Why are More Jamaicans Choosing to Relocate to Canada Rather than USA?

In the pursuit of better opportunities, many Jamaicans have historically looked to the United States of America to relocate. However recent data on migration provides insights into how this trend is changing. According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) 2022 Economic and Social Survey, a total of 19,063 Jamaicans were granted visas for permanent residence or citizenship in the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom in 2021.


Preferred Destinations: USA, Canada, and UK

The report highlights that these three countries have remained popular choices for Jamaican immigrants. Among them, the United States has historically been the primary destination, although Canada and the UK are also attractive options. Interestingly, the data reveals a significant shift in the patterns of migration, particularly regarding emigration to the USA.

Decline in Emigration to the USA

While the United States continues to be a favored destination, the numbers show a noticeable decrease. In fact, there has been a substantial 38.4% drop in the number of Jamaicans emigrating to the USA. The situation is different for Canada, which actually saw an increase in the number of Jamaican immigrants in 2021 compared to 2019. Overall, there has been a 31.9% reduction in emigration from Jamaica when compared to 2019.

Understanding the Categories of Admission

Migration to the US involves various categories of admission. Notably, the largest proportion, around 85.2%, falls under the category of “Immediate Relatives to US Citizens.” The second-largest group, constituting approximately 7.4%, comes via “Family Sponsored Preferences.”

Rising Migration to Canada

Canada has seen a notable up-tick in Jamaican migrants, with a striking 99.3% increase in the number of Jamaicans granted permanent resident status in 2021 compared to the previous year. Most of the immigrants fall within the working-age population, with those aged 30-34 forming the largest group.

Changes in British Citizenship

Interestingly, British citizenship was granted to Jamaicans through different categories, including “Residence, Marriage, Entitlement or Discretionary.” However, there was a 22.9% decrease in the number of Jamaicans granted British citizenship in 2021 compared to the prior year.

Challenges and Opportunities

As migration patterns shift, challenges and opportunities emerge. While there’s been a decrease in the number of Commonwealth citizens residing in Jamaica, it’s important to note that the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) certificates are still being actively pursued. These certificates allow Jamaicans to move and work freely across participating CSME member states, promoting the exchange of skills, labour, and expertise.

The changing landscape of Jamaican migration reflects a complex interplay of factors. While emigration to the USA has seen a decline, Canada is increasingly becoming a favored destination for Jamaican immigrants. These trends indicate a dynamic shift in the pursuit of opportunities abroad, shaping the future of Jamaican migration patterns.

Photo – Deposit Photos

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