Skilled immigrants have been identified as a key source of labour supply to address the expected labour market shortages in Canada arising from an aging population and strong economic growth. The integration of immigrants into the workforce often requires that they have the necessary accreditation to work at their chosen occupation. However, credential recognition has proven to be a significant labour market barrier for skilled immigrants in part due to a lack of access to credit. We estimate the social rate of return of investing in immigrant credentials by analyzing the results of the Immigrant Access Fund (IAF), an institution providing small loans on a not-for-profit basis to assist Alberta immigrants in acquiring the Canadian accreditation and training they need to work their field of expertise. Under very conservative assumptions, our assessment of the average return to the public funds put towards the IAF loan program—and not recouped through loan repayment—is on average 33 %, which makes immigrant accreditation a step to be considered in immigration policy.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.