Immigrants from Asia are majority of Canadian newcomers: study

By Kier Junos

People born in Asia, including the Middle East, make up the biggest share of new immigrants to Canada at 62 per cent, according to recently released Statistics Canada data.

It’s a shift away from how immigration patterns used to be before the 1970s, according to John Paul Catungal, the assistant professor at the UBC Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.

“This is, part and parcel, of that upward trend towards kind of the Asianization of immigration to the Canadian context,” he told CityNews.

“There was a concerted effort to keep Canada white, and that encouraged immigration from a European context. With the shift away from that, the introduction of the points-based merit system, the criterion of whiteness came to be downplayed a little more in terms of the demographics of immigration.”

Read More: Vancouverites gather together to celebrate Diwali in Yaletown

The data shows one in five recent immigrants was born in India. In contrast, the number of European immigrants continued to decline, falling from 61.6 per cent in 1971 to 10.1 per cent in 2021.

Catungal says the other factor for Asian immigration to British Columbia and Canada is the creation of specific pathways to immigration.

“Migrant worker programs like the Live-in Caregiver Program and temporary migrant work in agriculture or the service sector or that have encouraged particularly labor migrants from countries like the Philippines,” he explained.

Read More: Vancouver’s South Asian community wants action to right historic wrongs

Catungal says Canada has a much more liberal approach to immigration in contrast to other countries, and it’s committed to this image of multiculturalism.

“This is a self-image of Canada that it needs to sustain,” Catungal said.  “Canada benefits in a second way: immigrants fill sectors of the economy that would otherwise go unfulfilled.”

By 2041, StatsCan says immigrants could represent more than 30 per cent of the entire population.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today