Children Who Immigrate to Canada Before Teen Years More Likely To Finish School

By Andy Semotiuk | May 15, 2014

Immigration lawyer Andy SemotiukToronto immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: I read an interesting story today from the Vancouver Sun on immigrant children and education:

Children who immigrate to Canada as teenagers are much less likely to finish high school than those who come when they are younger, according to a CD Howe Institute report released today.

High school completion rates, an important indicator of future success, drop dramatically for children who arrive in Canada after the age of nine. Dropout rates are about 20 per cent for those who arrive in secondary school, compared with about 15 per cent for boys who arrive before the age of 10 and 10 per cent for girls, according to the findings.

Colin Busby and Miles Corak, authors of the report Don’t Forget The Kids: How Immigration Policy Can Help Immigrants’ Children, take particular aim at the controversial Temporary Foreign Worker program, which they say “needlessly separates children from their parents for long periods, and delays their arrival to the country, raising the risks that they will not reach their full potential in Canada.”…

“The risk of not completing high school for American children coming to Canada – for whom language skills should not be a major concern – is, roughly speaking, similar to those coming from non-English-speaking countries,” the report says, noting that factors other than language acquisition, such as strength and values of family, must be at play.

Apart from the aberration about American immigrant children, which doesn’t seem to make sense, this study supports the principle of family unification and unity embedded in Canada’s immigration legislation.

The theory of family unification is sound, but problems can arise with how the theory is implemented by those processing immigrant applications. Every effort should be made to keep immigrant families together as they go through immigration channels and, as this article points out, the sooner children are allowed to come to Canada with their parents, the better.
Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with immigration law firm Pace Law Firm. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.