A recent study shows that Canada, a renowned global destination for immigrants seeking better opportunities and a higher quality of life, is experiencing a growing trend of immigrants choosing to leave the country.
Study on immigration retention shows that some newcomers don’t achieve the Canadian dream they hoped for. Instead, they may go back to their home country or move to a different one.
Reverse migration, where people leave Canada after moving there, has been happening for a while. But in the last 5-6 years, more people are doing it. Canada has never achieved a 100% retention rate for immigrants.
Newcomers often come to fill important jobs in areas like healthcare and construction. Recent research conducted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship shows that the number of immigrants leaving Canada now is 31% higher than before.
The study found that more immigrants are leaving Canada now compared to before. Even though the research looked at the years 2017 and 2019, it’s likely that more people have left in the past two years.
Around 20% of immigrants in each group ended up leaving Canada, with 67,000 leaving in 2019. The study also found that newcomers are most likely to leave between four to seven years after coming to Canada.
Canada plans to welcome 1.5 million new residents in the next three years, but keeping them here is a challenge. The study says,
“For Canada to meet its immigration goals, the country must not only attract newcomers but also retain them. Yet few attempts have been made to evaluate Canada’s immigrant retention rate.”
Why Immigrants Are Leaving Canada
Living costs in Canada are high, especially tough for immigrants. Wages don’t rise much, and basics like groceries and transport are expensive. Newcomers have less money to spare, making it hard to afford housing.
Accessing healthcare services can be a complicated process for newcomers, which may affect their well-being and that of their families. Navigating the healthcare system, finding healthcare providers, and understanding the health insurance system can be challenging for newcomers.
Unjust Recognition of Foreign Credentials:
Many highly skilled professionals immigrate to Canada in search of a better life, only to find their credentials from their home countries aren’t recognized. This leads to difficulties in finding employment in their respective fields, forcing them into jobs that don’t match their qualifications.
Challenges Faced by Immigrants in the Job Market
Canadian provinces have complex and often lengthy processes for recognizing foreign credentials. This challenge hampers immigrants’ ability to work in their respective fields, leading them to jobs that do not align with their qualifications and experience.
Limited Job Opportunities:
Preference for candidates with Canadian experience creates barriers for immigrants seeking their first job in the country. Many employers prefer candidates with Canadian work experience, which creates a Catch-22 situation for newcomers.
Despite higher wages, newcomers find it challenging to save due to high living expenses, taxes, and inflation rates.
Solutions to Improve Immigrant Retention
It’s important for different government levels to team up. By working together, they can keep track of newcomers’ numbers, understand their challenges, and find solutions. This teamwork leads to better policies for immigrants.
Helping businesses hire and keep immigrant workers is crucial. Providing resources and incentives for hiring qualified immigrants can improve their job opportunities significantly.
Investing in better infrastructure and community programs benefits newcomers in Canada. Improved living conditions, accessible community centers, and cultural events help newcomers feel more at home and integrated.
Belonging and Attachment:
The report reads,
“Initiatives that foster a sense of belonging and attachment to Canada, together with policies that ensure immigrants and their families have opportunities for personal and career growth, could influence more immigrants to decide to stay in Canada.”
Access to language training, mentorship programs, and social integration activities can contribute to their sense of belonging.