The coronavirus pandemic is not deterring people from wanting to immigrate to Canada, on the contrary, a new survey suggests it is driving more interest.
This past June, nearly half of the respondents in a survey by World Education Services (WES) said that COVID-19 had increased their interest in immigrating to Canada. There were more people who reported this increased interest in June than there were in April when a similar survey was done.
WES provides educational credential assessments for people who are undergoing economic-class immigration to Canada. They say they are uniquely positioned to gauge the motivations and intentions of aspiring immigrants, as they interact with thousands of interested candidates each week.
COVID-19 increasing interest in immigrating to Canada
More people reported that the pandemic had increased their interest in immigrating to Canada and fewer people said that they were dissuaded. In June, 45 per cent of respondents said they were more interested in immigrating to Canada as a result of the pandemic, and six per cent said they were less interested.
Also, fewer people reported that they were considering delaying their immigration to Canada. In June, about 32 per cent of respondents said they were considering delaying their immigration to Canada. This is down from the 35 per cent who said the same in April.
World economic conditions may be driving interest
The WES survey also found that many respondents expected the economic impact in Canada to be less extreme than in their home countries. Though Canada too has taken an economic hit from the pandemic, the Labour Force Survey found that about 55% of jobs lost to COVID 19 had been regained as of July.
Though the survey found that economic concerns were widespread among prospective immigrants, their research revealed that many respondents expected the economic impact to be less extreme in Canada than their home country. Once again, more people expected a negative impact on economic conditions in their home country than they did in Canada.
The difference in expectations has grown over time, WES said. In June, 58 per cent of respondents expected a negative impact on economic conditions in Canada, while more, 80 per cent, expected negative conditions in their home country. The expectations for respondents’ home country were roughly the same in April, but only 68 per cent expected a negative impact in Canada.
A similar pattern was seen in how respondents felt about the impact on their occupations or sectors in their home countries. In June, 57 per cent of respondents expected a negative impact on jobs in their occupation or sector in their home country, up from 47 per cent in April. Forty-three per cent of respondents from June’s survey expected a negative impact on jobs in their sector in Canada. In other words, people generally thought the economic impacts in Canada were less bad than in their home countries.
“This overall expectation of a less negative impact in Canada in terms of both overall economic conditions and the availability of sector-specific jobs may help to explain why by June nearly half of the respondents were more interested in immigrating to Canada as a result of COVID-19,” the WES report said.
Immigrants expected to play vital role in Canada’s recovery
Canada is facing long-term talent shortages due to high rates of retirement, and a low birth rate. These issues were prevalent before the pandemic, and some experts say they may have been made worse by it.
WES says, “Canada’s continued attractiveness to those looking to settle there is good news for the country. Newcomers will play a critical role in the nation’s recovery.”
This sentiment is shared by Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, who has repeatedly said that immigration will continue to be a priority in a post-coronavirus world.