The Leaky Bucket: A Study of Immigrant Retention Trends in Canada

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The Leaky Bucket: A Study of Immigrant Retention Trends in Canada

Pages:18 pages28 min read

Author: Kathryn Dennler


Are more immigrants leaving Canada than previously? This issue briefing begins to fill the gap in knowledge by analyzing trends in onward migration among immigrants to Canada.

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Canada’s future prosperity depends on immigration. Studies by The Conference Board of Canada show that immigration leads to GDP growth, improves the worker-to-retiree ratio, and eases labour shortages that add to inflation. To meet Canada’s immigration goals, the country must not only attract newcomers but also retain them. Yet very few attempts have been made to evaluate Canada’s immigrant retention rate.

What is the situation in Canada? Is onward migration—immigrants leaving Canada—increasing among more recent cohorts of immigrants? And if so, what are their reasons for leaving? At what point in the settlement journey are immigrants most likely to leave? And what is the key to retaining immigrants to Canada?

Read the issue briefing for our full analysis.

Key findings
Pairing immigration policy and a retention strategy
Explaining and measuring onward migration
Most onward migration happens in the early years
Cumulative onward migration is on the rise
Spike in onward migration in 2017 and 2019
A call to action on immigrant retention
Appendix A—Methodology
Appendix B—Bibliography

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