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Canada attracts educated immigrants, but is the US a more desirable destination?

Canada is successful at welcoming educated immigrants every year, but when it comes to the most educated immigrants around the world – those with PhDs – the United States remains a more attractive destination, finds a new study released by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Canada has done a good job of attracting educated immigrants, but there’s more work to do to lure the world’s best and brightest who continue to see the US as a more attractive destination,” said Steven Globerman, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of Highly Educated Immigrants: Economic Contributions and Implications for Public Policy.

The study finds that the percentage of immigrants to Canada with a first-stage tertiary degree (essentially all college and university degrees except PhDs.) is consistently higher than in the US and other developed countries.

For example, from 2006 to 2016, approximately 50 per cent of immigrants to Canada had a college or university degree (excluding PhDs), compared to just over 40 per cent for the US, 35 per cent for Australia and 24 per cent for New Zealand.

However, the US attracts a higher percentage of immigrants with PhDs (relative to all immigrants) than Canada.

Again from 2006 to 2016, according to data from the United Nations, approximately 1.5 per cent of immigrants to Canada had PhDs compared to just over two per cent for the US.

Crucially, immigrants with PhDs and other STEM training (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) have the most positive economic impact due to increased innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Tweaking immigration policy to give greater weight to advanced STEM degrees and PhDs would better reflect the economic importance of those most highly educated immigrants,” Globerman said. “Beyond immigration reform, policymakers should also look to create a more competitive environment in Canada – for example, with lower personal income taxes – to further help lure those immigrants choosing between Canada or elsewhere.”

 The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research.

For more info, visit www.fraserinstitute.org 

Posted: Sep 5, 2019

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