Warmth of Welcome: Australian, Canadian, and U.S. Immigration Systems Compared

Research team: Tony Fang, Memorial University; Morley Gunderson, University of Toronto; Arthur Sweetman, McMaster University; Ted McDonald, University of New Brunswick; Ather Akbari, St. Mary’s University; Yolande Pottie-Sherman, Memorial University; Carl Lin, Bucknell University, USA. Planned student participants and institutional partners.

Leveraging a team of national migration experts and using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods, our research will advance knowledge in international migration and global talent management, as well as in immigration selection and integration policies and their implications. Sound migration policy is fundamental to the future prosperity and international competitiveness of major migration countries. Drawing data from the 2013 Survey of Adult Skills (available for Australia, Canada, and the U.S.), the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia, and Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada, we will conduct both cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of immigrant labour market performance before and after reform policies in these countries. We will include examining the determinants and outcomes of individual transitional probabilities across different migrant statuses.

We will also investigate the pattern of mixed population flows. More specifically, we will: (1) document the mixed flows of migrants (both permanent and temporary) and establish the emerging trends; (2) explore the consequences of migration for the source, destination, and transit countries, as well as for the migrants themselves; and (3) inform immigration policy to better select future residents and citizens and design appropriate services for newcomers. Particular attention will be paid to the most vulnerable groups of migrants, such as temporary visa holders and climate change ‘refugees’, and their status transitions as they travel from their country of origin.

Using primarily qualitative research methods, we will also examine: (1) the barriers encountered by migrants in the host countries; (2) the programs that have been developed to aid in the successful migrant settlement and integration; and (3) the responsiveness of the host countries to receiving migrants, with a particular focus on how the host countries support transitions into permanent resident and citizenship.

Our findings will shed light on the relative success or failure of particular policy instruments and help improve immigrant selection and integration programs. Results will be communicated through various channels to obtain feedback and to ensure broad dissemination within academic, policy, and practitioner communities. Our ultimate goal is to inform migration policies and programs and to substantially improve immigrant selection and integration in Canada, Australia, and the U.S.