“Enclave” Communities Created When Immigrants Lack Proficiency in English or French


Immigration Canada stated recently that immigrants who work in ethnic spheres in major urban cities earn less than other Canadians and have a tougher time adapting to this country’s economy. This point was concluded in a federal report prepared to assess minimum language standards for Canada immigration applicants. The report in question focused on concerns within Citizenship and Immigration Canada about the ability of Canadian immigration nominees in some provinces to speak one of Canada’s two official languages: English and French.

Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney has noted these concerns and announced that immigration Canada applicants in the semi to low skilled job category will be required to meet a minimum language standard in either English or French in order to be considered. Nearly 40,000 workers and their families came to Canada under this category last year to the delight of provincial governments who were and are still currently seeking to alleviate labor shortages.

The report showed that immigrants who spoke English or French adequately have made earnings comparable to their Canadian-born counterparts, while those who don’t speak an official language struggle in the labor force and often end up working in “enclave” immigrant communities in major cities. “Exposure to one’s group reduces the accumulation of skills specific to the host country’s labor market, decreases the knowledge of the local native language and impedes immigrants’ economic progress,” the report said. In addition language proficiency plays a critical role in the social integration of immigrants and their young children, it also said. “It has a direct relationship with newcomers’ ability to settle, adapt and integrate into Canadian society.”

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