WES – World Education Services has released the details of its latest investigation into how the coronavirus pandemic has changed immigration intentions. The credential assessment provider surveyed thousands of potential Canadian immigrants, who requested WES assessments between January 2019 and July 2020. A total of 27,930 valid responses were analyzed for this report.
There were three key findings in the WES report: Interest in immigrating to Canada increased between April and August among potential immigrants; at the same time, the number of respondents planning to delay immigration has decreased significantly; and potential immigrants expect the economic situation in their country of origin to be worse than in Canada.
Since the start of the pandemic, this is the third report of its kind. The first measures attitudes towards Canadian immigration at the height of the first wave in April. The second looked at comparable data in June. The recently released survey is a snapshot of August attitudes.
Most of the respondents to this survey, 46%, were Indian citizens and 17% were from Nigeria. Filipino citizens and Pakistani citizens represented 5% and 4% of respondents, respectively. Lebanese and Bangladeshi citizens each made up 2% of respondents, and the remaining 25% were clustered in “other” countries.
WES used stratified random sampling to conduct the survey. Data were collected from August 17-26, 2020.
More negative economic conditions to be expected in the home country
As seen in previous reports, potential immigrants have high rates of the negative perception of economic conditions in their country of origin. Only 56 percent of respondents expected to see negative economic conditions in Canada, compared to 80 percent in their home country.
The difference between expectations for Canada and the countries of origin of respondents may explain why people are more interested in moving to Canada during the pandemic.
COVID-19 to have a negative affect on job availability
A larger number of respondents said COVID-19 was negatively impacting the availability of jobs in their occupation or industry, both in Canada and in their home country. The increase was more common in people’s perception of their country of origin, with 47% expecting a negative impact in April, up from 60% in August. Expectations about the impact of the pandemic on jobs in Canada have risen slightly, from 41% in April to 44% in August.
Potential immigrants more interested in moving to Canada
The proportion of respondents who are more interested in immigrating to Canada rose from 38% in April to 46% in August. At the same time, fewer respondents said the pandemic had no impact on their interest, with the proportion of respondents dropping from 57% in April to 48% in August. The amount of the least interested remained the same between June and August at 6%.
No downfall in interest due to Economic hardship
Interest in Canadian immigration persists despite personal or family economic hardships and the ability to pay the costs of immigration.
In all the three surveys by WESa, about a third of respondents expected COVID-19 to negatively impact their ability to pay the costs of immigration. Just over half, 53%, predicted no impact.
A plurality of respondents, around 38 percent, said that personal or family economic difficulties would make them more interested in immigrating. Another 40 percent said it would have no impact.
The anticipation of a recession in Canada is not a deterrent for most
48% of respondents, said that an economic recession in Canada would not affect their immigration plans.
The proportion of those who said a recession in Canada would make them less interested in moving rose from 22% to 31% in June and August, while the proportion who said they were more interested fell from 34% to 19%.
About 49 percent said an economic recession in their home country would make them more interested in immigrating to Canada. Almost a third, 32%, said it would have no impact on their current plans.
The decrease in employment in immigrant occupations is not a deterrent for more than half
For almost half, or 48%, a decrease in jobs in Canada in the sectors or occupations of respondents would have no impact on their immigration plans. Additionally, 21% said it would make them more interested in immigrating to Canada.
About 42 percent of respondents said that a decrease in the number of jobs in their home country would make them more interested in immigrating to Canada. Almost a third, 31 percent, said the same decrease in Canada would make them less interested.
The results were consistent from April to August. Most of the respondents worked in finance, 13 percent, and in professional, scientific, and technical services, 11 percent.
Respondents from the Philippines reported increased interest in Canadian immigration
About 71% of respondents from the Philippines reported increased interest in Canadian immigration, most of the top source countries for permanent residents of Canada.
Most respondents from major source countries were either also interested or more interested in immigrating to Canada since the start of the pandemic.
No more than 10 percent of respondents from top source countries indicated that they were less interested in moving to Canada. The main source countries were the Philippines, Nigeria, Pakistan, the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and France.
Respondents in France were the most likely, at 68%, to say the pandemic had no impact on their immigration plans.
Consider less delaying immigration to Canada
The number of respondents who said they were unlikely to delay immigration rose from 35% in April to 62% in August.
Fewer people said they were likely to stay or return to their home country, falling from 35% in April to 20% in June and August.
Much said they wanted to immigrate to a country other than Canada. Meanwhile, those considering moving to a country other than Canada fell from 7% in April to 12% in June.
“Canada’s international travel ban and related policies may impact respondents’ choice of immigration destination,” the report said.
Fewer jobs, economic recession, and travel restrictions are the main deterrents
Of those who were considering delaying their immigration to Canada, most were concerned about declining jobs in their profession, the economic recession in Canada, and travel restrictions.
Those who said the risk of contracting COVID-19 while in transit to Canada has dropped from the main deterrent at 45% in April to 38% in August.
There was little change for those who cited travel restrictions, declining jobs, and the economic recession as the reasons for their declining interest. The proportions remained roughly between 42% and 44% in the three surveys.