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More than 15 percent of Canadian immigrants leave the country within 20 years of landing, according to a new study.

Statistics Canada’s recent report sheds light on the emigration patterns of immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1982 and 2017.

The findings indicate that more than 15 percent of immigrants admitted during this period chose to leave the country within 20 years of their initial arrival.

The research further unveils that the likelihood of emigration varies based on certain characteristics, with factors such as the immigrant’s country of birth playing a significant role.

Emigration tends to be slightly more prevalent within the first three to seven years after admission, a period often associated with the challenges and adjustments that immigrants face as they integrate into Canadian society.

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Why Canadian immigrants leave Canada?

Several reasons contribute to the decision to emigrate, including the pursuit of better job opportunities, housing, and overall adaptation to life in Canada. Some immigrants may also choose to leave if they encounter difficulties in the integration process or had intended to do so from the outset.

Notably, immigrants born in Taiwan, the United States, France, Hong Kong, or Lebanon are more likely to emigrate, with over 25 percent of individuals from these countries leaving Canada within two decades of admission. The appeal of a higher standard of living or a strategic migration plan contributes to their decision to relocate.

Conversely, immigrants born in the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka or Jamaica are less likely to leave.

Moreover, the study reveals that significant proportions of business immigrants leave the country. More than 40 percent of immigrants admitted in the investor category and 30 percent in the entrepreneur category chose to emigrate within 20 years of admission. These categories, which include wealthy immigrants, often exhibit higher mobility, with some having the intention to leave Canada even at the time of their admission.

In addition, emigration follows a clear gradient based on level of education. People with higher levels of education are more likely to migrate than less educated immigrants. This includes permanent residents who were once study permit-holders in Canada.

Immigrants who never had children were also more likely to emigrate than those who had children.

The study also says that immigrants admitted to Canada at age 65 or older and those with Nova Scotia as their intended province of destination are somewhat more likely to leave than those who landed at a younger age. Although, these effects disappear when other factors associated with immigrant emigration are taken into account.

Canadian immigrant retention rates “a success story”

Don Drummond, from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, told CTV News that the findings show that Canada has a “success story.”

In an email, Drummond told CTV News that from the opposite perspective, 95 percent stay within the first few years and 83 percent stay through 20 years.

However, the bigger issue highlighted in the study is low retention rates in communities that need immigrants the most.

Francis Fong, managing director at TD Economics in Toronto, told CTV News that many places across the country that have a dire need for new immigrants, such as Atlantic Canada, have seen a loss of population from interprovincial migration in addition to lower retention rates of immigrants.

As Canadian immigration grows so does emmigration

As Canadian immigration levels have been rising so too have emmigration levels. However, the Canadian population is driven largely by immigration. If recent demographic dynamics continue, Canada’s population growth could continue to depend almost entirely on international migration in the coming decades, the study says.

In 2024, Canada will welcome 485,000 new immigrants, according to the latest Immigration Levels Plan. Preliminary data for how many immigrants were admitted to Canada in 2023 will be available later in February.

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