Newcomer Employment Facts

Source: Talent Opportunities: Bringing Newcomers to Canada’s Bio-economy

Reason for Immigration

  • Canada: Top two reasons Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) come to Canada: Job Opportunities and Democracy; yet there is a 44.3% unemployment rate among respondents.
  • Current Location: Top two reasons for choosing current location in Canada: Prospect of a Job and Education Prospects; yet IEPs face a high level of underemployment after arrival.

Talent Sources

  • Source country: Top three countries IEPs immigrate from: India, Iran and the Philippines, yet industry indicated they draw heavily on IEPs from the United States and Europe.
  • Unemployment rate: 93.3% unemployment rate among respondents from Africa, to rate drop to 45% to 55% for respondents from other continents.


  • Experience: Bio-health is the most common area of experience IEPs have.
  • Type vs. employment: The top unfilled positions in industry are research and development, marketing, manufacturing, clinical, and quality control. Foreign-trained workers with these occupational skill sets have current unemployment rates of 41.4% to 54.5%.
  • Type vs. unfilled positions: Clinical Research is the top occupational skill type IEPs arrive with yet there are currently unfilled positions in this area.
  • Language: The top three languages spoken were Arabic, Hindi and Spanish which are well represented in the bio-economy.


  • Benefits of hiring an IEP: 51.8% of employers report improved innovation and/or problem solving, 43.4% report improved company productivity and 28.9% report better access to foreign and/or domestic markets.
  • Status: 44.3% of IEPs are unemployed, 17.3% are employed part-time and only 25.9% employed full-time.
  • Current job: IEPs are underemployed with many respondents had to take a job outside their skills type such as a Clinical Research Assistance taking a job as a picker packer.
  • Barriers: Top three experienced trying to enter the biotech workforce: difficulties in finding a job, lack of social networks, and lack of Canadian experience.

Settling in Canada

  • Employment Programs: 83.5% of Immigrant Settlement Agencies (ISAs) offer job search programs yet only 15.9% of ISAs are able to offer training opportunities or employment assistance to enter the biotechnology workforce.
  • Key Settlement Services: 54.3% of ISAs offer banking and financial services directly, 49.3% offer housing services, 68.1% offer cultural integration, 58.7% family support, 46.4% offer climate preparation services, 8.7% offer legal services and 59.1% assistance in obtaining Canadian Citizenship