The economic impacts of coronavirus have largely not changed people’s plans to immigrate to Canada. In most cases, prospective immigrants still expect that Canada will endure less economic hardship than their own country.
Of the 4,615 people who responded to a recent survey from World Education Services (WES), 38% say they are more interested in immigrating to Canada, 57% say that the pandemic does not impact their interest, and 5% say they are less interested. Researcher Joan Atlin said she was surprised to see such a small percentage of people who were less interested in immigrating to Canada.
“The research was done in April, so quite early in the pandemic, and I would have expected that number to potentially be a little bit higher,” Atlin told CIC News, “It was very encouraging to see.”
The survey was conducted by WES from April 15 to 21 in an effort to understand how COVID-19 affected the intentions of prospective Canadian immigrants. The non-profit credential evaluation provider collected survey results from their clients, most of whom are in the pre-arrival phase and are on track to immigrate to Canada.
All respondents were outside of Canada at the time the survey was conducted. More than half of the people surveyed from the Philippines (64%), China (64%), and Nigeria (58%) said they are more interested in immigrating to Canada as a result of COVID-19. There was largely no impact on the desire to immigrate to Canada for respondents from Pakistan (58%), the U.K. (59%), the U.S. (57%), India (64%), and France (73%).
Just over half of respondents, 52%, do not expect COVID-19 to impact their ability to pay for the costs of immigrating to Canada; however, about 35%, do expect it to negatively impact their ability to pay the costs.
More than a third, 39%, say that personal and family economic hardships would make them more interested in immigrating.
Most are still interested despite worsening job prospects. The loss of job opportunities in a respondent’s occupation in Canada had the biggest impact on attitudes toward the move, with 31% saying it would make them less interested to come to Canada. Even so, the majority, 46%, said job loss would not impact them.
Most report that they would not be impacted by immigration obstacles such as increases in IRCC processing times, a reduction in immigration targets, or travel restrictions. The risk of contracting COVID-19 was the biggest hurdle with 36% reporting they would be less interested in immigrating to Canada, however 42% still reported that it would not impact their interest.
Just over a third, 35%, of respondents are considering delaying immigration to Canada to a future date, and 42% said they were unlikely to delay. The biggest reason for the delay was the risk of contracting coronavirus.
WES is conducting at least two more surveys on this topic. One is expected for this month and another is scheduled for August.
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