(The numbers of Americans moving to Canada each year is modest. The Trump effect will unlikely change this.)
“Bring us your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – Statue of Liberty
Video: Watch Attorney Colin R. Singer featured on BNN: “‘Moving to Canada’ Googling spikes as Trump gains support”
Donald Trump appears to have solidified his status as Republican presidential frontrunner after winning seven states on Super Tuesday. However, his policies appear to be creating a divisive culture and panic amongst many Americans. One of the spillover effects garnering attention is the volume of internet searches in Canadian immigration circles with terms such as “Canada immigration”, “How to move to Canada” on Google and #movetocanada on Twitter, figuring prominently.
The first rumblings of a Canada immigration movement were heard after Trump announced his presidential run. They intensified after he proposed a total ban on Muslims entering the U.S. And on Tuesday, as Trump’s nomination became an ever-looming reality, the desperation reached a fever pitch.
According to Google trends, searches for “How to move to Canada” surged as Tuesday’s results came in. Simon Rogers, a data editor at Google, noted that the phrase’s search popularity had increased by 350 percent between 8 p.m. and midnight ET. At midnight, the spike reached 1150 percent. To quote Trump himself, “Just look at the numbers, way up!”
Many Americans are looking for solutions and Canada’s immigration policies are in the spot light. Canada’s glimmer of hope is contained in more than its geographic convenience. As The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor has pointed out, Justin Trudeau is in many ways the “anti-Trump.”
Canada has been making headlines in recent years. Toronto, often considered to be a mini Canadian version of New York City, received its share of favourable attention with the recent staging of the 2016 NBA All-star weekend festivities with the Toronto based rapper Drake sharing centre stage. The Toronto International Film Festival is a popular annual event for the film industry, with no less than 13 films that premiered at TIFF going on to Oscar glory. On Canada’s West coast, Vancouver has also become a favourite among many, including the Hollywood film industry. There are currently no less than 3 feature films being produced and capitalizing on Canada’s low loonie.
Indeed, for over a decade, Canada has been a strong “destination consideration” for many Americans who become disenfranchised with US politics and pursue a permanent relocation here. During the 2004 presidential election campaign Canada’s immigration policies garnered considerable attention from a democratic following, who favored many of the policies of the long standing liberals at the time.
But the term “destination consideration” needs to be put into its proper perspective as it does not necessarily translate into a surge in actual numbers of Americans moving to Canada. Using the 2004 elections as a base line, the numbers of foreign nationals from the United States permanently moving to Canada increased in 2005 by 20%, 37.5% in 2006, and 35% in 2007 and reaching a peak of 45.8% in 2008 before retreating downwards in subsequent years. In absolute terms, the increase in US citizens permanently moving to Canada only translated into 1404 in 2005, 2622 in 2006, 2473 in 2007, and 3200 in 2008 before retreating downwards. Between 2008 and 2014 inclusive, on average, 8283 Americans permanently relocated to Canada each year representing approximately 3.16% of the approximately 262,000 foreign nationals immigrating to Canada, annually.
Excluding family class spousal sponsorship most Americans choosing to relocate to Canada will apply under one of the economic class programs. The Economic Class primarily comprises of professionals and skilled workers under the Express Entry system featuring the skilled worker program, and other programs including the Quebec skilled worker program and provincial nominees as well as business programs.
If history provides any measure of indication, should Donald Trump become the next president of the United States, the number of Americans carrying forward with a relocation project to Canada will likely increase. It remains to be seen just how many.
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