It’s become something of a familiar refrain in recent years: When a polarizing candidate wins a prominent election, certain citizens start thinking about moving to Canada.
It happened again with the U.K. general election last week, with searches for jobs in Canada spiking 111 per cent immediately after results started pouring in, job search site Indeed said in analysis of its internal search data.
“Searches for foreign jobs on Indeed surged immediately after exit poll results were published at 10 p.m. on Thursday evening,” Indeed said in a report. It noted that a similar spike was seen after British voters said yes to Brexit in a narrow vote in 2016.
Earlier on HuffPost: Why some Black Brits are considering leaving the U.K. over Boris Johnson. Story continues below.
The election saw Conservative leader Boris Johnson win the largest majority Britain’s Tories have seen since the days of Margaret Thatcher. The decisive win gives Johnson a clear mandate to pull Britain out of the European Union, with Brexit scheduled for January 31, 2020.
Canada appears to be the number-one destination for those seeking to leave the U.K. Ireland is the second most popular option, with searches spiking 44 per cent after the election. Australia, Germany, Italy and Poland all saw jumps in searches as well.
The spike in searches for non-English-speaking countries “suggests foreign workers in the U.K. could be looking to work on the continent or could be returning home,” said Pawel Adrjan, a global economist for Indeed.
“These non-U.K. citizens could also be concerned about their immigration status after the Brexit transition period due to end in December 2020,” Adrjan added.
Some prominent British people of colour have declared they are considering leaving the country over Johnson’s track record of racist comments.
Critics have taken Johnson to task over a number of incidents over the year, including an assertion that Europe should still control Africa, and an admission from Johnson that he fears young black men. An article that ran in the conservative weekly The Spectator during Johnson’s time as editor-in-chief asserted that Black people have lower IQs than others.
“I totally understand the idea that people are having to leave the U.K. if the Tories get back in,” comedian Ava Vidal said ahead of the election. “I agree with it and it’s something I’ve looked into myself.”
But the reality seems to be that few people actually make the move. Since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency ― an event that caused a particularly large wave of vows to move to Canada ― there has only been a small increase in migration from the U.S.
In 2017, the first year of Trump’s presidency, 9,100 U.S. citizens were granted permanent resident status in Canada, up 8.2 per cent from a year earlier.
But that trend was already underway before Trump’s election; immigration to Canada jumped nearly 12 per cent the year before.
And immigration experts note that Canada’s points system changed around the time of Trump’s election, to weigh English language skills more heavily, which favours U.S. applicants.
Data on emigration to the U.S. is hard to find, but it’s generally estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 Canadians migrate to the U.S. annually.