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Impact of Canadian postsecondary education on occupational prestige of highly educated immigrants

This paper uses data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada covering the period 2000 to 2004 to assess short‐term employment and occupational attainment of recent immigrants who, despite having completed a university degree in their countries of origin, chose to obtain additional credentials at a Canadian postsecondary institution. The main finding of this paper is that occupational attainment of highly educated immigrants is affected by choice of postsecondary education in Canada regardless of differences in sociodemographic, premigration characteristics, and postmigration conditions. Four years after entry, immigrants worked in jobs with significantly lower occupational prestige than those held prior to migration. Immigrants who pursued a university education in Canada attained highest occupational outcomes when compared to nonparticipants and those who chose a community college pathway. Nevertheless, the majority of highly educated immigrants failed to gain entry to the professions.