If you want to attract immigrants to your town, you need to understand what exactly they are looking for. That’s why immigrant mobility data is so important – it lets you know which areas immigrants like most and what they find attractive there. Fortunately, Statistic Canada has access to this kind of data through the 2020 Longitudinal Immigration Database.
It’s therefore not surprising that they used this data for their recent study on which Canadian cities and provinces have the highest retention rates for immigrants. For this study, they focused on immigrants who moved to Canada in 2014.
Interestingly, immigrants who moved into Vancouver in 2014 had a retention rate of a little over 86% within 5 years of admission into Canada – the highest in the country. This information was found by comparing the number of immigrants who moved into Vancouver when they came to Canada in 2014 with the number who are still filing taxes there.
So, an 86% retention rate means that 86 of every 100 immigrants who came to Vancouver in 2014 are still filing taxes there. Interestingly, this is the exact retention rate of Toronto – the second-highest in the country. And this is closely followed by Edmonton’s retention rate which is 85%.
When it comes to Atlantic Canada though, the retention rate went down to 58%, with Nova Scotia having the highest rate – 63%.
According to the Statistics Canada study, nearly 86% of immigrants stay in their province of admission. Interestingly, Ontario has the highest retention rate – almost 94%. It is closely followed by British Columbia and Alberta, which have retention rates of almost 90% and 89% respectively.
It’s also worth noting that immigrants who have family members in a province are more likely to stay in it. In fact, immigrants who are sponsored by family members have a five-year retention rate of more than 93%. On the other hand, economic-class immigrants and refugees have retention rates of 82% and 86% respectively.
Another interesting thing that the study revealed is that it’s easier for immigrants to move in the first few years after they are admitted. For instance, while the 5-year retention rate for Canadian immigrants was found to be 88%, the 10-year one was 86%. However, the retention rates by immigration class and province were similar for both time frames.
The leading provinces for the 10-year time frame were still the same – Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Their retention rates were 91.5%, 87.3%, and 86.1% respectively. And when it comes to Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia ranked high again, with a retention rate of 58%.
As for refugees or people who were on a work permit prior to immigrating to Canada, their retention rates were 92% and 88.3% respectively. What’s more? Most of these people stayed in their region of admission.
If there’s one thing you should know about immigrants with prior Canadian experience, it’s that they prefer to stay in the region where they worked or studied. For instance, most immigrants with prior work experience who became permanent residents in 2014 stayed in the region that they were admitted to.
Even refugees with prior work experience were more likely to stay in the region that they were admitted to – they have a retention rate of 93%. On the other hand, immigrants who relied wholly on work permits before acquiring Canadian permanent residence had a retention rate of a little over 90%.
Those who had both study and work experience in the region had a retention rate of 81% while those who only had study permits before becoming permanent residents have a 79% retention rate.
When it comes down to it, people like living in familiar places – the longer they stay in a place the harder it is for them to leave. So if you want to boost your area’s immigrant retention rate, your best bet is to make it comfortable for first-time visitors. Ultimately, these are the people more likely to boost your town’s numbers!