Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

University-Educated Immigrants from China to Canada: Rising Number and Discounted Value

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

University-Educated Immigrants from China to Canada: Rising Number and Discounted Value

Article excerpt


Economic globalization has changed the volume and nature of the world migrant population. This paper explains how and why the pattern of immigration from China to Canada has changed as a result of a rising demand for human capital in Canada and a growth in the supply of university graduates in China. Since 1998, China has emerged as the top immigrant source for Canada, and there is a higher human capital content among recent cohorts of China-born immigrants to Canada. However, evidence from the 2001 Census of Canada indicates that the return on the university credentials of China-born immigrants in many fields of study has been below the Canadian average. The findings suggest that there are severe devaluations of the foreign credentials of China-born immigrants in Canada; the devaluation is more severe for Chinese men than Chinese women.


La mondialisation economique a change le volume et la nature de la population migrante de la planete. Dans cet article, nous montrons comment et pourquoi le type d'immigration de Chine vers le Canada s'est transforme du fait de l'augmentation du nombre de detenteurs de diplomes universitaires d'une part, et de la demande croissante de capital humain de l'autre. Depuis 1968, la Chine est devenue la source principale de l'immigration au Canada, et c'est dans les rangs de ces immigrants nes en Chine qu'on trouve l'investissement le plus eleve dans le capital humain. Cependant, le recensement canadien de 2001 indique que, dans un grand nombre de domaines, le retour sur les credits universitaires d'immigrants nes en Chine est inferieur a la moyenne de celui des Canadiens. Ce que l'on constate suggere qu'il se produit une severe devaluation lors de la validite de diplomes etrangers des immigrants canadiens venus de Chine, et que cette devaluation est encore plus grave pour les hommes que pour les femmes.


One of the features of globalization is the increased interconnections among nation states, as witnessed in the flow of capital, goods, services, ideas, and people across national boundaries. It is difficult to pinpoint specific dates as to when globalization began and proliferated, but by the beginning of the twenty-first century, the impact of globalization on the volume of human migration has become evident. In 1980, the world migrant population, that is, the population made up of those who resided in a country other than their country of birth, was less than 100 million people or 2.2% of the world population (United Nations 2004, 2005). By 2005, the migrant population rose to 190 million people or 2.9% of the world population (United Nations 2006). In other words, in the last quarter of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first, the world immigrant population increased by 3.6 million people each year.

Globalization produces two streams of international migration: the movement of highly-trained professionals and skilled workers mainly to regions where the reward for skills and expertise is competitively high; and the displacement of populations in less developed parts of the world as a result of political turmoil, economic uprooting, and other human or natural disasters. Both streams produce a migration tendency from less developed to more developed parts of the world. Most immigrant-receiving countries, largely located in the more developed parts of the world, recognize the value of having immigrants with professional and technical skills, since their expertise contributes to the growth of the new economy. (1) At the same time, these countries adopt draconian measures to bar the entry of displaced migrants and asylum seekers. The policy measures produce uneven distributions in the migrant and refugee populations of the world. Over 60% of the world migrant population is located in the more developed regions of the world; Europe and North America account for 57% of the world migrant population (United Nations 2006). …

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