Smaller Canadian cities becoming more popular with immigrants

Author: Swift Connect |

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International students are increasingly attracted to Canada for the high-quality institutions and friendly immigration policies. Current trends suggest that smaller Canadian cities are welcoming record numbers of foreign nationals to study, work, and settle in Canada.

A Ryerson University study found that there was a 45% increase in the number of immigrants settling in smaller Canadian cities between 2013 and 2019.

Additionally, the study found that the immigrant population grew by 9% in the four major Canadian cities – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited almost 25,000 immigrants in January 2021. Most newcomers arrive in Canada in the Spring and Summer every year to align with the school and work schedule of the country.

Many Canadian universities have a strong reputation such as the university of British Columbia, University of Toronto, and McGill University are all ranked among the world’s top 100. Universities in smaller cities like Dalhousie University and the University of Regina are becoming more popular among international students.

In recent years, Saskatchewan cities, such as Regina and Saskatoon, had higher immigration rates than Toronto.

Below is a list of other Canadian cities that were popular among foreign nationals.

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Brandon, Manitoba
  • Steinbach, Manitoba
  • Thompson, Manitoba
  • Winkler, Manitoba
  • Swift Current, Saskatchewan
  • Brooks, Alberta
  • High River, Alberta
  • Wood Buffalo, Alberta

The Ryerson study found that the increase in international migration to urban centres were a response to the demographic and workforce challenges associated with an ageing population. With ageing populations, cities need to rapidly grow their workforce. This is typically done through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).