Citizenship and the Economic Assimilation of Canadian Immigrants

Accesible PDF image
Mar 2021
In this paper, we examine whether acquiring citizenship improves the economic assimilation of Canadian migrants. We took advantage of a natural experiment made possible through changes in the Canadian Citizenship Act of 2014, which extended the physical presence requirement for citizenship from three to four years. Using quasi-experimental methods, we found that delaying citizenship eligibility by one year adversely affected Canadian residents' wages. Access to better jobs explains a citizenship premium of 11 percent in higher wages among naturalized migrants. Our estimates are robust to model specifications, differing sampling windows to form the treatment and comparison groups, and whether the estimator is a non-parametric rather than a parametric one. We discuss how our findings are relevant to the optimal design of naturalization policies regarding efficiency and equity.