immigrants
entering Canada through these programs.
3 Data and Preliminary Patterns
3.1 The Longitudinal Immigrant Data Base (IMDB)
To evaluate retention and earnings of immigrants, we use data from the Longitudinal
Immigrant Data Base (IMDB). The IMDB combines the landing document of each
immigrant, which is recorded at the time that permanent resident status is granted,
with the tax information available from tax returns submitted to Revenue Canada.
The information from landing records provides data on the gender, marital status,
source country, knowledge of official languages, and educational attainment of each
individual at the time of landing. In addition, data is available on the program by
which an immigrant was granted entry and the province/region to which the im-
migrant was initially destined. With this information it is possible to distinguish
between ECIs and provincial Nominees, as well as between principal applicants (PAs)
and their dependents.15 The tax data available in the IMDB consists of fields that
15The IMDB does not distinguish between categories within the Provincial Nominee Program, but
does permit immigrants arriving through the national program to be identified as skilled workers,
entrepreneurs and investors. As the Nominee programs have categories that parallel each of these
streams, we group together the three aforementioned types of ECIs together into a single category for
comparison with the Nominees. While live-in caregivers are also formally classified as independent
economic immigrants, we preclude this group from the analysis, as they have no equivalent within
the Nominee programs.
appear on the personal income tax return (T1 form), such as income from employ-
ment, self-employment and investments, along with total income. The province in
which taxes were filed and the age of the individual in the tax year are also recorded.
We limit our analysis to principal applicants, since the entry requirements of the
programs of interest apply primarily to these individuals.
The IMDB is an administrative data set and is not directly available to re-
searchers. However, custom tabulations and regressions may be ordered through
Statistics Canada on a cost-recovery basis.16 We requested summary statistics for se-
lected variables for cells based on immigrant class (PNPs and ECIs), year of arrival,
destination region, and tax year. In addition, earnings regressions and probit models
of retention were estimated, the results of which are discussed in Section 4.17
To analyze the economic outcomes of immigrants, we use total earnings, defined
as the sum of employment and self-employment income.18 Earnings are deflated using
the Consumer Price Index and are expressed in 2002 dollars. Since immigrants may
have only worked for part of the tax year in which permanent resident status was
obtained, for our analysis we use earnings for the first and second full tax year after
To evaluate retention, we construct a simple measure for tax filers in a given year
that compares the province in which taxes were filed to the province to which an
individual was originally destined. If the two match, we classify that individual as
a “stayer;” otherwise, the individual is classified as a “leaver.” For a given arrival
cohort to a province (e.g. immigrants landing in Manitoba in 2000), the retention
rate for each subsequent year is computed as the ratio of stayers to the total number
of individuals in the cohort. Hence our retention rate is the percentage of tax-filing
immigrants within an arrival year cohort that filed taxes in the original destination
Given that our data set only includes immigrants that filed taxes, concerns arise
16To ensure data confidentiality, Statistics Canada requires that the number of people in a cell
and any sums used in the denominator to produce means and proportions are randomly rounded to
fives. The closer a number is to the nearest five, the greater the probability it is rounded to that
number; otherwise, it is rounded to the next closest five. For example, the number ‘149’ would be
rounded to 150 80% of the time and 145 20% of the time, while the number ‘150’ would be reported
as is. Sums used is the denominator to compute standard deviations and parameter estimates arising
from regression models are not subject to rounding.
17The analysis was performed using SAS, with programs written by an analyst with Statistics
Canada. We maintained regular contact with the analyst as the request was being developed and
carefully checked all code to insure that it met the specifications of our request.The programs used
to generate the data underlying this section and the models in section 4 are available upon request.
18For our earnings analysis, we only include those individuals reporting positive earnings.
with regards to coverage. In Table 2, we report the percentage of principal applicants
arriving in each year between 1998 and 2005 that filed taxes for the first full tax
year after the landing year. These numbers are reported separately for Nominees and
ECIs. In excess of 80 % of Nominees landing in Canada filed taxes for the first tax
year after arrival. For ECIs, the numbers are somewhat lower, but generally above 70
%. While these rates may seem low, it should be noted that a considerable portion of
immigrants leave Canada within a year of their arrival. Using data from the Census
and the IMDB, Aydemir and Robinson (2008) found that during the 1990s, a fifth of
male immigrants left Canada within the first five years after arrival. The majority
of these departures happened within the first year after arrival and occurred with
greater likelihood for ECIs. Although there is no way for us to distinguish between
those that migrated from Canada and those that remained but did not file taxes, the
findings of Aydemir and Robinson suggest that almost all immigrants that remain in
Canada file taxes for the first full year after landing and are included in our data.
Table 2: Filing rates for the first full tax year after arrival, by
immigrant category, principal applicants, 1998–2005 arrival
Year of Nominees ECIs
1998 n/a 76.1
1999 92.7 78.6
2000 92.4 80.7
2001 85.4 80.8
2002 85.3 76.7
2003 87.9 74.5
2004 86.3 73.5
2005 82.9 69.9
Source: Authors’ calculations using custom tabulations from the IMDB and figures
from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2008).
3.2 Preliminary Results
In Table 3, we present summary statistics on selected characteristics of immigrants
for two periods (1994-99 and 2000-05) and three regions of Canada (the Atlantic
provinces, Manitoba, and the Rest of Canada).19 The latter period corresponds
roughly with the increased utilization of the PNP. We chose these geographic group-
ings on the basis of common features of the programs within regions. In the Atlantic
region, the Nominee programs are intended to boost population growth by attracting
and retaining immigrants to provinces that have traditionally struggled to do so. Al-
though the intention of the programs was similar, the programs did vary by province.
For example, unlike the other three Atlantic provinces, P.E.I. initially only offered
an investor stream. Despite these differences, grouping these provinces together was
necessitated by the small number of Nominees that entered Canada through one of
the programs offered in the region.20 While Manitoba also uses its program primarily
to boost its population, the number of Nominees was large enough during our study
period that it can be evaluated separately. For the remaining three provinces, the
primary use of the programs has been to allow employers to recruit immigrants to
fill job vacancies in defined occupations. In what follows, we refer to this group of
provinces as ‘the Rest Of Canada.’ Again, this grouping is necessitated by the small
scale of the programs in these province during the period for which we have data. As
the first row of Table 3 indicates, 68.4% of principal applicants landing in Manitoba
during the later period came through the PNP. In contrast, roughly a fifth of principal
applicants landing in Atlantic Canada and less than 1% of principal applicants in the
remaining five provinces were Nominees.
It is well known that economic immigrants have become increasingly more edu-
cated over time (Ferrer and Riddell, 2008). This pattern is confirmed in our data
set, where for all provinces, except Manitoba, the percentage of new arrivals with a
university degree increased from about 62% in the 1994-99 period to roughly three
quarters for the 2000-05 period. In sharp contrast, just over half of immigrants to
Manitoba in the latter period had a university degree, representing a decline from the
former period. The percentage of recent immigrants to Manitoba that held no more
than a high school diploma was also higher than the rest of the country.
For Manitoba, the introduction of the PNP has coincided with a doubling in the
proportion of principal applicants that speak neither English or French. Except for
the Atlantic provinces, all parts of Canada have experienced an increase in principal
19Given the maturity and size of its Nominee program, we analyze Manitoba separately. The
Atlantic provinces are Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and
Nova Scotia.
20Between 1999 and 2005, there were 555 principal applicants that landed in Atlantic Canada and
filed taxes in the subsequent year. For Manitoba and the Rest of Canada, the figures were 4400 and
1650, respectively.
Table 3: Selected Characteristics and Outcomes of Principal
Applicants, by Region and Period
Atlantic Manitoba Rest of Canada
1994-99 2000-05 1994-99 2000-05 1994-99 2000-05
Provincial Nominees 0 20.4 7.7 68.4 0 0.7
(% of Principal Applicants)
I. Education
University 64.2 74.7 63.7 54.6 61.8 80
P.S. diploma 18.7 18.7 22.5 33.9 25.5 16.3
H.S. or less 17 6.8 14.8 11.3 12.7 3.7
II. Source region
Europe 16.1 21.3 30.8 27.7 25.8 21.4
Asia 38.8 36 53.3 54.8 52 52.5
United States 5.6 6.1 2.8 0.9 1.7 1
Africa 38.2 33.9 11.4 10.9 16.5 19.8
South/Central America 1.6 3.7 3.9 5.6 4 5.2
III. Official languages spoken
English 78.6 76.3 83.4 70.7 72.1 56.9
French 1.3 1.7 0.9 0.8 5 5.5
Both 5.6 12.1 3.6 3 8.7 16.9
Neither 14.7 9.9 12.5 25.4 14.1 20.8
IV. Other Demographics
Age at landing 38.9 38.2 35.4 36 35.5 35.1
Male 83.2 76.3 72.8 77.3 74.5 74.7
V. Earnings
Reported Employment 53.3 65.3 79.6 88.8 70.2 75.6
Reported Earnings 61.4 74.9 86.3 92.2 75.4 79.9
Average Earnings 26300 33500 24700 24500 25800 24100
One Year Retention 40.2 64.8 63.3 80.6 82.7 87.5
Observations 3980 2725 3105 6310 175985 248185
Source: Custom tabulations from the IMDB. Note: Includes all principal applicants
that landed through either the national economic class or PNP programs that filed
taxes in the year after the landing year. Average earnings are reported in 2002
dollars and are conditional on having positive earnings.
applicants speaking neither official language. There were no major changes between
the two periods in terms of the source regions, average age and gender of principal
Average earnings for immigrants rose in Atlantic Canada but were either stagnant
or fell in the rest of the country. Outside of Manitoba, the decline, although consistent
with other findings on immigrant earnings over the same time frame, is still some
what surprising, given conventional notions about the relationship between earnings
and educational attainment (Picot, 2008). Average earnings in Manitoba were fairly
steady, despite a shift from entrants with university degrees to entrants with post-
secondary diplomas. Retention rates one year after arrival, compared to the rest
of Canada, were low in both Manitoba and Atlantic Canada during the late 1990s.
However, they increased in all provinces after 2000, with particularly large gains seen
in both Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces.
Table 4: Selected Characteristics and Short-term Outcomes, by
Region and Immigration Class, 2000-05
Atlantic Manitoba Rest of Canada
PNP Economic PNP Economic PNP Economic
I. Education
University 57.7 79.0 43.8 77.9 52.3 80.2
P.S. Diploma 31.5 15.5 42.0 16.5 38.8 16.2
H.S. or less 10.8 5.8 14.4 4.8 9.0 3.7
II. Official languages spoken
English 73.9 77.0 67.5 77.4 79.5 56.7
French 1.1 1.8 0.2 1.7 0.0 5.5
Both 12.6 12.0 1.8 5.8 6.7 17.0
Neither 13.5 9.0 30.4 14.8 15.8 20.9
III. One year outcomes
Reported earnings 70.3 76.0 94.1 88.2 88.7 79.8
Average earnings 42600 31300 23700 26400 55700 23800
One Year Retention 62.2 65.4 86.5 67.7 86.2 87.6
N 555 2170 4315 1995 1635 246550
To explore the differences in characteristics between ECIs and Nominees, in Table
4, we compare characteristics, earnings and retention rates for immigrants that en-
tered through the two programs one year after landing, using the same three regions
but only the 2000-05 period. For Manitoba, the one-year retention rates of Nominees
were substantially higher than those for ECIs, suggesting that provincial immigration
officials were successful in identifying applicants likely to settle within the province.
For Atlantic Canada, nominees and ECIs had similar retention rates, which suggests
that the increased retention rates between the periods 1995-99 and 2000-05 (Table
3) were not a result of improved selection of immigrants through the Nominee pro-
grams. For the Rest of Canada, where retention rates are relatively high, there was
no difference between Nominees and ECIs.
In terms of educational attainment, Nominees in all three regions were substan-
tially less likely to hold a university degree than ECIs landing in the same period.
The lower educational attainment of Nominees was not associated with a decline in
entry earnings; for all regions other than Manitoba, Nominees had real earnings in
the first full year after arrival that were substantially above those of ECIs. In Man-
itoba earnings of Nominees were comparable to those of ECIs within the province,
even though Nominees were substantially less educated and about 30% spoke neither
official language prior to landing.21
The summary statistics discussed thus far provide some important insights into
the differences in characteristics of nominees and ECIs. However, to compare the
outcomes of immigrants arriving through the two programs, we need to account for
differences in characteristics of immigrants in the two groups. This is of particular
importance with regards to earnings, as by themselves, the differences in human
capital characteristics of the two groups would be expected to result in differences in
earnings. In the next Section we estimate regression models to evaluate the differences
in earnings and the probability of provincial retention between Nominees and ECIs
after controlling for observable differences between the two groups.
4 Earnings and Retention
We evaluate the earnings and retention rates of Nominees by comparing them with
those of observationally equivalent ECIs. To do so, we estimate models of the form:
Yit =Xitβ+δMM P N Pit +δOT H OP N Pit +δAtlO P NPit ·Atlanticit +γt+λr+²it,(1)
where Yit is the outcome of interest for individual iin year t. The two outcomes of
21These findings are similar to those of Li (forthcoming), who use the LIDS to compare the
educational attainment and knowledge of official languages of PNP and ECI principal applicants
arriving between 2001 and 2005. While Li also finds that Nominees were significantly less likely to
have a university degree or know an official language, he does not break the differences down by
regions or examine subsequent outcomes.
interest that we consider are: 1) earnings, defined as the natural logarithm of real
earnings, expressed in 2002 dollars, and 2) retention, defined as the probability of re-
maining in the original destination province, based on the “stayer” variable described
in Section 3. Xit is a vector of observed personal characteristics including marital
status, educational attainment, the ability to speak one or more official language,
source region and other characteristics will be specified in what follows. To allow
for persistent differences in outcomes across regions, we include regional fixed effects,
λr. To control for the business cycle and other systematic changes affecting outcomes
that are common to all regions, we include year effects, γt. The year effects will
also control for changes to the selection criteria and administration of the national
program, where it is assumed that these changes will influence the outcomes in all
provinces identically.
We divide individuals arriving through Nominee programs into three groups based
on the region to which they were originally destined. M P N Pit indicates that an in-
dividual is a Manitoba Nominee. OP N Pit indicates that an individual is a Nominee
of another province (“Other PNP”). The OPNP term is interacted with a variable
indicating whether or not an individual landed in Atlantic Canada. With the ex-
ception of the Atlantic region, the coefficients for Nominees measure the difference
in the outcome between Nominees and ECIs that were destined for the same region
but are otherwise observationally equivalent. For Atlantic Canada, the difference is
found by adding the coefficient for the OP N P variable, δOT H and the coefficient on
the interaction term, δAT L.
4.1 Earnings
For earnings, equation (1) was estimated separately for men and women. In our main
specification, we included individuals with all levels of education, controlling for the
differences using dummy variables based on three broad educational categories: (i)
high school or less, (ii) post-secondary diploma and (iii) university degree. We also
estimated earnings regressions separately for individuals in each educational group.
In what follows, we focus on men, as they make up at least 75% of principal applicants
in each year between 1980 and 2006.
Table 5 presents the results obtained by estimating our model using real earnings in
the first and second full year after arrival as the dependent variable. These results were
obtained by including men with all levels of educational attainment. The signs of the
estimated coefficients on variables other than the Nominee terms are similar to those
found in other studies on immigrant earnings. Higher levels of educational attainment
are associated with higher earnings. Age, often viewed as a proxy for labour force
experience, is related to earnings according to a concave quadratic function. The
year effects indicate a general deterioration in earnings since 1980. As we are looking
at earnings one year after arrival, this is consistent with the finding of others that
entry earnings of Canadian immigrants have been deteriorating over the last quarter
century (Aydemir and Skuterud, 2005). Immigrants coming from parts of the world
outside of Europe and the U.S. have worse earnings outcomes, perhaps reflecting
either difficulties in obtaining recognition for foreign experience (Ferrer and Riddell,
2008) or racial discrimination (Skuterud, forthcoming).
The coefficient on the Manitoba Nominee variable is positive and statistically
significant. The point estimate of 0.329 indicates that compared to equivalent ECIs,
the average earnings of Nominees in the first full year after arrival were approximately
39% higher. The results for other Nominee programs are even larger, with point
estimates of 0.493 for Atlantic Canada and 0.682 for the rest of Canada. These
results indicate that after accounting for differences in characteristics, Nominees in
these regions had earnings one year after arrival that were on average 69% higher in
Atlantic Canada and 98% higher in the rest of Canada, than those of comparable
ECIs. The results for the second year after arrival, while similar, are somewhat
Table 6 presents the coefficient estimates for the various programs when the model
is estimated separately for each educational grouping of male principal applicants. We
also present the results for female principal applicants. For men, the point estimates
indicate that in Manitoba, Nominees with lower levels of educational attainment saw
the largest advantage in earnings in the first full year after landing; estimates range
from 0.469 for those with up to a high school diploma to 0.224 for those with a uni-
versity degree. For Nominees of Atlantic Canada, the differentials for those with less
than a high school and a post-secondary diploma are 0.078 and 0.115 respectively,
which are substantially smaller than the differentials for Manitoba Nominees. The
university educated in Atlantic Canada fared much better, with an average log earn-
ings differential of 0.700. For the rest of Canada, Nominees with a university degree
exhibited the largest difference, with earnings 0.932 log points above their ECI coun-
terparts. The differentials for high school and post-secondary Nominees to this region
were comparable to those for Manitoba Nominees.
The results for men for all educational groups in the second full year after arrival
are similar to those for the first full year after arrival, though the earnings differential
between Nominees and ECIs tends to be somewhat attenuated for all regions and
educational groups that we consider. One possible explanation for this finding is that
Nominees find better initial job matches than ECIs, but that ECIs are eventually able
to find better matches over time.
The results for women are similar to those for men. Manitoba Nominees do better
than Manitoba ECIs, with the differential being relatively uniform across Nominees
of differing educational attainment. For Nominee programs in the rest of Canada,
excluding Atlantic Canada, the differential tends to increase with education. However,
for women with a post-secondary diploma landing through a nominee program, the
earnings differential is substantially higher than for men. It should be noted that
there are relatively few female Nominees in the lowest educational category, which
accounts for the large standard errors on the estimates. For female Nominees of the
Atlantic provinces, the differentials again tend to be less than for Nominees to the rest
of Canada. However, again, the size of this group is relatively small, leading to large
standard errors of the estimates. Finally, there is some tendency for the differentials
to shrink between the first and second year, albeit at a slower rate than for men.
In sum, we find that immigrants entering through one of the Provincial Nominee
Programs had higher earnings in the first and second year after immigration than
observationally equivalent immigrants entering through the federal Economic Class
program. The earnings differentials for Nominees, however, vary by education and
region. For Manitoba Nominees, the differential was the largest for the less educated
group, while in the Atlantic provinces and the rest of Canada, it was the largest
for the most educated Nominees. These differences may be due to differences in the
demand for labour skills across provinces in Canada; for Manitoba there may be
more demand for low skilled immigrants while for the rest of Canada demand may
be higher for high skilled immigrants. Alternatively, outside of Manitoba, Nominees
were generally required to have a job offer to be eligible for admission. Job offers
may have provided the greatest benefits to the most educated immigrants. Such an
offer would likely be contingent on recognition by a Canadian employer of a potential
immigrant’s foreign educational credentials. By virtue of having more human capital,
well-educated immigrants would stand to gain the most from a good job match.
4.1.1 Earnings Profiles of Manitoba Immigrants
To examine earnings outcomes past the first two years, we estimate a variant of the
equation (1) in which we include earnings in the entry year and subsequent years. As
our primary interest is in the outcome of Nominees, we restrict our attention to the
post-PNP period (1996-2006). We examine earnings profiles of PNPs and ECIS to
Manitoba, as this was the only nominee program that was large enough in the first
few years to provide a reliable data to examine longer term outcomes.We include only
those individuals that remain in Manitoba (stayers). We add variables to the model
that explicitly allow earnings to change with years since landing (Y SL). Further,
the slope of the earnings profile is allowed to different by immigration class. The
regression equation we estimate is given by:
Yitτ =Xitβ+δτM P N Pit +α·Y SLit +φM P N Pit ·Y SLi+κ·Y SL2
it +γτ+²it,(2)
where tindicates the tax year, and τindicates the landing year. The intercept is
allowed to vary by year of entry for both immigration classes. In addition, the slope
of the earnings profiles varies by entry category, but is restricted to be constant across
the entire period. With the exception of the years since landing variables, the control
variables are the same as in Table 5.
The results from estimating equation (2) are presented in Table 7. Consistent with
the literature on economic integration, immigrant earnings increase with years since
landing, with steeper profiles for immigrants with a university degree. For University
educated immigrants, not speaking English is associated with lower earnings. The
difference is particularly large for French speakers. Although English is the language
used by the majority of Manitobans, it is unclear why immigrants speaking neither
official tongue fare better than francophones, after adjusting for other differences.
The difference between Nominees and ECIs, after adjusting for other differences,
varies by education. For immigrants with up to a post-secondary education, the null
hypothesis that earnings were identical between comparable Nominees and ECIs in
a given landing was rejected at a 0.05 level of significance in favor of the alternative
hypothesis that Nominees have higher earnings for all years except 2006. In no year
was the alternative that the ECIs had higher earnings accepted in place of the null.
The statistically significant differences range from a low of 0.12 log points in 1999 to
a high of 0.67 log points in 2003.
For University educated immigrants, the same hypothesis was rejected in favor of
Nominees having the higher earnings in the landing years in 2000, 2001, and 2002 (5
percent level of significance) The point estimates of the differences in the years ranged
from 0.13 log points (2002) to 0.45 log points (2001). For the year 2003, the earnings
of university educated Nominees lagged those of comparable ECIs by 0.14 points, a
significant difference. For the remaining years, the differences in entry earnings were
not significantly different.
There is weak evidence that for both education groups Nominees experienced
slower earnings growth than ECIs. In each case, the difference is only significantly
different at the 0.10 level. The point estimates of the coefficient on the interaction
between years since landing and Nominee status indicate that for those immigrants
with less than a university degree, Nominees experienced earnings growth that lagged
that of comparable ECIs by 0.019 log points per annum. For those with university
degrees, the comparable figure is 0.023 log points.
The earnings profiles for Manitoba are consistent with our earlier findings. After
adjusting for other differences, within broad educational categories, Nominees have
higher earnings than ECIs. However, for the most educated, these differences are
only evident in the first few years of the program, after which the outcomes converge
to those of ECIs. For the less educated group, the advantage persists until the 2005
entry cohort, at which point the outcomes of the two groups begin to converge. While
entry earnings are similar or higher for Nominees in both education groups, we find
evidence that Nominees have flatter earnings profiles than ECIs.
4.2 Retention
To evaluate differences in retention between ECIs and Nominees, we estimated probit
models of retention one and two years after arrival, in which the probability of staying
in the province of landing depends on personal characteristics, the program through
which entry was gained, and provincial and year fixed effects. Personal characteristics
consist of gender, age of arrival, educational attainment, knowledge of one or more
official languages, marital status and source region. As with the earnings equations,
we distinguish between Nominees of Manitoba, the Atlantic Region and the rest of
The estimates obtained when individuals with all three levels of education are
pooled together are presented in Table 8. As one would expect, we find that im-
migrants with greater educational attainment are more mobile while those arriving
later in life are less likely to move.22 Further, immigrants speaking French are more
likely to remain in Quebec than English speaking immigrants, but less likely to stay
in other provinces. In addition, the regional fixed effects indicate that relative to
Ontario, the Atlantic provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and, to a lesser degree,
Alberta, all struggle to retain immigrants.23
The year effects indicate that retention across Canada began falling for immigrants
arriving in the late 1980s. This decline continued for subsequent entrants until the
late 1990s, when it reversed. Conditional retention rates for immigrants landing in
the 2000s were significantly higher than for those landing in the 1990s. The higher
retention rates may reflect the strong labour market conditions that prevailed across
Canada during the latter period.
The coefficient for Manitoba Nominees indicates that they were more likely than
ECIs to remain in the province one and two years after arrival. In the rest of Canada,
Nominees had lower conditional retention rates than ECIs. This is true of the Atlantic
provinces as well, where the combined coefficients for “Other Nominees” and the
interaction terms for Atlantic Canada are negative.
To aid with the interpretation of our results, we calculated the fitted probability
of retention for Nominees and ECIs for various regions in Canada. This required
choosing a reference type, as the fitted values are conditional probabilities. Given
the characteristics of economic immigrants in general and Nominees in particular
(Tables 3 and 4), we used a single male, 35 years of age, immigrating from Europe
and speaking English as our reference. Further, given the emphasis on post-secondary
diplomas by the PNPs in all regions, for the model where all educational categories
were included, the fitted probability is conditional on having this level of education.
As we are interested in a period in which the various PNPs existed, we use the
year effect for 2002. For this exercise, we chose three regions: Manitoba, British
Columbia, and Atlantic Canada; over our study period, these three regions were the
three largest users of the Nominee Programs, accounting for 66.5, 8.8 and 8.7 per cent
of all Nominees admitted during this period (Table 1).24
The fitted probabilities are presented in Table 9. The first set of results, labeled as
22This mirrors the findings of Ostrovsky et al. (2008), who also found that highly educated immi-
grants to Canadaa exhibited the greatest subsequent mobility.
23The coefficient for Quebec must be interpreted with care, since it applies to English-speaking
immigrants, and the majority of immigrants to Quebec are French speaking. The French language
coefficient summed with the coefficient on the Quebec-French language interaction more than offsets
the Quebec fixed effects.
24These figures include spouses and dependents of Nominees.
“pooled,” are derived from the regression results in Table 8. The remaining results, for
different levels of education attainment, were obtained from estimating models using
the same set of controls but only including individuals with the specified level of
education. Of the three regions, British Columbia had the highest one-year retention
rates for ECIs, regardless of the level of education. One year rates in B.C. varied
from 87 percent for university education to 97 percent for those with a high school
education. In comparison, retention rates in Atlantic Canada were substantially lower,
with rates between 64 (university educated) and 73 percent (post-secondary diploma).
Manitoba fell in between the two regions, with one year retention rates between 72
percent (university educated) and 87 percent (high school educated).
For Manitoba, Nominees were on average 10 percent points more likely than com-
parable ECIs to stay in the first full year after arrival. An increase of roughly this
magnitude is observed for all levels of education for the province. However, nominees
to British Columbia and Atlantic Canada had retention rates that were generally
either similar to or below those of comparable ECIs. In British Columbia, the dif-
ferences were generally small, with less than a 5 percentage point difference in the
probability of staying in the province for any educational group. In Atlantic Canada,
the differences varied widely by educational level. However, given the relatively small
number of Nominees within this region, the results by education groups for Atlantic
Canada must be interpreted with caution. Nonetheless, the results provide no evi-
dence that immigrants chosen through one of the Atlantic Nominee programs were
more likely to remain in the region than similar ECIs. Even though retention rates
are universally lower in the second year, similar results are obtained for the various
regions and immigration categories when using the two year retention rates.
To summarize, compared to equivalent ECIs, Manitoba Nominees were more likely
to stay in the province, regardless of educational attainment. This was not the case
for Nominees to other provinces, including those to Atlantic Canada. This finding
suggests that the selection process of the Manitoba PNP has been the most successful
in identifying immigrants that will settle within the province.
5 Discussion and Conclusion
Provincial Nominee Programs are expected to become an increasingly important part
of immigration policy. The CIC anticipates that by 2012, roughly a third of all
economic immigration to Canada will take place through one of these programs.
Given the rising importance of these programs, selection of immigrants is gradually
being transferred from the federal government to the provinces. We compared the
earnings of ECIs to Nominees to determine whether Nominees were more successful
at becoming established within the Canadian economy. Based on a regression model
of earnings for the first full tax year after arrival, our results indicate that Nominees
had substantially higher earnings. In Manitoba, we find that Nominees had earnings
that were 39% higher than ECIs, after controlling for differences in characteristics.
In Atlantic Canada, earnings were 69% higher, while in the rest of Canada, earnings
were 98% higher. Employer sponsored categories, in which a job offer is required
for eligibility, played a prominent role in all the Nominee programs. As Nominees
generally have jobs lined up when they arrive, this likely explains why they had higher
earnings than ECIs. With regards to earnings profiles, based on data for immigrants
to Manitoba, we find that even though Nominees had higher entry earnings, their
earnings profiles were flatter than those for ECIs. This suggests that the advantage
that Nominees from better job matches disappears over time as ECIs catch up.
We also compared retention rates, after controlling for differences in immigrant
characteristics between programs. Our results were mixed: Manitoba Nominees had
substantially higher retention rates than their ECI counterparts, while in the Atlantic
provinces and the rest of Canada, retention rates were similar for immigrants arriving
through the two programs. While retention rates were high in general for the rest of
Canada, only two-thirds of immigrants landing in Atlantic Canada were still in this
region a year later. These findings are somewhat surprising, given that Nominees in
Atlantic Canada had higher earnings relative to ECIs than Nominees in Manitoba.
This suggests that improved earnings may not be enough to increase retention in
regions that have typically struggled to retain immigrants. Other considerations,
such as family connections or the existence of established immigrant communities,
may play a stronger role in influencing the decision to permanently settle in the
receiving community (Derwing and Krahn, 2008).
Our findings should be viewed as a preliminary attempt to understand the im-
plications of the Nominee programs for immigrants and the provinces that sponsor
them, given the diversity, small scale and brief existence of these programs. Nominee
programs differ across provinces in terms of the categories within the programs and
the emphasis on these categories. Since we could not identify Nominees on the basis
of the category through which entry was gained, we were unable to attribute any of
the difference in outcomes to differences in the actual programs. For example, unlike
other provinces, Manitoba operated a general stream in which a job offer was not
required but having strong ties to family in the province was important. Does the
existence and use of this category account for the lower relative earnings and higher
retention rates of Manitoba Nominees? Also, although the programs were small dur-
ing our study period, they are expected to expand rapidly in the next few years.
If the numbers are to increase as expected, will the emphasis still be on admitting
immigrants with job offers? If not, would this have an impact on the entry earnings
of Nominees as a smaller percentage of Nominees arrive with a job in hand? Finally,
in Atlantic Canada, retention of Nominees was relatively low. If more immigrants are
drawn to this region, but subsequently migrate to other provinces, what implications
will this have for the receiving provinces? In particular, given that settlement and
other social services are provided provided at the provincial level, will the migration
of Nominees have an effect on such services in the receiving provinces?
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Table 5: Earnings Equation for Men, One and Two Years After
One Year Two Year
I. Nominee program
Manitoba 0.329 (0.022)0.310 (0.026)
Other 0.682 (0.033)0.577 (0.043)
Other ×Atlantic -0.187 (0.072)-0.103 (0.099)
II. Educational Attainment (relative to high school or less)
P.S. Diploma 0.089 (0.006)0.126 (0.006)
University Degree 0.204 (0.006)0.300 (0.006)
III. Age and Marital Status (relative to single)
Married 0.127 (0.004)0.140 (0.004)
Age 0.019 (0.002)0.033 (0.002)
Age squared -0.0003 (0.0000)-0.001 (0.000)
IV. Official Languages Spoken (relative to English only)
French -0.363 (0.022)-0.330 (0.022)
Both -0.030 (0.009)-0.028 (0.009)
Neither -0.332 (0.005)-0.319 (0.005)
French ×Quebec 0.070 (0.024)0.066 (0.024)
Both ×Quebec -0.085 (0.012)-0.033 (0.012)
Neither ×Quebec -0.098 (0.013)-0.078 (0.012)
V. Source Region (relative to Europe)
Africa -0.443 (0.005)-0.408 (0.005)
Asia -0.435 (0.004)-0.425 (0.005)
Americas -0.223 (0.008)-0.208 (0.008)
United States 0.355 (0.011)0.248 (0.011)
source uc -0.167 (0.119) -0.126 (0.116)
VI. Region Taxes Filed From (Relative to Ontario / From CMA)
CMA 0.000 (0.007) 0.033 (0.007)
Atlantic -0.083 (0.015)-0.114 (0.015)
Quebec -0.344 (0.008)-0.349 (0.007)
Manitoba -0.136 (0.013)-0.153 (0.014)
Saskatchewan -0.040 (0.019)-0.024 (0.020)
Alberta 0.067 (0.006)0.059 (0.006)
BC -0.103 (0.005)-0.121 (0.005)
Territories 0.269 (0.083)0.244 (0.075)
VII. Year of Landing (relative to 1981)
1985 -0.292 (0.018)-0.181 (0.018)
1990 -0.502 (0.013)-0.422 (0.013)
1995 -0.697 (0.013)-0.448 (0.013)
2000 -0.492 (0.012)-0.432 (0.012)
2005 -0.626 (0.013)-0.456 (0.013)
N 395454 378877
Notes: Significant at .01 level. Significant at .05 level. The dependant variable is the
log of real earnings. Year effects are only reported for select years.
Table 6: PNP Relative Earnings of Nominees, By Gender and
Education, One and Two Years after Landing
H.S. or less P.S. Diploma University All
I. Men, One Year
Manitoba 0.4690.2800.2240.329
(0.048) (0.034) (0.037) (0.022)
Other 0.4120.3420.9320.682
(0.09) (0.05) (0.05) (0.033)
Other ×Atlantic -0.334 -0.227 -0.232-0.187
(0.184) (0.116) (0.103) (0.072)
I. Men, Two years
Manitoba 0.3620.2500.2150.310
(0.058) (0.038) (0.043) (0.026)
Other 0.2750.2960.7710.577
(0.12) (0.063) (0.064) (0.043)
Other ×Atlantic -0.404 -0.5240.067 -0.103
(0.271) (0.16) (0.14) (0.099)
II. Women, One year
Manitoba 0.2140.2450.2700.284
(0.078) (0.085) (0.057) (0.040)
Other -0.293 0.9911.1391.104
(0.284) (0.108) (0.082) (0.062)
Other ×Atlantic 0.807 -1.361-0.708-0.835
(0.49) (0.237) (0.187) (0.139)
III. Women, Two years
Manitoba 0.2360.1550.2620.261
(0.085) (0.100) (0.066) (0.046)
Rest 0.249 0.9960.9470.995
(0.462) (0.145) (0.102) (0.08)
Rest ×Atlantic -0.319 -0.980-0.513-0.652
(0.653) (0.325) (0.229) (0.175)
Notes: Significant at .01 level. Significant at .05 level. The dependant variable is
the log of real earnings.
Table 7: Relative Earnings of Manitoba Provincial Nominees, By
Education: 1999-2006
H.S. or P.S. Diploma University
Intercept 9.313 (0.069)*** 10.064 (0.070)***
Male 0.226 (0.025)*** 0.143 (0.018)***
MPNP 0.124 (0.064)* -0.061 (0.075)
P.S. Diploma 0.178 (0.019)***
Married 0.105 (0.021)*** 0.030 (0.020)
Age at arrival -0.006 (0.001)*** -0.007 (0.001)***
French -0.474 (0.104)*** -0.853 (0.118)***
Both -0.142 (0.061)** -0.101 (0.050)**
Neither -0.056 (0.018)*** -0.191 (0.026)***
Filed in Winnipeg 0.14 (0.022)*** -0.305 (0.035)***
Source Region (Relative to Europe)
Africa 0.083 (0.033)** 0.135 (0.034)***
Asia -0.087 (0.022)*** -0.024 (0.025)
Americas 0.167 (0.038)*** 0.243 (0.039)***
US 0.583 (0.081)*** 0.562 (0.064)***
Landing Year (Relative to 1999)
2000 -0.175 (0.046)*** -0.061 (0.036)*
2001 -0.211 (0.054)*** 0.041 (0.038)
2002 -0.099 (0.060)* -0.092 (0.042)**
2003 -0.485 (0.078)*** 0.159 (0.044)***
2004 0.050 (0.083) 0.106 (0.052)**
2005 -0.016 (0.117) 0.106 (0.057)*
2006 0.107 (0.188) -0.037 (0.097)
MPNP X 2000 0.313 (0.064)*** 0.340 (0.073)***
MPNP X 2001 0.369 (0.073)*** 0.511 (0.078)***
MPNP X 2002 0.231 (0.076)*** 0.194 (0.077)**
MPNP X 2003 0.542 (0.090)*** -0.080 (0.074)
MPNP X 2004 0.026 (0.095) 0.042 (0.080)
MPNP X 2005 0.121 (0.127) 0.122 (0.085)
MPNP X 2006 -0.041 (0.195) 0.152 (0.117)
YSL 0.119 (0.021)*** 0.177 (0.020)***
YSL2-0.008 (0.002)*** -0.010 (0.002)***
MPNP X YSL -0.019 (0.011)* -0.023 (0.012)*
N 9487 11095
R20.074 0.09
Notes: ***Significant at 0.01 level. **Significant at 0.05 level. *Significant at 0.10 level. The
dependant variable is the log of real earnings.
Table 8: One and Two Year Models of Retention
One Year Two Year
I. Nominee program
Manitoba 0.449 (0.027)0.509 (0.03)
Other -0.108 (0.039)-0.134 (0.047)
Other ×Atlantic 0.020 (0.068) 0.119 (0.088)
II. Educational Attainment - Relative to H.S. or Less
Diploma -0.157 (0.007)-0.165 (0.007)
University -0.283 (0.007)-0.310 (0.007)
III. Gender, Marital Status, And Age of Arrival
Male -0.049 (0.005)-0.054 (0.005)
Married -0.067 (0.005)-0.060 (0.005)
Age of Arrival 0.003 (0.000)0.004 (0.000)
IV. Official Languages Spoken - Relative to English only
French -0.630 (0.024)-0.638 (0.024)
Both -0.394 (0.010)-0.407 (0.010)
Neither -0.082 (0.006)-0.079 (0.006)
French ×Quebec 1.667 (0.028)1.691 (0.028)
Both ×Quebec 1.061 (0.015)1.126 (0.015)
Neither ×Quebec -0.160 (0.014)-0.141 (0.014)
V. Source Region - Relative to Europe
Africa -0.252 (0.007)-0.233 (0.007)
Asia -0.356 (0.006)-0.352 (0.006)
Americas 0.002 (0.011) 0.024 (0.011)
United States 0.295 (0.016)0.269 (0.016)
Unknown -0.225 (0.14) -0.138 (0.141)
VI. Destination Region - Relative to Ontario
Atlantic -1.146 (0.013)-1.237 (0.013)
Quebec -0.801 (0.010)-0.855 (0.010)
Saskatchewan -1.076 (0.017)-1.220 (0.017)
Manitoba -0.829 (0.013)-0.915 (0.013)
Alberta -0.584 (0.007)-0.635 (0.007)
B.C. -0.256 (0.006)-0.271 (0.006)
VII. Year of Landing - Relative to 1980
1985 0.220 (0.026)0.181 (0.024)
1990 -0.025 (0.018) -0.027 (0.018)
1995 -0.271 (0.017)-0.236 (0.011)
2000 -0.215 (0.016)-0.184 (0.016)
2005 0.163 (0.017)
Intercept 3.879 (0.376)4.052 (0.361)
N 674792 633288
Notes: Significant at .01 level. Significant at .05 level. Standard errors in
Table 9: Fitted Retention Rates, By Education, Region and Entry
I. Pooled (Post-secondary Diploma)
1 year 2 year
ECI Nominee ECI Nominee
Manitoba 0.79 0.90 0.75 0.88
B.C. 0.92 0.90 0.91 0.88
Atlantic 0.69 0.66 0.64 0.64
II. High School or Less
1 year 2 year
ECI Nominee ECI Nominee
Manitoba 0.87 0.94 0.82 0.93
B.C. 0.97 0.92 0.96 0.88
Atlantic 0.67 0.59 0.62 0.39
III. Post-secondary diploma
1 year 2 year
ECI Nominee ECI Nominee
Manitoba 0.81 0.88 0.78 0.87
B.C. 0.94 0.88 0.93 0.86
Atlantic 0.73 0.58 0.7 0.49
IV. University Degree
1 Year 2 Year
ECI Nominee ECI Nominee
Manitoba 0.72 0.89 0.67 0.85
B.C. 0.87 0.90 0.85 0.88
Atlantic 0.64 0.68 0.57 0.64
... To do so, we compare the level of overeducation among high-skilled immigrants admitted under different admission mechanisms in Canada. Although most skilled immigrants to Canada are admitted through the point system, there are other mechanisms through which immigrants are jointly selected by employers and the point system (Pandey and Townsend 2011). Different selection mechanisms have distinct consequences for the alignment between labormarket supply and demand for skilled workers and, hence, the risk of overeducation among immigrants. ...
... To assess the role of employer selection in matching educated immigrants with labor-market demand, this article compares the overeducation level between skilled immigrants admitted through different mechanisms in Canada. Although most skilled immigrants to Canada are admitted through the point system, there are other mechanisms, such as the Canadian experience class (CEC), in which immigrants are jointly selected by employers and the point system (Pandey and Townsend 2011). The CEC is not strictly the same as the US two-step employer-sponsored immigration system but is recognizably similar. ...
... The CEC is not strictly the same as the US two-step employer-sponsored immigration system but is recognizably similar. Introduced in 2008, the CEC targets skilled temporary foreign workers or international students who have held a high-skilled job in Canada for at least one year before applying for permanent residency (Pandey and Townsend 2011). Having worked for Canadian employers, CEC applicants then go through the point system for permanent residency. ...
Why do high-skilled Canadian immigrants lag behind their US counterparts in labor-market outcomes, despite Canada’s merit-based immigration selection system and more integrative context? This article investigates a mismatch between immigrants’ education and occupations, operationalized by overeducation, as an explanation. Using comparable data and three measures of overeducation, we find that university-educated immigrant workers in Canada are consistently much more likely to be overeducated than their US peers and that the immigrant–native gap in the overeducation rate is remarkably higher in Canada than in the United States. This article further examines how the cross-national differences are related to labor-market structures and selection mechanisms for immigrants. Whereas labor-market demand reduces the likelihood of immigrant overeducation in both countries, the role of supply-side factors varies: a higher supply of university-educated immigrants is positively associated with the likelihood of overeducation in Canada, but not in the United States, pointing to an oversupply of high-skilled immigrants relative to Canada’s smaller economy. Also, in Canada the overeducation rate is significantly lower for immigrants who came through employer selection (i.e., those who worked in Canada before obtaining permanent residence) than for those admitted directly from abroad through the point system. Overall, the findings suggest that a merit-based immigration system likely works better when it takes into consideration domestic labor-market demand and the role of employer selection.
... Moreover, while PNPs have been implemented in non-traditional destinations, their effectiveness is questionable. Although nominated immigrants have generally reported higher earnings than their non-nominee counterparts, the retention rates of nominees in their first provinces of settlement differ little from those of non-nominees, except in Manitoba (Pandey and Townsend 2010). ...
... PNP applicants are usually required to secure at least one approved job offer from sponsoring employers in the respective province before arrival. Pandey and Townsend (2010) report that from 1999 to 2007, 15% of incoming immigrants in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, 30% in New Brunswick, and more than 50% in Prince Edward Island were admitted through PNPs. These percentages are much higher than in traditional destinations, such as British Columbia (1.9%) or Ontario (0.2%). 1 Since PNPs reflect specific regional economic needs, it is possible that immigrants to Atlantic Canada have skills and knowledge suitable for local economies, a circumstance that could facilitate their economic integration. ...
... This is further corroborated with our findings that the attainment of postgraduate education is particularly low among the native-born in Atlantic Canada (4.3%), compared to those in MTV (7.3%). Second, with the introduction of PNPs in Atlantic Canada, a large proportion of new immigrants may have skills and knowledge matching the needs of local economies (Pandey and Townsend 2010). Interestingly, this claim is supported by our descriptive analysis; we find immigrants in Atlantic Canada are significantly more educated than those in MTV. ...
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Despite growing interest in the regionalization of immigration, comparative studies of the labor market outcomes of immigrants in traditional and non-traditional destinations remain limited in Canada. Using Atlantic Canada as a non-traditional destination and drawing data from the 2006 Census of Population, this study compares the determinants of immigrant earnings in this region with those of three major traditional destinations, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver (MTV). Results indicate the returns to postgraduate degrees and foreign credentials on earnings are higher in Atlantic Canada than MTV, although the costs of being visible minorities and speaking non-official language(s) at home are not statistically different between the two destinations. Results also show the earning disparities linked to employment in ethnic businesses are smaller in Atlantic Canada. This paper discusses implications of these findings for immigrant settlement policy.
... The presence of ethno-cultural communities is considered as an important factor in immigrant attraction and long-term retention (Derwing and Krahn, 2008;Carter et al., 2010;Pandey and Townsend, 2010). Immigrants seem to display greater willingness to develop their lives in areas with a significant population of their own ethnic group (Han and Humphreys, 2005) as they are "willing to compromise their economic status in order to live close to their ethnic community" (Carter et al., 2009: 24). ...
While advanced economies attempt to pursue a regionalized immigration policy, which aims at shifting migration flows away from the most popular urban centre destinations to smaller communities, the experiences of immigrants settling in such locations remains underexplored. This research provides timely knowledge of refugee labour market integration in smaller communities, using Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial capital, St. John's, as an example of such communities. The article examines the resettlement and labour market integration of refugees in a medium‐sized city with particular attention to factors that enhance refugee labour market integration and factors that negatively impact refugee integration and their retention in the receiving community. The study finds that the negative perception of employment opportunities is a significant factor in refugee's decision to move. Securing employment of refugees is facilitated by strong English language skills, social connections and is hampered by discrimination in the labour market.
... Carter, Pandey, and Townsend (2010) discuss the role of Manitoba's provincial nominee program (PNP) in addressing local labour needs and influencing the regional distribution of immigrants. Employability is an important factor for being accepted into the PNP program (Pandey & Townsend, 2011a). ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report provides a review and analysis of the literature on the social, economic, and other factors determining migration patterns to Canada and Alberta. It is based on a comprehensive systematic scoping review of the relevant literature. A push-pull framework is used to understand the negative social, economic, and other factors associated with the origin location that ‘push’ people to emigrate, and the positive factors associated with the destination, which ‘pull’ individuals to immigrate to specific locations.
... Federal ECIs were on average better educated than nominees, and better-educated immigrants tend to be more mobile (Ostrovsky, Hou, and Picot 2008). Whereas individual characteristics likely do play a part, Pandey and Townsend (2010) model immigrant retention as a function of immigrant characteristics and program of entry, and find that even after controlling for such differences, one-year retention rates were higher for immigrants arriving under the Manitoba PNP. ...
Full-text available
Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) Study, No. 10, October 2010
Analyzing accounts of what 53 migrant workers experienced after their arrival in rural Manitoba, Canada, this article addresses the tensions created by their employer’s evolving labour recruitment strategy, which has depended on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Programme and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Programme. The article underscores the ways in which immigration policy connects to the interests of states and capital in the creation and reproduction of workers in specific labour markets.
The objective of this article is to find out why immigrants intend to stay in or leave their initial destination. The insight into such factors could help develop policy measures to deal with potential out-migration, especially from the regions that view international migration as a solution to their demographic and economic difficulties. The study uses multinomial logistic regression to estimate the strength of association between migrants' intention to move and immigration category, human capital, economic and social factors. The data come from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia. The findings show that different groups of migrants have different propensities to move or stay in their initial destination. Employer-sponsored migrants are even less likely to intend to relocate than family class. Highly educated and skilled migrants tend to be more likely to express the intention to move or have doubts. Satisfactory employment has a positive impact on retention.
The term ‘economic immigration’ can trigger multiple associations, from the high-rolling, risk-taking entrepreneur or the jet-setting IT specialist, to the vulnerable, ‘flexible’ migrant worker (Creese, Dyck and McLaren, 2008) hired in a plethora of low-paid, low-status occupations. However, when these terms are qualified further by adding ‘women’, the spectrum of images shrinks, as research on female labor migration in the global economy has ‘focused on a narrow range of sectors in, particularly, domestic work and sex work’ (Raghuram and Kofman, 2004, p. 95). Dominant, circumscribed representations of immigrant women not only fail to convey the richness of immigrant women’s economic migration experiences but also serve to undercut the scope of opportunities for women. Moreover, studies of how various im/migration priorities play out for women at subnational levels are only recently coming to the fore, and still mostly in select contexts (for Nova Scotia, see Dobrowolsky, 2011, 2012; Bryan, 2012; or for Toronto, see Buyan, 2012). Thus more comparative work on the interface between macro-forces and meso-scale immigration choices, calculations, and commitments at the provincial level in Canada, and those of immigrant women at the micro-scale, is required.
This chapter undertakes a comparative analysis of the growing asymmetrical immigration federalism regimes that have surfaced in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States. The purpose of the study is to begin to trace whether the rise in immigration federalism—i.e., the diversity of laws and policies regulating immigration and immigrants—in these nations has improved or worsened the rights and treatment of immigrants in those respective nations. This chapter does not provide a conclusive answer to this question because federal structures help amplify both restrictive as well as inclusive possibilities and trends. There are, however, factors that appear to contribute to the outcomes of immigration federalism that are worth noting. Among these factors is the role of demographic and socio-economic factors, as well as political ones at the local level. The role of political divergence between national and local interests is another significant consideration of the implications of federalism for the rights of immigrants, although here whether the outcome is positive or negative depends very much on the relationship between local and national politics. The role of binding universal human rights law or domestic constitutional rights to protect the rights of immigrants also cannot be dismissed as a powerful argument, generally in favor of centralization. As the chapter documents, however, centralization does not necessarily translate to greater legal rights for immigrants in systems that apply exceptionalism to the national immigration power. Decentralization also need not mean the non-application of human rights law or even potentially greater local rights under sub-national constitutional provisions. Finally, the chapter takes up the extremely important consideration of what, if any lessons, can be gleaned from these comparative analysis on advocacy strategies on behalf of immigrants. Here too, the response is highly contextualized and cannot be generalized, as it will be dictated by the factors that influence the outcomes of immigration federalism.
This paper contributes to current debates around neoliberalism and subnational developments in Canadian immigration policy. In response to critiques of neoliberalism’s “promiscuity,” scalar and governmentality frameworks are used to analyze Nova Scotia’s failed economic nominee category experiment. The competing choices, calculations, and commitments at stake at “meso”- and “micro”-scales reveal a more complex and compelling reality that underscores the contributions and challenges of a range of political actors. This, in turn, suggests possible disruptions to neoliberalization and seeks to strike a better balance between structure and agency, as well as economic and social immigration priorities.
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This study addresses the question of how best to ensure that national immigration policies are appropriately adjusted to meet the disparate requirements of different communities. We argue that this is the core objective of multilevel governance, which, however, has become freighted with competing ideological objectives, objectives that are perhaps best expressed in Hooghe and Marks's distinction between type I and type II governance, the former oriented to collective decision making and the latter embodying market-oriented approaches to governance. Our argument is that these competing sets of ideologically driven objectives divert multilevel governance away from its core objective of appropriateness to community circumstances. An accompanying article (Leo and Enns, 2009) explores problems posed by ideologically driven, type II multilevel governance in Vancouver. The current article takes up a contrasting case, that of the Canada-Manitoba Agreement on Immigration and Settlement, focusing especially on Winnipeg. We find that in this case the provincial government chose an approach to multilevel governance that did not hew to either type I or type II governance templates, but drew on both to build an impressively successful system of immigration and settlement, carefully tailored to meet the requirements of disparate Manitoba communities. Success was built not on the application of a preconceived template for good governance but on resourcefulness and flexibility in working out ways of making national policies fit local circumstances.
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This article distinguishes between cities experiencing high rates of growth and those growing more slowly and argues that 1) widely held North American assumptions to the contrary, slow growth is not a pathology; and 2) because we do tend to view it as a pathology, we fail to plan for it and instead follow policies more appropriate to rapidly growing centers. Using Winnipeg as the primary example of a slowly growing city, but drawing on a wide range of data, the article considers the following policy areas: housing, management of infrastructure, economic development, and immigration. In each of these areas the argument is that policies that may be defensible in rapidly growing centers are inappropriately followed in slowly growing cities where different lines of policy would be more beneficial. Appropriate policies for slowly growing cities are suggested and their merits evaluated.
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The past 25 years has seen a more or less continuous deterioration in the economic outcomes for immigrants entering Canada. However, economic outcomes for second-generation Canadians (children of immigrants) are more positive, and in spite of the economic difficulties, after four years in Canada most immigrants entering in 2000 remained positive regarding their immigration decision, citing the freedom, safety, rights, security and prospects for the future as the aspects they appreciate most in Canada. This paper reviews what we know about the economic deterioration, and the possible reasons behind it, in particular based on the research conducted at Statistics Canada. It also outlines the data development undertaken by Statistics Canada and its policy department partners to support increased research of this topic. From 2002 to 2008, Statistics Canada released 64 research articles on the above topics, and others related to immigration. The research suggests that through the 1980s and 1990s three factors were associated with the deterioration in economic outcomes: (1) the changing mix of source regions and related issues such as language and school quality, (2) declining returns to foreign experience, and (3) the deterioration in economic outcomes for all new labour market entrants, of which immigrants are a special case. After 2000, the reasons appear to be different, and are associated more with the dramatic increase in the number of engineers and information technology (IT) workers entering Canada, and the IT economic downturn. Data also suggest that, by and large, Canadians continue to see immigration as an important part of the development of Canada and that they continue to support it. The paper reviews Statistics Canada research that indicates that economic outcomes for most second-generation Canadians remain very positive. Finally, there is a discussion of the interaction between immigration and social cohesion in Canada, and possible reasons as to why we hav
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The recent economic boom in the Canadian province of Alberta provides an ideal "natural experiment" to examine immigrants' responses to a strong labour demand outside major metropolitan centres. The key finding of our study, which is based on a unique dataset that combines administrative and immigrant records, is that not only did immigrants respond to the recent economic boom in Alberta, but they responded generally more strongly than non-immigrants. We find, however, a great deal of heterogeneity in the magnitude of the response across different regions and for different categories of immigrants.
An examination of the historical development of key institutional features of Canada's immigration policy can provide a basis for interpreting recent policy changes.The history of Canada's immigration policy has been defined by an ongoing battle between proponents of using immigration for long term (eco-nomic growth and demographic) goals and proponents of using it for short-term (current labour market) goals. In the past, a concern with the "absorptive capacity" of the economy has affected immigration levels, with alternating pe-riods of large inflows targeted at specific economic goals and periods of drastic cutbacks in numbers during economic downturns. By abandoning the concept of absorptive capacity, as traditionally defined, Canada's current immigration policy is dramatically different from historical norms. This is signalled most clearly by the failure to cut back the number of immigrants during the labour market difficulties of the 1990s. Current policy appears to be based on the idea that immigration generates economic growth and thus represents a victory for the proponents of the long term view of immigration policy. Unfortunately, the government provides little evidence to support the claim that long term growth benefits offset short term costs in a poor labour market. Questions, therefore, remain about why the shift in policy has occurred.
The municipal government of the province of Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, commissioned a study in 2005 to determine how to attract more immigrants. City leaders were perplexed as to why Calgary, a city in the same province, of similar size with the same range of immigrant services, receives double the number of immigrants annually. In this paper, we describe the resulting study and discuss its attraction and retention recommendations. These suggestions are similar to those made by the researchers from other municipalities and regions seeking to increase their population via immigration. We compare Edmonton's municipal and Alberta's provincial immigration policies with those from elsewhere and discuss them in light of the national Canadian immigration policies. Given that the current federal government has no plans to increase immigration levels overall, different provinces and cities in Canada will be put in the position of having to compete for a relatively small number of newcomers, employing many of the same strategies. Without changes to federal policies, many communities may continue to struggle to attract immigrants.
Low birth rates and population ageing have slowed population growth rates in Canada, and immigration has become the primary driver of population and labour force growth in the nation. The distribution of new arrivals to Canada, however, has been concentrated in a few major cities. Until recently, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have been the destination of approximately 75% of all immigrants. All orders of government have introduced policies and programs to influence the regional distribution of immigrants across the country, ostensibly so that the benefits of immigration will be more evenly shared on a national basis. An assessment of the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program helps identify policy and program initiatives and best practices effective in changing the regional distribution of immigrants and attracting more new arrivals to smaller urban and rural communities. De faibles taux de natalité et le vieillissement des populations ont ralenti le taux de croissance démographique au Canada, de sorte que l’immigration est maintenant le moteur principal de l’accroissement démographique et la croissance de la population active au Canada. Toutefois, la distribution des nouveaux arrivants au Canada est inégale, environ 75% des immigrants se retrouvant dans les grandes villes de Montréal, Toronto et Vancouver. Tous les paliers de gouvernement ont lancé des politiques et des programmes pour influencer la distribution régionale des immigrants dans le pays et ce, dans le but manifeste de partager plus équitablement les bienfaits de l’immigration à l’échelle nationale. Une évaluation du Programme des candidats de la province du Manitoba a permis l’identification des initiatives en matière de politiques et de programmes, ainsi que des pratiques exemplaires qui réussissent à modifier la distribution régionale des immigrants et à attirer plus d’immigrants vers les petites communautés urbaines et rurales.
To what extent the earnings gaps facing Canada's visible minorities reflect discrimination is a question of tremendous policy interest. This paper argues that failing to account for the limited Canadian ancestry of visible minorities overestimates discrimination if immigrant assimilation is an intergenerational process. Using the 2001 and 2006 Canadian Censuses, weekly earnings, conditional on a rich set of worker and job characteristics, are compared with child immigrant, second-, and third-and-higher-generation Canadian men. The results reveal a tendency for earnings to increase across subsequent generations of visible minority, but not white, men. Though the pattern is strongest between the first and second generation, for black men it is also evident between the Canadian born with and without a Canadian-born parent. Despite this progress, for most visible minority groups earnings gaps are identified even among third-and-higher-generation Canadians.
The study explores reasons for the declining wages and salaries of new immigrants to Canada.
We argue that when immigrant earnings are considered in the context of post-arrival human capital investment: cohort quality should be defined in terms of the present value of the whole earnings profile; and, an appropriate definition of "macro" effects is obtained using the earnings profile of the native born cohort entering the labor market at the same time as an immigrant cohort. We illustrate this by using Canadian immigrant earnings, where there were large cross-cohort earnings declines in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. We find that changes affecting all new entrants play an important role in understanding immigrant earnings. In contrast, earlier approaches imply that "macro" events explain little of immigrant earnings patterns.