Europe’s Economic Problems Causing Rise in European Immigration to Canada

The increase in the unemployment rate in many European countries due to the economic problems those countries have been facing after decades of very high social welfare spending levels, and most recently, the financial crisis of 2008, has led to a significant increase in the number of Europeans applying to immigrate to Canada, as described in a new report by Brian Stewart of the CBC:

More than 40,000 Irish workers poured into Canada in 2010-11 after economic calamity took down the so-called Celtic Tiger. In Toronto alone, a special Irish-Canadian immigration centre is being launched to help the more than 10,000 who arrived on working visas. If the past is any judge, this kind of out-migration from Ireland may be just a modest beginning.

This month thousands of carpenters, electricians, machine operators and the like lined up for hours to attend the Working Abroad Expo in the city of Cork. There they listened to pitches from Canadian and Australian companies who are in strong competition to recruit trades people for mining, construction and health-care.

But even the 300,000 unemployed in Ireland today is but the grim tip of the iceberg when it comes to Europe’s economy.

The latest estimates are of 24 million unemployed men and women in the European Union, with jobless numbers running at 23 per cent in Spain (a devastating 49 per cent among young people) and roughly 20 per cent in Greece.

European immigrants more easily assimilate into Canada than immigrants from Asia and Africa due to cultural affinity to the majority, better English and French language skills, and skills more relevant to an advanced economy, so the expected shift in immigration patterns is likely to be welcomed by Canadian immigration officials.

Changes made to Canada’s immigration assessment system in the last few years have given immigration applicants from English and French speaking countries an advantage in immigrating to Canada due to a greater emphasis placed on language skills in how points are awarded in the assessment process, so this group of applicants is expected to be more successful than the average in getting accepted.