Rasheed Alkhanji QICMS
Published 02:39 AM 14 November 2016
Updated 12:25 PM 22 March 2022
Donald Trump, USA’s new President-elect as of Tuesday night, has many Americans in a frenzy. Some Americans were adamant about packing their bags and moving to Canada should Trump be elected, and the sheer number of online searches on emigrating north as his victory drew near actually crashed Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration website. The issue is that immigration to Canada can be a difficult process – even for Americans. It isn’t quite as simple as packing up and driving to their northern neighbour.
The website began working intermittently on Wednesday after current President Barack Obama phoned Trump to congratulate him. The significant increase in traffic to the site made it inaccessible to users. As a result, the number of Google searches for “move to Canada” and “immigrate to Canada” spiked, leading panicked Americans to Campbell Cohen’s website, our affiliated firm in Montreal, Quebec. The website saw seven times the normal amount of traffic it receives causing it to eventually crash as well.
David Cohen, the senior attorney at Campbell Cohen law firm, said that "America is very, very divided. One side was going to be very upset, and so I wasn't surprised to see increased traffic." Some Americans would have felt the same way if Hillary Clinton had won.
The result of all the traffic to Campbell Cohen’s site was 6,000 free assessment forms being filled between midnight and 5am Wednesday morning, with even more the following day. People want to know whether they’re eligible to move to Canada and Campbell Cohen is working overtime to respond to all inquiries.
Even though Canada has committed to accepting 300,000 immigrants this coming year, more than a third of those spots will likely be allocated to refugees and for family reunification applications. Americans will have a difficult time seeking asylum as they would have to prove a fear of persecution due to Trump being elected.
The majority of the remaining spots will go to skilled workers, with a small percentage of immigrants being allocated to the provincial business-class categories, but those spots are reserved for the wealthy who have significant business management experience.
The new express entry system has the fastest processing times at an average of six months; however, applicants that are selected preferentially have a job offer in Canada, are between the ages of 20 and 45, and have completed higher studies. In other words, very few people have a good chance of being selected through the express entry program.
Trump’s presidency is doubtful to send as many Americans as have expressed interest over the border. Wanting to go and actually going are two very different things. Those with young children and/or elderly parents to care for must consider the implications of a move on their families’ lives prior to taking action.
For the few Americans who successfully emigrate across the northern border, it is important to remember that due to the interdependence of the countries, Canada will possibly be the country most affected by Trump’s presidency. For instance, Trump’s views of NAFTA as the worst trade deal in history could be damaging to Canada’s economy, especially given that 60% of Canada’s global trade in 2014 was with the US, a trade relationship supported by NAFTA. Trump threatened to withdraw the US from the deal if Canada and Mexico refused his renegotiated terms.
This is not the first time that moving to Canada became a viral idea. After Bush’s election win in 2004, Canada’s immigration site experienced an increase from 20,000 hits a day to 115,000. Campbell Cohen’s site also received increased traffic after Bush’s victory.
Canadian immigration attorney David Cohen said, "This is a knee-jerk reaction. At the end of the day, Americans love their country, and I believe the vast, vast majority of people will ride this out unless, of course, things really do deteriorate in some way in the U.S." He advises those who are serious to “test the waters” first. Applying for a work permit or study permit in Canada is not only easier and faster than a permanent residence application, but will give someone the opportunity to experience Canada before making any permanent decisions.
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