Reverse Immigration Hits Canada As 42,000 Migrant Citizens Relocate in 2023 Over High Cost of Living

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Canada’s escalating cost of living triggers a wave of reverse immigration, challenging the aspirations of those who sought a new life in the country. The high cost and scarcity of rentals are compelling immigrants to reconsider their decision to call Canada their adopted home. Prime Minister Trudeau, emphasizing immigration as a solution to demographic challenges, now faces a reversal as official data reveals a growing number of departures, reaching 42,000 in the first half of 2023.

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While immigration played a vital role in Canada’s recent population surge, the increasing trend of emigration poses a potential threat. This shift, despite being a fraction of the newcomers, risks undermining Trudeau’s policies that granted permanent residency to a record 2.5 million people in eight years.

Interviews with departing individuals shed light on their struggles. Cara, a 25-year-old refugee from Hong Kong, laments the high cost of living, paying 30% of her salary for a single-room basement apartment in Scarborough. The story echoes among others who are either leaving or contemplating departure due to financial constraints.

The departure rate, currently at about 0.09%, is a concern for observers who fear it could impact Canada’s appeal to newcomers. Rising housing costs emerge as a primary factor, with approximately 60% of household income needed for home ownership on average, rising significantly in cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

Myo Maung, a successful immigrant from Myanmar, plans to retire in a more affordable country like Thailand, citing the challenge of maintaining his living standard in Canada during retirement. Political science professor Phil Triadafilopoulos at the University of Toronto highlights the housing shortage exacerbated by rapid immigration.

In response to the housing crisis, Trudeau’s government recently capped the annual target for new residents, but for some, this intervention comes too late. Justinas Stankus, a 38-year-old from Lithuania pursuing a doctorate in political science, contemplates relocating to Southeast Asia for a lower cost of living and the ability to continue his research.

The personal stories and challenges faced by these immigrants underscore a growing concern that the dream of making it big in Canada is becoming increasingly difficult to realize, potentially impacting the nation’s attractiveness as a destination for those seeking a better life.

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