canada immigration despite pandemic

As the pandemic progresses, more are reporting increased interest in Canadian immigration according to a new survey.

More people are interested in immigrating to Canada despite the pandemic.

Word Education Services (WES) has released its latest survey on how the coronavirus pandemic has changed intentions to immigrate. The credential evaluations provider surveyed thousands of prospective Canadian immigrants, who had applied for WES evaluations between January 2019 and July 2020. There were 27,930 valid responses analyzed for this report.

WES reported three key findings: interest in immigration to Canada increased between April and August among prospective immigrants; in the same time frame, the number of respondents planning to delay immigration dropped considerably; and prospective immigrants expect economic conditions in their home country to be worse than in Canada.

This is the third report of its kind since the start of the pandemic. The first measured attitudes toward Canadian immigration during the height of the first wave in April. The second looked at comparable data in June. The newly-released survey is a snapshot of attitudes from August.

Most of the respondents in this survey, 46 percent, were citizens of India, and another 17 percent were from Nigeria. Philippines citizens and Pakistan citizens comprised of 5 percent and 4 percent of respondents respectively. Lebanon and Bangladesh citizens each comprised 2 percent of respondents and the remaining 25 percent were grouped into “other” countries.

WES used stratified random sampling to conduct the survey. Data were collected between August 17 to 26, 2020.

Respondents expect more negative economic conditions in their home country

As seen in previous reports, prospective immigrants have high rates of negative perceptions of economic conditions in their home country. Only 56 percent of respondents expected to see negative economic conditions in Canada, compared to 80 percent in their home country.

The difference in expectations for Canada and respondents’ home countries may explain why people are more interested to move to Canada during the pandemic.

More expect COVID-19 to negatively affect job availability

More respondents reported COVID-19 to negatively impact the availability of jobs in their occupation or sector, both in Canada and their home countries. The increase was more prevalent for people’s perceptions of their home countries, with 47 percent expecting a negative impact in April, compared with 60 percent in August. The expectations of the pandemic’s impact on jobs in Canada increased slightly from 41 percent in April to 44 percent in August.

Prospective immigrants more interested in moving to Canada

The proportion of respondents who are more interested in immigrating to Canada increased to 46 percent in August from 38 percent in April. At the same time, fewer respondents reported the pandemic had no impact on their interest, the proportion of respondents decreasing from 57 percent in April to 48 percent in August.

The amount who reported being less interested remained the same between June and August at 6 percent.

Economic hardship will not reduce interest for most

The interest in Canadian immigration is persisting despite personal or familial economic hardship and the ability to pay the costs of immigration.

Across the three surveys, about a third of respondents expected COVID-19 to have a negative impact on their ability to pay the costs of immigration. Just over half, 53 percent, expected no impact at all.

A plurality of respondents, about 38 percent, said that personal or familial economic hardships would make them either more interested in immigrating. Another 40 percent said it would have no impact at all.

The expectation of recession in Canada not a deterrent for most

Nearly half of respondents, 48 percent, said that an economic recession in Canada would have no impact on their immigration plans.

The proportion who said that a recession in Canada would make them less interested in moving increased from 22 percent to 31 percent in June and August, while the proportion who said they would be more interested decreased from 34 percent to 19 per cent.

About 49 percent said that an economic recession in their home country would make them more interested in immigration to Canada. Almost a third, 32 per cent, said it would have no impact on their current plans.

Decrease of jobs in immigrant occupations not a deterrent for more than half

For almost half, 48 percent, a decrease in Canadian jobs in respondents’ sectors or occupations would have no impact on their plans to immigrate. Plus, 21 percent said it would make them more interested in immigrating to Canada.

About 42 percent of respondents said a decrease in the number of jobs in their home country would make them more interested in immigrating to Canada. Almost a third, 31 percent, reported that the same decrease in Canada would make them less interested.

Results were consistent from April to August.

Most respondents worked in finance, 13 percent, and professional, scientific, and technical services, 11 percent.

Philippines respondents reported most increased interest in Canadian immigration

About 71 percent of respondents who were from the Philippines reported an increased interest in Canadian immigration, most of the top source countries of Canadian permanent residents.

Most respondents from top source countries were either as interested or more interested in immigrating to Canada since the start of the pandemic.

No more than 10 percent of respondents from any top source country reported that they were less interested in moving to Canada. Top source countries included the Philippines, Nigeria, Pakistan, the U.S., China, India, the U.K., and France.

Respondents from France were the most likely, at 68 percent, to report that the pandemic had no impact on their immigration plans.

Less considering delaying immigration to Canada

The number of respondents who reported they were unlikely to delay immigration increased from 35 percent in April to 62 percent in August.

Fewer people said they were likely to remain in or return to their home country, down from 35 percent in April to 20 percent in June and August.

A large portion said they were interested in immigrating to a country other than Canada. At the same time, those considering moving to a country other than Canada increased from 7 percent in April to 12 percent in June.

“Canada’s international travel ban and related policies may be having an impact on respondents’ choice of immigration destination,” the report said.

Fewer jobs, economic recession, and travel restrictions main deterrents

Of those considering delaying their immigration to Canada, most were concerned about fewer jobs in their occupation, economic recession in Canada, and travel restrictions.

Those who said the risk of contracting COVID-19 in transit to Canada decreased from the top deterrent at 45 percent in April to 38 percent in August.

There was little change for those who named travel restrictions, decreased jobs, and economic recession as reasons for their reduced interest. The proportions remained roughly between 42 percent and 44 percent across all three surveys.