Ongoing Project:

Legal Status Trajectories and Socioeconomic Experiences of Refugee Claimants in Canada: An Exploratory Study using Administrative Data

Researchers: Luin Goldring1, Yoko Yoshida2, Jonathon Amoyaw2, Patricia Landolt3, Jana Borras1, Paul Pritchard3, and Francisco Rico4
Affiliation: York University1, Dalhousie University2, University of Toronto3, and FCJ Refugee4 Centre
Research Partner: FCJ Refugee Centre
Keywords: refugees, refugee claimants, entry category, Canada, economic integration, legal status trajectory, quantitative research, IMDB, TRD


Objective: This study will examine the economic integration of people who make refugee claims in Canada, recognizing that legal status trajectories may vary.  The research considers variation in legal status trajectories based on other temporary statuses held, timing of claims, and time to permanent residence for those who obtain it.  

Justification: Available research underscores that refugees and their children face significant labour market challenges. Yet, this research tends to examine refugees as a whole despite the difference in access to services and social and institutional supports by refugee subclass such as privately sponsored (PSRs), government sponsored (GARs), refugees selected overseas (BVORs) and those who make refugee claims at the border or inland.

Practical goal: This study will produce new knowledge about the legal status trajectories of refugee claimants and preliminary information about their economic outcomes. This can inform subsequent research on the long-term consequences of entry category and trajectories, and support SPOs working with claimants and their families.

Primary audience: policy makers, service providers, academics, and the general public.


This study will use data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) and the Temporary Resident Database (TRD) to identify records with claimant experience, then explore the construction of clusters organized by period of arrival (4 cohorts 1997-2015), timing of claim, other statuses, and whether the claim was followed by landing in Canada.  Cohorts will be defined by key changes in government and policies.

This study asks the following questions:

  1. How do refugee claimants and their children fare compared to newcomers arriving through skilled and family class categories, as temporary residents or international students, and in particular, compared to refugees selected overseas? As a step toward addressing this comparative question, we first examine potential variation in the trajectories of claimants.

  2. How does the timing of claims (at arrival versus later), time in Canada, and experience in other immigration situations affect labour market integration outcomes?

  3. Is it possible to identify trajectories with only a refugee claim versus a claim and additional status situations?

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