Reverse migration the Impact of Affordability and Job Opportunities in Canada

by Ronalee Carey Law

April 2024

This month’s newsletter is guest-authored by Moria Konecnik, our Immigration Case Manager.

On November 1, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that the federal government intends to maintain its target of admitting 500,000 new permanent residents in 2026. In 2023, Canada welcomed 471,550 new permanent residents – all seeking the promising allure of the “Canadian Dream.”

Despite Canada's open arms to a large number of immigrants, a staggering 17.5% of them emigrate within 20 years in what is known as ‘reverse migration.’ This raises a pressing question – why? While various factors are at play, the issue of affordability stands out as a significant challenge for many immigrants.

I immigrated to Canada almost two years ago from the United States. My hometown, Silver Spring, Maryland, is right on the border of Maryland and Washington, D.C., so I am no stranger to living in a nation’s capital and the affordability issues that can come with it.

I share a lot of experiences with the immigrants in these articles. While I initially had a job and a place of residence lined up when I first moved, some of the plans fell through. I was unemployed in a foreign country with no knowledge of what steps I could take to survive during an era of inflation. There’s no sugarcoating it – it was a hard time. I am lucky to be where I am now, but others don’t find the same success in Canada. Despite the U.S. sharing a similarly suffering job market, I was close to returning home. I would at least have experience and other connections in the American job market.

It's essential to recognize the significant contributions immigrants make to Canada. They account for a staggering 90% of the country’s labour force growth. International students, in particular, play a crucial role, contributing over $20 billion to Canada’s economy. Yet, Prime Minister Trudeau introduced a cap on international student permits.

Reverse immigration poses a serious threat to Canada’s economy and job force. A review of Canada’s immigration and integration policies is critical. Canada works very hard to attract new talent; let’s not let our efforts go to waste.