Wed | Dec 2, 2020

Fewer J’cans migrating as Canada attracts more youth

Published:Friday | July 5, 2019 | 12:12 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

In 2017, fewer Jamaicans migrated to foreign countries in comparison to 2016, data from the 2018 Economic and Social Survey Jamaica (ESSJ) has revealed.

Traditionally, Jamaicans have migrated to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom and according to the survey, that trend has continued despite the decline in numbers.

The UK recorded the largest decrease, while Canada recorded the most significant increase.

“While the USA continued to be the main destination country for Jamaicans, there was a 6.2 per cent decrease to 21,905,” said the ESSJ.

“For the UK, there was a 28.6 per cent decrease in the total number of emigrants to 1,652, relative to 2,313 in 2016.

“There was, however, a 7.6 per cent increase to 3,830 in the number of emigrants to Canada,” said the survey published by the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

The report said that as it was with previous years, family-related classifications remained the main reasons for Jamaicans being granted visas for permanent residence in the US.

The ‘immediate relatives to US citizens’ category accounted for 67.1 per cent of applications being approved, while 28.1 per cent were due to ‘family-sponsored’ preferences. Another 4.4 per cent of applicants were in the ‘employment-based’ preferences category, while 0.2 per cent of applications were granted for ‘other’ reasons.

Canada continued to be attractive for younger Jamaicans, the report detailed.

Of the total of 3,830 Jamaicans who were granted permanent resident status in Canada in 2017, roughly 40 per cent were in the age group 25-39 years.

consistent pattern

The survey said this was a “consistent pattern in the age group of Jamaican emigrants to Canada observed over the years”.

It noted that the trend of the 10-19 age group making up the second highest group of emigrants continued, accounting for 20.9 per cent, relative to 21.2 per cent in the previous year.

The data also showed that 86.1 per cent of emigrants belonged to the category ‘non-workers, new workers, homemakers, students, and retirees’, a 0.7 percentage point increase when compared with 2016. This category had the highest percentage point increase (6.5) over the last five years.

For the ‘professionals, senior officials and technicians’ category, there were 356 emigrants in 2017 when compared with the 321 in 2016.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com