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Canadian data: More from US moving north

By RENA LI in Toronto | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-07-20 10:38

A fairly steady increase in the number of people from the US relocating to Canada is showing up in Canadian immigration data.

Statistics from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada show that the number of Americans granted permanent residence in Canada has risen each year since 2015.

The number of successful US applicants reached 11,950 in 2021 after a sharp decline during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In 2015, there were just 7,655, and the current number is the highest annual total since 1980.

In 2022 so far, 3,235 American applications were approved in the first quarter, the highest total for that three-month period in the last eight years. There have been 70,330 applications from the US approved since the end of 2014, including 5,040 in the first five months of 2022.

The "abiding sense" by some in the US is that they feel "powerless" to do anything about issues such as mass shootings and abortion rights, reported The Canadian Press.

"It really just feels kind of hopeless," Mackenzie Fresquez, 29, who lives in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado, with her husband, Isaac, told the news agency.

Issues in the US that have caused such concerns are the recent spate of mass shootings and the June 24 decision by the Supreme Court to strike down the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision that made abortion a federal right.

The case of a 10-year-old girl who had to travel from her home in Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion after she was raped became a political flashpoint.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion, leaving that decision up to states, which have widely divergent laws on the issue.

Since May, three mass shootings — in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Highland Park, Illinois claimed 36 lives, including 19 children in an Uvalde elementary school classroom.

The disparate approaches to several issues by the governors of California and Texas — the two most populous states in the nation — highlights the stark political divide in America, deepened by approaches to healthcare, gun control, the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBTQ rights and immigration.

In Canada, abortion is legal. The federal Liberal government has vowed to defend a woman's right to choose.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the overturning of Roe vs Wade "horrific".

"No government, politician or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body," Trudeau said.

The Trudeau government introduced legislation on May 30 to implement a national freeze on the sale and purchase of handguns as part of a gun control package a week after the Uvalde massacre.

Mask and vaccine mandates also are political minefields in the US.

Google searches for "how to move to Canada" have jumped recently. The search phrase "how to move to Canada from US" spiked 850 percent shortly after the Supreme Court decision was announced, Axios reported.

Immigration experts, however, say that moving to Canada might not be that easy.

"There are routes that can be taken, but not by everybody, and knowing how to navigate them requires some planning," said lawyer Henry Chang, a Toronto-based partner in the Employment and Labour group at Dentons who specializes in Canada-US business immigration, to the Press.

While the Canadian government has a variety of channels and programs designed to attract certain would-be migrants, not everyone qualifies.

There are three main categories for those interested in moving permanently to Canada, and all of them have rigid criteria.

Applicants to the federal skilled worker program must meet minimum standards for work experience, language skills and education level before being scored on a variety of factors.

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