Despite a global pandemic that has made the public be warier of world travel, there is still a high degree of interest from abroad towards moving to Canada, states a survey published Friday by World Education Services (WES), a non-profit specializing in advocating for recognition of international qualification.
The Government of Canada closed the border last March to all entrants except for essential travellers like those in food logistics. Since then, small corridors have been opened in order to allow some people to come to Canada. As of Oct. 20, international students were allowed to enter the country in order to attend classes at Canadian post-secondary institutions. The feds are also planning on leveraging increased immigration as part of the national post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan. All of these factors create an increased interest in coming to Canada.
But the study draws attention towards a different factor behind the high level of interest. Just under 28,000 WES applicants with a foreign credential evaluation, who lived outside Canada were asked between 12 to 14 questions to understand their reasons for wanting to move to Canada. Overall, those questions showed that while only 38 per cent of respondents were interested in Canada in April, that number increased to 46 per cent by August, with an additional 48 per cent saying COVID-19 had no impact on their level of interest. One of the questions, “To what degree do you expect COVID-19 to positively or negatively impact economic conditions?” provides the reader with a clue into the level of interest in Canada. Between April and August of this year, 80 to 81 per cent of those surveyed expected economic conditions in their country to be worse than in Canada. Conversely, between 56 and 68 per cent of respondents expected conditions to be worse in Canada.
It is a similar story with the perception of job availability in Canada versus their home countries. In August, 60 per cent of potential newcomers said that COVID-19 will impact the job market in their country of origin. This was a dramatic increase from April, 47 per cent, and June, 57 per cent. But the perception of Canada remained comparatively steady. There was only a slight increase in people saying the job market would be negatively affected in Canada, from 44 per cent in April to 47 per cent in August.
Mansoor Tanweer is New Canadian Media’s Local Journalism Initiative reporter on immigration policy. An immigrant himself, he has covered municipal affairs and the Brampton City Council in addition to issues relating to newcomers over several years.