AIRLINK 75.15 Decreased By ▼ -0.15 (-0.2%)
BOP 4.93 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.2%)
CNERGY 4.38 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.23%)
DFML 40.30 Decreased By ▼ -0.88 (-2.14%)
DGKC 85.10 Increased By ▲ 1.79 (2.15%)
FCCL 22.60 Increased By ▲ 0.95 (4.39%)
FFBL 32.10 Increased By ▲ 0.10 (0.31%)
FFL 9.38 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.42%)
GGL 10.09 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.1%)
HASCOL 6.90 Increased By ▲ 0.08 (1.17%)
HBL 114.02 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.02%)
HUBC 139.25 Increased By ▲ 0.15 (0.11%)
HUMNL 12.00 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
KEL 4.87 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.81%)
KOSM 4.41 Increased By ▲ 0.05 (1.15%)
MLCF 38.06 Increased By ▲ 0.55 (1.47%)
OGDC 132.80 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.04%)
PAEL 25.13 Increased By ▲ 0.28 (1.13%)
PIBTL 6.55 Decreased By ▼ -0.05 (-0.76%)
PPL 118.25 Increased By ▲ 0.45 (0.38%)
PRL 25.98 Decreased By ▼ -0.08 (-0.31%)
PTC 13.71 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.07%)
SEARL 57.49 Increased By ▲ 0.24 (0.42%)
SNGP 67.00 Increased By ▲ 0.50 (0.75%)
SSGC 10.28 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.39%)
TELE 8.18 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.37%)
TPLP 10.76 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (0.56%)
TRG 62.51 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (0.18%)
UNITY 26.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.14 (-0.52%)
WTL 1.35 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
BR100 7,872 Increased By 26.5 (0.34%)
BR30 25,343 Increased By 87.3 (0.35%)
KSE100 75,126 Increased By 289.6 (0.39%)
KSE30 24,104 Increased By 99.5 (0.41%)

Popularised by the best-seller, Epic America (1931), the term American dream became synonymous with the story of growth, self-sacrifice and living the life. In this land of opportunity everyone could become anyone and anything.

Things have changed and a slowing global economy, soaring inflation and saturating job markets have given a reality check to most of the people. According to an estimate, it costs around $3.4 million to fulfill the American dream from getting married to retirement. The recent flux of immigrants to Canada was yet another attempt to pursue what can be termed as the Canadian Dream but ground realities show that it is slipping away with every passing day.

By the end of 2023, there were around 1 million students in Canada, owing to the country’s lax rules as it welcomed immigrants from across the world. One in 40 people in the country are on a study visa. The number of students outside Canada has surged three times during Trudeau’s time with a 29 percent increase being registered only in 2023 (as compared to 2022). According to Bloomberg, Canada’s population is growing faster than rest of G7 or China! However, the students are now finding it increasingly difficult to live a life that they dreamt when leaving the country.

Overseas Pakistanis: there is a lot to learn from India, China’s networking model

This is because of multiple reasons. First of all, the housing crisis (mismatch between the demand and supply). It is interesting to note that back in 2013, Canada stood at 13th out of 170 in terms of meeting the basic needs of its citizens, fast forward 2023, it fell to 39th and one of the biggest contributors was “lack of affordable housing”. The extent of the housing and affordability crisis can be gauged by the fact that the number of people sleeping in emergency shelters has doubled and now stands at 9000 people a night.

Rents have gone up – an adult might earn around C$30,000 (before taxes) if they work 40 hours a week. This seems insignificant when compared with average annual rent of a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto that amounts to C$23,280.

Secondly, the number of employment opportunities have also decreased. According to National Statistic Agency of Canada employment rate has dropped to 61.8 percent from 62.5 percent in two months. There are numerous accounts online where employers mention an ever-growing pile of CVs being dropped by international students who are finding it immensely challenging to find any sort of job. In 2024, the immigration minister of Canada, Marc Miller announced that they will also curtail the number of allowable working hours for students from 40 to 20 in April, further exacerbating this problem.

Moving to Canada: an insider’s view on whether the grass is actually greener

Bank of Canada recently reported that the country’s GDP is at a standstill from past 7 years while productivity has fallen.

When compared to other developed countries, Canada seems to be underperforming. The ratio of household debt payments to disposable incomes are at highest.

As such the idea of living the dream after moving to Canada continues to be challenged by these stark realities.

Given these circumstances the government has also changed its hitherto lax policies in regards to foreign students. Starting 2024, the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) declared that an intake cap on student permit applications totaling 360,000, a 35 percent decrease from last year. The Post Study Work Permit Program also underwent changes as after September 2024 international students (enrolled in curriculum licensing agreement program) will not be able to pursue work permits.

All of these changes are spurring what is called Reverse migration from Canada. According to latest figures around 90,000 immigrants left the country between 2021 and 2022 either to their home or somewhere else. Institute for Canadian Citizenship shows that the number of people willing to become a citizen has also decreased substantially i.e. from 75 percent in 2001 to 45 percent in 2021. Reverse migration in Canada reached a two-decade high in 2019!

Overall public sentiment in the country in regards to influx of immigrants is also changing as indicated by a recent survey by Environics suggesting over 44 percent of people being concerned by “too many” immigrants.

Enter the East

In contrast to most of the developed countries in the West that seems to be approaching their peak both in terms of demographic dividend and economic opportunities, countries in the East especially China, Central Asian states and above all the GCC, present a new avenue in this regard.

All roads used to lead to Rome now all roads lead to Beijing (as Peter Frankopan, an eminent historian, author and professor of global history at Oxford, explains in this book, “The New Silk Roads”). Similarly, Dr Parag Khanna in his brilliant book, “Future is Asian”, highlights the ever-growing projects in what can be termed as Eurasia.

The global political, economic and geo-economics developments are also hinting towards a shift in the direction of the mass exodus that recently happened towards the West. Things might change and we will see a similar influx of people moving to the region(s) aforesaid. It will bring its own set of challenges but surely it will be less than what many youngsters are facing and will face in Canada (particularly) and West (generally).

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

Osama Rizvi

The writer is an international energy and economic analyst. He works at Primary Vision Network — a US-based market intelligence and consultancy firm


200 characters
Ahmed Ali Apr 19, 2024 08:25pm
The article is pretty much true. Out of 1.02M International students in 2023 1M would be Indians & out of those 1M most of them would be from Punjab India. Although IRCC is planning a cap on Intl.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Ahmed Ali Apr 19, 2024 08:26pm
students in 2024 I would still highly recommend Pakistani students to apply for Canadian Colleges and Universities instead of UK or Europe as 1) Pakistan is part of SDS programme and
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Ahmed Ali Apr 19, 2024 08:28pm
2) Your chances of getting a PR are much better here than in UK or Europe. Best of Luck P.S B.R Please increase the no. of characters for comments as I had to break my comment in 3 parts.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Usman Apr 19, 2024 08:51pm
Never go to canda.its the worse place to be.Try US instead.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Abdul Sheikh Apr 20, 2024 11:31am
"Enter the East". Writer quoted two authors, they were true when they were writing their views about China. Now, china is doing economically worse than Europe and America.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Ardl Apr 21, 2024 03:34am
One of the largest countries in the world. But only 35 m people. Because except the border cities along American border rest of North is arid snow desert with oil drilling towns with brutal cold..
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Ardl Apr 21, 2024 03:39am
@Abdul Sheikh, Language Problem in East. China is progressing Economically but culturally difficult to adjust
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Ardl Apr 21, 2024 03:41am
@Ahmed Ali, You mean Sikhs? I believe Indian population is from all provinces.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Faraz ali Apr 21, 2024 02:03pm
I need Canada visa plz help me for this purpos
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Tariq Qurashi Apr 24, 2024 09:59am
One of the major problems of emigrating to Canada is that they don't recognize tertiary qualifications from other countries. So if you are and Engineer or Doctor, you will end up driving a taxi.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Amjad Khan Apr 24, 2024 08:09pm
It is appealing. I have done MBA from Pakistan and I drive a truck in Canada. I'd rather make a living in Canada driving a truck rather than live in Pakistan where life is difficult.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply
Asad Nawab Apr 25, 2024 09:08am
Some potential economic concerns in Canada include high household debt levels, stagnant wage growth, and increasing housing costs in certain regions. These factors can put financial strain on individuals and families, making it difficult to meet daily expenses and save for the future. Additionally, job competition, particularly in certain industries, can also be a concern for Canadians. It's important for the government and policymakers to address these economic challenges to ensure a stable and prosperous future for all.
thumb_up Recommended (0) reply Reply