Fewer Jamaicans Migrating to US and Europe; Migration to Canada Increases

According to the 2018 Economic and Social Survey Jamaica (ESSJ), fewer Jamaicans migrated to countries overseas in 2017 than in the previous year. Historically, Jamaicans have most frequently chosen to migrate to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and that trend continues to be the case, according to the survey data, but the number of Jamaicans migrating to the US and UK has decreased. The greatest decrease in number of Jamaican migrants was recorded by the United Kingdom. Conversely, Canada recorded the greatest increase. The United States continued to be the chief destination for Jamaicans, but the number of island migrants fell by 6.2 percent to 21,905. There was a 28.6 percent reduction in the total number of immigrants to the UK with 1.652 in 2017 compared to 2,313 in 2016. The number of immigrants to Canada rose by 7.6 percent to reach 3,830, according to the survey, which was published by the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

The report also noted that, like previous years, family-related classification were the main reason Jamaicans received visas for permanent residence in the US. The category involving immediate relatives of US citizens represented 67.1 percent of approved visa applications, with 28.1 percent granted due to family-sponsored preferences. Another 4.2 percent of the approved applicants were classified in the “employment-based” preferences category. Just 0.2 percent were granted for other reasons.

Younger Jamaican migrants favored Canada as their destination, according to the report. Out of 3,830 Jamaicans granted permanent resident status in Canada in 2017, about 40 percent were between the ages of 25 and 39 years. A “consistent pattern’ in the ages group of Jamaicans immigrating to Canada was noted over the years. The 10-to-19 age group was the second-highest group of immigrants, accounting for 20.9 percent of the immigrants in 2017, compared to 21.2 percent in 2016.

Just over 86 percent of the immigrants were in the category “non-workers, new workers, homemakers, students, and retirees.” This was an increase of 0.7 percent over the number reported in 2016. This category included the highest percentage increase from 2016 to 2017 with 6.5 percent. The category of senior officials and technicians totaled 356 emigrants in 2017, compared to 321 in 2016.