English language proficiency has a strong impact on the economic and social integration of immigrants.
Permanent residents who have arrived within the past five years are eligible for government-sponsored English classes (ELSA in BC, LINC elsewhere in Canada). Other migrants, like temporary foreign workers and refugee claimants, do not qualify at all.
Even those eligible may find barriers to participation – the need to work, even in subsistence jobs, to support family may take precedence.
Recognition of educational and professional credentials obtained outside Canada can be a huge barrier to integration for immigrants. Many are forced to upgrade their education and spend time and money re-certifying.
In the meantime, these immigrants find themselves unemployed or underemployed in Canada, even when they were selected for their skills and education.
Immigrant families may find barriers in adjusting to Canada’s public education system. Canadian standards and teaching styles may be quite different to what they are used to and schools may not be sensitive to the migration experience or cultural differences.