Beyond Big Names—6 Actionable Pointers to Find the Best Canadian Cities for Immigration
Best cities for immigrants in Canada—this is a very commonly-searched phrase among skilled workers and even students seeking to work, study, or settle in Canada.
A quick search online will throw up names like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal. These are among the top-five destinations for immigrants entering Canada. However, simply focusing on the big names and ignoring other factors can lead to a flawed choice.
Beyond Big Names—Look for Big Movers
The first actionable point is to look for cities seeing a surge in immigrants in the past one-two years.
Some big names will always be found on this list, but it’s equally important to look for cities that have made big moves on the list of immigrant-friendly cities. The past two years have seen cities from the four Atlantic provinces making big moves in the list of destinations with a large number of immigrants as percentage of its total population.
Since this is because of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program’s popularity among skilled workers and international students, you too can seriously consider these four provinces in your future plans.
Immigration is the Solution, but What’s the Problem?
Just why is Canada so eager to attract immigrants, especially skilled workers. Exactly what problem does immigration solve? Identify the problem and you will it easier to forecast the city/destination that will have very immigration-friendly policies in the coming years.
Toronto’s one of the fastest-growing tech hub in North America and this has contributed to the city’s popularity among immigrants.
Canada is relying on immigration to counter the problems of an aging population and low birth rate. So, look for cities where the government is setting up hubs related to technology, manufacturing, life sciences or other sectors. These cities are likely to attract more immigrants in the years ahead.
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Look for Economic Growth
Strong economic growth is the best and clearest indication that a province’s or community’s immigration strategy is working. This means a province that’s attracting skilled talent from across the globe will witness strong and steady economic performance as well.
So, look for cities and destinations that rank high in terms of economic growth as well as population growth. This will reduce the element of luck involving in choosing the right immigration destination.
Where are the New Jobs?
A city with high unemployment levels is unlikely to attract a large number of skilled workers from abroad. Instead, look for destinations with more job creators as compared to job seekers. Again, this is sector specific, which means a city with a large number of tech jobs may not be of any use for a life science or biotech graduate.
Look for provinces with strong industries and employers in your occupation and focus on options where job creation is the highest.
Bad News May Actually be Good News!
Quebec is the only Canadian province to reduce its immigration target over the past few years. This is why Montreal has ranked lower among cities that have attracted large number of immigrants in recent years.
Despite the cut in targets, Quebec’s immigration policy continues to focus on skilled workers. So, an economic worker or student who meets Quebec’s unique requirements should not find it tough to qualify for permanent residence in Quebec.
So, this supposed bad news may actually turn to be a plus for those who are confident enough to add value to the Quebec economy. Of course, those unable to qualify to Quebec continue to have the option of exploring other provinces.
Go Local as Immigration Gets Decentralized
Too much of anything is a bad thing, and this is true for immigration as well. This is why Ontario has a separate list of in-demand occupations for those willing to move to a city or destination outside the Greater Toronto Area.
As community pilots gain steam, you may have to look beyond top provinces and focus on the right pilot offered by the right community in Canada. This may be more important for students because most communities participating in pilot programs have a clear preference for those who have already worked or studied there.
From trucking statistics to feedback from new immigrants, there are many ways to compare immigrant-friendly cities and destinations. The smartest option would be to work with an immigration professional who can help you consider all relevant factors and take an informed decision.