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  • Amir Akhtar

A quarter of Canada’s immigrants arrived from India in 2019

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

The top five source countries of new immigrants to Canada were India, China, the Philippines, Nigeria, and the United States of America. Immigration from India and Nigeria is booming.

India was by far the main source country of new immigrants to Canada in 2019.

China was the second leading source country, followed by the Philippines, Nigeria, the United States, Pakistan, Syria, Eritrea, South Korea, and Iran.

Total New Immigrants in 2019341,1801. India85,5852. China30,2603. Philippines27,8154. Nigeria12,5955. United States of America10,8006. Pakistan10,7907. Syria10,1208. Eritrea7,0259. Korea, Republic of6,11010. Iran6,055

India is number one

India accounted for 25 per cent of the 341,000 immigrants welcomed by Canada. The Indian share of Canada’s newcomers has increased significantly in recent years. Back in 2015, India made up 14 per cent of Canada’s newcomers.

India is easily Canada’s leading immigrant source country for the following reasons. It is the second-largest country in the world in terms of population, which means it has a huge pool of potential immigrants. It also has a significant middle-class population with high levels of English language proficiency and education, who also have professional backgrounds that meet Canada’s immigrant selection criteria. Indian nationals comprise the majority of applicants under the H1-B Temporary Skilled Worker Program in the United States. Approval rates for the H1-B visa program have declined under the administration of President Donald Trump. This has resulted in Indian nationals living in the U.S. choosing to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Immigration from China remains stagnant

While nearly 86,000 Indian nationals were granted permanent residence in 2019, China was a distant second with 30,000 of its citizens becoming new immigrants to Canada (9 per cent of all of Canada’s newcomers).

The number of newcomers from China has remained stagnant in recent years, hovering around 30,000 immigrants, even as Canada continues to increase its intake. It is difficult to determine precisely why this is the case but there are two possible reasons: China’s rising standard of living is reducing its citizens’ interest in settling abroad, and Canada’s higher English language standards. It is estimated that English speakers represent less than 10 per cent of China’s population (compared to over 10 per cent of the Indian population).

Immigration from the Philippines is declining

Immigration from the Philippines has been steadily declining over the past five years. In 2015, more than 50,000 Filipinos obtained permanent residence, but this figure dropped to 28,000 in 2019. Due to this sharp decline, the Philippines has fallen behind China as the third leading source country of Canada’s immigrants. This is because Canada has significantly reduced its intake under the Caregiver Program. The overwhelming majority of immigrants admitted through the Caregiver Program come from the Philippines.

Canada is welcoming more immigrants from Nigeria

Immigration from Nigeria has been booming in recent years. Previously, Nigeria was sending about 5,000 immigrants a year to Canada, but this figure has doubled to 11,000 in 2018. Last year, nearly 13,000 Nigerians obtained permanent residence. Nigerian nationals have an advantage when applying under Canada’s economic class programs because they are native English speakers. The recent travel ban imposed by the United States on some Nigerian nationals may create an added impetus for Nigerian immigration to increase further in 2020 and beyond.

American immigration to Canada is flat

Despite the notion that U.S. President Donald Trump is causing more people who disapprove of him to move from America to Canada, the evidence shows this is not the case. Nearly 11,000 U.S. citizens immigrated to Canada in 2019, which is consistent with figures over recent years (about 3 per cent of Canada’s new immigrants come from the U.S. each year).

Canada welcomes immigrants from 175 countries

Canada is perhaps the most open country in the world for immigrants, welcoming newcomers from 175 countries each year. This is due in large part to the fact that Canada became the first country to launch an objective, points-based economic class immigration system in 1967. Since this major development, Canada has seen its immigrant source countries diversify significantly.

Canada’s economic class immigration system does not take into account a candidate’s country of origin. In addition, Canada does not have per-country quotas in place. As long as applicants meet Canada’s economic class eligibility criteria, they are welcomed by the country with open arms.

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