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Waterloo Region immigration report outlines experiences and challenges faced by new arrivals

July 30, 2022

By CIC News

Every two years, the Waterloo Region conducts a survey of immigrants, refugees, international students, temporary workers, and their families to gain insight into their experiences settling into the Waterloo region after moving to Canada.

The survey provides a snapshot of the contributions newcomers make to the region, as well as the struggles and difficulties that they face and their suggestions on what can be improved.

This year, some 1,500 participants took part providing feedback. This includes new arrivals, as well as those who have been in Canada for up to five years.

Waterloo a top destination for tech talent

Waterloo is hub for startups and tech talent as the area boasts nearly 1,600 tech-related businesses. The Waterloo Region also has the highest concentration of the Information Technology and Analytical Instruments sector in Canada, based on population.

Over 90% of people surveyed reported choosing to settle in the Waterloo Region because they already had family and friends in the area. A high percentage also came because of the reputation of local post-secondary institutions and job offers.

Challenges and solutions

The study found that most newcomers who arrive in the region are more highly educated than the overall population of Waterloo. However, only 51% of respondents reported working in an occupation that required the same skill level or experience as their previous job. Some reported challenges finding employment and affordable housing while others cited making social connections was the biggest hurdle to settling.

Overall, half of respondents reported being quite satisfied with their lives and said they had a positive experience settling in the Waterloo Region. Still, they recommend more support in finding work as educating employers on the value of hiring, retaining and promoting newcomers to Canada.

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