The Long-Term Economic Benefits of Refugee Private Sponsorship in Canada

Lisa Kaida , McMaster University
Feng Hou, Statistics Canada
Max Stick, McMaster University

Private refugee sponsorship has been an important Canadian policy initiative for 40 years. It is now attracting international attention as Europe grapples with the influx of refugees. However, no Canadian research has evaluated the long-term economic effects of private sponsorship using rigorous multivariate analysis. This study compares the economic outcomes of Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) with those of Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) using the Longitudinal Immigration Database, administrative data on virtually all immigrants and refugees who have arrived in Canada since 1980. Our regression analysis finds PSRs maintain higher employment rates and earnings than GARs up to 15 years after arrival when measurable compositional differences between the two groups are adjusted. The PSR advantage is particularly noticeable among less educated refugees. The findings suggest unmeasured factors (e.g. effectiveness of settlement policies, refugee selection processes, societal or community reception of refugees) may partly explain PSRs’ relative economic advantage over time.

See paper

 Presented in Session 30. Forced Migration