A recent study has revealed an unprecedented increase in the number of immigrants leaving Canada between 2016 and 2019. The Immigrant as conducted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) and the Conference Board of Canada, the report indicates a concerning trend, urging the government to prioritize retaining immigrants to strengthen the economy.
The rate of immigrant departure in Canada
Historically, about 0.9% of immigrants granted permanent residence since 1982 would depart annually. Shockingly, this rate surged to 1.18% in 2019, a 31% increase from the average. A similar spike was observed in 2017, recording a 43% rise to 1.15% from 0.8% in the previous year. In simpler terms, approximately 67,000 immigrants exited Canada in 2019, while 2017 saw nearly 60,000 departures.
A significant fraction of immigrants who obtained permanent residence from 1982 to 2018 chose to leave between 2016 and 2019. This increasing trend has been observed since the 1990s.
Daniel Bernhard, ICC’s Chief Executive, remarked, “More immigrants are arriving in Canada only to later say, ‘Ah, no thanks,’ and move elsewhere.” He speculated that factors like housing scarcity, inadequate healthcare, and limited services might be contributors.
The report’s methodology hinged on assessing immigrants who secured permanent residency between 1982 and 2018 and had filed Canadian taxes at least once. Those without a T1 Family File for two successive years by 2020 were deemed as having left the country, considering the Canadian government does not track immigrant departures.
Bernhard, anticipating future data, warns that the situation may deteriorate, especially given the current issues of inflation, affordability, and housing.
How immigrant strengthen Canada’s economy
Historically, each immigrant has been a keystone in bolstering Canada’s economy. Presently, as Canada grapples with escalating prices and a housing crisis, experts are calling on the federal government for a comprehensive strategy to accommodate the influx of new immigrants.
This week, the government will unveil its Immigration Levels Plan, forecasting future permanent resident intakes. Last year’s goal was set at 465,000 for 2023, climbing to 500,000 by 2025.
How Cannada aims to tackle immigrant challenges
Amid these targets, Canada’s new Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, confronts challenges, including the country’s housing predicament, which could be exacerbated by these immigration goals.
Yet, as Bernhard emphasizes, the focus should shift from the volume of incoming immigrants to those who choose to remain. Ensuring their success and satisfaction is crucial for Canada’s socio-economic growth.
Rebekah Young, an economist from the Bank of Nova Scotia, shared this perspective, emphasizing the need for more than just attracting immigrants, it’s equally vital to retain them. The study further suggests that many immigrants are likely to depart between their fourth and seventh years, highlighting the importance of investing in services targeting an immigrant’s initial years. Additionally, tracking those leaving could pave the way for more informed policy-making.
Addressing the study’s findings, Immigration Minister Miller expressed his intent to analyze the report for potential concerns. He acknowledged the “historic volume” of individuals aspiring to come to Canada, emphasizing the government’s challenge in attracting the right immigrant.
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