Maybe some Americans were serious when they threatened they would move to Canada if Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, became successful in his often polarizing campaign for the White House. Canada's main immigration website appeared to suffer repeated outages on Tuesday night - and well into Wednesday - as Trump took the lead in several major states and his prospects for winning the U.S. presidency turned markedly higher, with users in the United States, Canada and Asia seeing an internal serve error message when trying to access the www.cic.gc.ca/ website.
Soon after the U.S. elections' caucus and primary season, the Canadian federal immigration agency saw a significant increase in web traffic from American IP addresses in March. Reports state that around 12.3% of the more than 13.6 million people who raised the immigration queries were from the United States. The spike was again noticed in the month of June before the Republican National Convention where more than 10.2 percent of the 12.4 million queries were reported from the United States.
"All applicants who apply to Canada's immigration programs are treated equally no matter where they are from. Americans can emigrate to Canada, provided they meet the qualifications. There are a number of avenues that applicants for permanent residence can consider in order to immigrate to Canada," Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokeswoman Lindsay Wemp said.
BUT HOW EASY IS IT TO RELOCATE TO CANADA?
Joel Sandaluk, a Toronto immigration lawyer reports that the volume of inquiries to his office has "noticeably increased." He notes: "We got more around the time of the Republican convention. It’s slowed down a little bit. There's always an interest in leaving the country if it seems your country is on a path that doesn’t please you.”
Sandaluk outlined the various legal routes to Canada, which include as working in a field outlined in North American Free Trade Agreement. This could take the form of working as a management consultant, dentist and disaster relief insurance claims adjuster; enrolling in a university degree program; possessing a skill that is desperately needed in a certain area of the country; or having a Canadian ancestor.
"A lot of people say, 'That’s it. I'm moving to Canada.' But it is lot harder than people necessarily understand it to be. Canada's got an interest in bringing the best and the brightest. You have to demonstrate not just that you have something to leave in your country of nationality, but that you have something to bring," he said. "Generally speaking, there's alot of room for Americans here. But there is more to it than just showing up, knocking on the door and saying, “Here I am. Where do I start?’”
According to Detroit Free Press, to help ease the transition, some websites are throwing life lines to Americans looking for an out. MapleMatch.com, for instance, is filling the void. Founded by 25-year-old Texan Joe Goldman, who now lives in Washington, D.C., the site attempts to introduce singles in the States to those in Canada, though Canadian immigration experts point out that marrying a Canadian does automatically grant the spouse residency rights there.
"Maple Match is a very real company with the goal of bringing Americans and Canadians together in a fun, meaningful way," the site states. "We are working around the clock to build opportunities for you to meet Americans and Canadians that you'll love."
Another outreach project is cbiftrumpwins.com. The "CB" in the URL is Cape Breton, a Nova Scotia island, which wants to combat its decreasing population by marketing to Americans. Since its launch in mid-February, the site has gotten thousands of queries, according to founder Rob Calabrese. "I thought I’d put it out there that if someone does plan to move to Canada, there’s more to Canada than Vancouver and Toronto," he said, citing the tight-knit community, stunning scenery and the vibrant Celtic culture as reasons soon-to-be expats should pick Cape Breton. "It's the most affordable housing market in North America."