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Explaining variations in success of subnational immigration programmes in Canada and Australia

TitleExplaining variations in success of subnational immigration programmes in Canada and Australia
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSapeha, H.
UniversityMcMaster University
CityHamilton, ON
Keywordsaustralia, canada, immigration

The study explains variations in success of subnational immigration programmes in Canada and Australia. Under these programmes, subnational units have the right to select migrants to meet their regional economic and/or demographic needs. This study defines success in three ways and uses different data sources and statistical analyses to answer the research questions for both Australia and Canada. First, it is about attracting immigrants to the regions that are not primary destinations for immigrants coming through federal programmes. The research shows that there have been changes in initial settlement patterns of immigrants across Canada and Australia after the introduction of regional immigration schemes. However, Canada was more successful in redistributing immigration flows. Furthermore, in Australia, economic factors played a more prominent role in attracting migrants and explaining variations among subnational units. The second dimension is immigrant retention patterns. Attracting migrants does not automatically translate into their retention, especially considering possibilities of within-country migration. The study examined factors explaining variations in the retention rate of provincial nominees and skilled workers across Canadian provinces and confirmed the impact of negative economic trends on migrants' retention. In the case of Australia, immigrant retention was measured through migrants' intention to stay in the initial destination. The findings supported the rationale of regional immigration policies for targeting temporary migrants and reliance on sponsor-based streams. Finally, the third dimension is immigrants' satisfaction with their settlement. The study confirmed that in both Canada and Australia factors from all broad groupings - economic factors, social integration factors, human capital factors, and area level factors - are associated with immigrants' satisfaction with their settlement and the change in satisfaction over time. The study is the first to compare outcomes across Canadian and Australian subnational jurisdictions. Its findings should be of interest to policy-makers to inform their thinking on regional immigration policies.

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