Canada is among the most sought-after countries to immigrate to, due to the country’s exceptional quality of life, its strong education and health system, and its liberal ethos of multiculturalism.
However, Canada is not always the last stop on an immigrant’s journey. A new study published by Statistics Canada found that more than 15% of immigrants left Canada within 20 years of arriving.
Using longitudinal data spanning from 1982 to 2017, the study found that 17.5% of immigrants left Canada within 20 years of arriving, but if we look at the data another way, this means that more than 80% of immigrants who landed in Canada during the same period chose to stay.
A smaller proportion (5.1% of immigrants) left Canada just five years after landing. However, several factors influenced whether an immigrant decided to leave Canada or not.
Note: For the purposes of this study, the words “immigrant” and “landing” are technical terms used by Statistics Canada. “Immigrant” refers to recent arrivals who have received permanent residence (PR) state. Meanwhile, “disembarkation” refers to immigrants’ first arrival in Canada after receiving their status, or to a virtual landing (if the new arrivals were already in Canada upon receiving PR).
What factors determined whether an immigrant left Canada or not?
Emigration, which is the act of leaving the country of origin (in this case, Canada) to live and settle somewhere else, most frequently occurred between three and seven years after immigrants arrived in Canada.
Common traits among immigrants who left Canada were:
- Those born in Taiwan, the United States, France, Hong Kong or Lebanon were more likely to emigrate during the study period. In contrast, those born in the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka or Jamaica were the least likely to leave;
- Those who never had children in their tax family were more likely to immigrate than those who did; and
- Those admitted under the investor and entrepreneur categories are more likely to emigrate, while immigrants admitted under the refugee or caregiver categories were less likely to do so.
The study also concluded that emigration appeared to follow a clear “gradient” based on educational level: that is, immigrants with higher educational levels were much more likely to leave Canada than those with lower educational levels.
Finally, the study noted that immigrants who had temporary status (i.e., workers or students) in Canada, before receiving PR, were especially likely to leave after landing; However, this could also be attributed to other characteristics already analyzed (such as a higher level of education).
Why might these immigrants be leaving Canada?
Although Canada is one of the most immigrant-friendly nations in the world, there may be certain reasons why these newcomers choose to leave the country after being granted PR.
One well-documented reason is integration problems in the Canadian labor market.
Other reasons may include problems adjusting to Canadian culture or languages, Canada’s harsh winter climate, and personal reasons for immigrants (such as the death of a loved one or a unique employment opportunity abroad). Older immigrants can also immigrate from Canada to retire in their home country.
Yet another reason may be that these newcomers always planned to leave. The study takes the specific example of Hong Kong immigrants, many of whom may have taken advantage of new transportation and communication technologies to maintain a dual presence, essentially capitalizing on Hong Kong’s economic opportunities while benefiting from the excellent quality of life in Canada.
Still, even considering these factors, most immigrants choose to stay in Canada and even obtain Canadian citizenship. Canada’s multiculturalism continues to provide fertile ground for immigrants from all walks of life to settle in the country. Furthermore, with the increase Immigration levels in the coming years.The country has stepped up its accreditation procedures to help new immigrants better integrate into the workforce, while increasing investment in settlement servicesto ensure that newcomers are supported by the government in their quest to integrate into Canada’s economy, culture and broader society.