Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, Kimone Francis – JAMAICANS top the number of migrants making their way to Canada from the Caribbean region, data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revealed.

Some 21,215 Jamaicans have acquired permanent resident status in the North American country, accounting for 45 percent of the 47,265 Caricom nationals who have immigrated there since 2015.

Haiti followed with 12,885 nationals immigrating, Guyana 2,605; Trinidad and Tobago 2,525; St Vincent and the Grenadines 2,310; St Lucia 1,970; Barbados 985; The Bahamas 845; Grenada 615; Antigua 455; Belize 380; Dominica 215; St Kitts and Nevis 185; while Suriname accounted for 55.

The IRCC data, requested by theĀ Jamaica Observer, showed that in 2015, 3,415 Jamaicans packed for Canada; 3,560 left in 2016; 3,830 in 2017; 3,875 in 2018, 3,980 in 2019, 2,030 in 2020; and 525 between January and March 2021.

It is believed that economic challenges in addition to the country’s high crime rate are the push factors behind the steady exodus.

The IRCC data showed that most Jamaicans immigrated through sponsorship from a spouse or partner under the Federal Skills Trade Program or the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is for skilled workers with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently, while the Federal Skilled Trades Program (Express Entry) caters to skilled workers who want to become permanent residents based on being qualified in a skilled trade.