The Canadian Dream: Why Immigrants are Leaving Canada & The Surprising Exodus

Why immigrants are leaving Canada?

As the saying goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side until you reach there!” Similar is the scenario with the Canadian dream. None of us are unaware of the hype of staying in a developed country like Canada. Almost everybody working in the service sector seeks an opportunity to be a resident of Canada. Many of them get this golden opportunity too! Now, here comes the plot twist. As per recent reports, the majority of immigrants are planning to leave Canada. Despite striving hard to get a residency and citizenship, they are firm on their decision. Why immigrants are leaving Canada? You may ask.

Why immigrants are leaving Canada?

Go through this write-up and you will get the answer!

Story so far

For a resident of a developing Asian/African country, it is no less than a dream to settle in a developed country. A luxurious house, a high-paying job, a well-settled family, and good healthcare are the aims associated with that dream. Unfortunately, none of these is a cup of cake in reality.

Story so far- Why immigrants are leaving India?

Look at the recent survey commissioned by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship– “More than 1/5th of the recent immigrants are making plans to leave Canada. Highly skilled immigrants under the age of 34 constitute 30% of the immigrants. Over half of them are going to leave the country within the next 2 years. The majority of immigrants are planning to leave Canada. Despite striving hard to get a residency and citizenship, they are firm on their decision. Why immigrants are leaving Canada? You may ask. Because they aren’t able to cope in the land of Maple Leaf! 

Don’t you wonder about the factors that are leading to a surprising exodus? If yes, then look at the next section to know the key reasons behind it.

Why Immigrants are Leaving Canada? Reasons Explained

Canada is usually known for its welcoming and inclusive immigration policies. Despite that, immigrants face major issues to make a living with an exclusive lifestyle. In this section you will know the major reasons for why immigrants are leaving Canada.

Do you know the prime reason for migrating to developed countries? To get a better life! Living in a developed country like Canada not only confers you with an upgraded lifestyle. But also with golden growth opportunities. Well, this is a common notion of the folks. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real challenges begin once you step foot in a foreign land like Canada. And then you find the following economic, social, career, as well as climatic challenges-

1. Lack of Job Opportunities: Not finding a desirable job

Unable to find a desirable job in Canada

People migrate to Canada either to pursue higher education or to up-level their careers. So, you also aim to upgrade your career. Surely, you can qualify to get admission to Canadian Universities for study or research work. Thereafter, you may plan to find a job in your respective field and apply for it. But alas! You couldn’t find a single job related to your field. Surely, you would be shaken to your spine (utterly shocked). 

In such a situation, you are left with only two choices. Either return to your home country or opt for lower-skilled jobs with lower pay. An immigrant Ph.D. holder working in a retail shop is not a new thing in Canada. Surprisingly, this is not the case with whites born in Canada or native Canadians.  Why? You may ask. You will get to know it in the upcoming sections.

But what makes it so difficult to find a desirable job despite holding a degree in the respective field? You may wonder.

The reason is, there is no shortage of jobs in Canada that requires a high level of education or skills. It has a shortage of laborers in low-skilled jobs. That’s the reason why you see immigrant engineers and doctors working in shops, restaurants, and gas stations. Although, our older generation opted for these common jobs. The current generation is not likely to let their skills and education go in vain.

This is the reason why immigrants below the age of 34 are planning to leave Canada. 

2. Lacking Canadian Experience

Due to lack of Canadian Experience, immigrants are leaving Canada

Imagine a scenario where you work in a multinational company in a managerial position and you plan to settle in Canada. You may expect to join a Canadian company in the same post or an upper-level post with greater responsibilities. Obviously because of your good expertise and long experience. But the earth turns upside down once you land in Canada! You apply for a job and get it at the post of an “intern” or a “fresher”. The land slips away beneath your feet. You enquire about the employer and get to know the cause- “Lacking Canadian Experience.” 

Yes, it is the Canadian Experience that counts when you apply for a job in Canada. Whatever you learned in your homeland or any other country is not counted in your skills or experience. Therefore, you need to start again from the rock bottom. This harsh reason is enough to scare the immigrants or disappoint them. This leads to the next factor that is described below.

3. Immigrant Wage Gap

Why immigrants are leaving Canada- Due to wage gap.

Whether you opt for a low-skilled job or a fresher/intern post in any Canadian company. Both of them will lead to the same outcome i.e. “Low Wages.” Despite holding expertise, skills, and experience you are left with no choice but to work for low wages. Being an immigrant would you like to compromise your skills and wages just to live in Canada? (Write down your thoughts in the comment section). 

However, the complications are not limited to only low wages. Do you know that immigrants earn 10% less than the natives for the same job? The most likely reason is the native’s experience, and expertise is counted fairly but not for an immigrant. The huge gap in wages between the natives and the immigrants is a major factor of disappointment for the latter. People migrate to advanced countries for better pay not to compromise on income or skills. 30 years ago the wage gap was less than 4% but now it has risen to 10%. 

This factor immensely contributes to the exodus of immigrants from Canada.

4. Difficulty in restarting your career

Difficulty to restart your career in Canada

After facing the three scenarios mentioned above, you’re still not willing to leave Canada. Well, that’s a great optimistic vision. So, you decide to stay in Canada and restart your career. Reason? You will start a career that has a huge demand in Canada and you won’t have to compromise on wages either. Also, you won’t have to settle for low-skilled jobs. Enthusiastically you apply for a course that costs over $10,000. Damn! You don’t have enough money. No worries. You apply for a loan. And there again the story repeats- Lacking a Canadian Credit History! Not a single bank will lend you funds to restart your career. Because you lack Canadian Credit History.

Even if you manage to collect money for your course enrollment, it will take 2-5 years to gain the expertise and decent pay. Therefore, it is very expensive and time-consuming to gain a new professional status in Canada.

This is the breaking point that shatters the hopes of immigrants and they are left with no choice but to leave Canada.

5. Chronic Poverty

Who lives in poverty in Canada?

All of the above challenges will lead to the chronic poverty of immigrants. Over 12% of them are currently facing it. Do you know nearly 1/3rd of immigrants face shelter poverty? Also, you can’t ignore the doomed market condition of the post-pandemic era. The Canadian CPI (Consumer Price Index) has increased nearly 6.7% since March 2021. For immigrants, inflation is like adding insult to injury. It includes-

  • Soaring Gas Prices
  • Expensive groceries
  • Expensive apparel
  • High rentals and real estate cost
  • Complicated Medical Treatments

Do you know what the major expenditure for immigrants is apart from the commodities mentioned above? Taxes! Yes, despite being an immigrant you need to pay heavy taxes in Canada. It includes both direct and indirect taxes. According to the Canadian Income Tax System, the taxation is 25% on the Canadian source of income for immigrants. For more details, you can visit their official website. You must never assume the Canadian taxation system is as lenient and soft as the Indian Taxation System.

The high taxes and high cost of living are coaxing the immigrants to leave Canada.

6. Life-threatening winters

Life Threatening Winters in Canada

If you are a resident of India and not living in places like Ladakh or Kashmir. Probably you won’t have ever witnessed temperatures below -20°C. The average temperature in Canada, especially during winter is around -30°C. The climatic challenges are not limited to low temperatures only. Some other cold climatic challenges include-

  • Extreme Snowfall
  • Low Visibility
  • Freezing Temperatures
  • Ice Burns

All of them are due to chilly winters. It is a life-threatening challenge if you don’t own a warm house or expensive warm coats in Canadian winters. And if you are poverty-stricken in that land, then you may have to risk your life.

So, did you see that all the reasons are interconnected? One cause, if not solved will lead to another cause and a cycle will go on! The immigrants also face numerous social prejudices and discriminatory racist practices. Also, the majority of immigrants belong to India and China i.e.18.6% and 8.9% respectively. Both countries don’t allow dual citizenship. Due to all these reasons immigrants are leaving Canada on a mass scale.

Final Words: What’s Ahead?

By now you must have understood why immigrants are leaving Canada. Do you know Canada is a part of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)? Due to the exodus of immigrants, it ranked at the bottom among 21 OECD countries. It needs skilled immigrants to boost its GDP and to balance its declining population. After all, who will run the country in the future if it doesn’t have a skilled, working, and young generation? 

Therefore, the Trudeau government is all set to welcome 500,000 immigrants yearly by 2025. However, according to analysts, this influx will worsen the situation. How? You may ask. Canada needs a viable plan to absorb the newcomers. With a viable plan, we mean that it should fix the issues (mentioned above) that are scaring the immigrants. 

Let’s hope that Canada will bring the right policies to fix the current issues and sustain the immigrants!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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Shivangi Kant
Shivangi Kant
10 months ago

I read about different aspects which may affect a person financially, mentally, and physically being a resident in Canada. Many of them were being discussed as a perk of being a resident in Canada, but upon taking a closer look, we are inclined to believe that Canada may not be the haven it once was. People must rethink before choosing a place to settle down in. The perks may seem amusing and the salaries high, but not all the time are things as glorious as you expect them to be. Immigrants should not take risk much.