Mere hours after Donald Trump was named the surprise winner of yesterday’s divisive presidential election, several Ottawa immigration lawyers say they’re already fielding calls from U.S. residents asking how they can move to Canada.
“They sounded a little bit desperate,” said Ottawa immigration lawyer Julie Taub, who had received separate calls from two New York State residents by 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. “If this morning is any indication, there will be a lot of interest in immigrating to Canada.”
Similarly, Raymond Clément – president of Ottawa-area immigration consulting firm Clément-Laurier & Associates – said the company’s strategic partner in Wichita, Kan., fielded a half-dozen calls in the early morning hours from Americans who wanted to move out of the country.
“We are positive it’s going to increase our immigration requests,” he told OBJ.
Another local immigration law firm, Niren and Associates, had received one call from an American resident on Wednesday morning. However, senior partner Michael Niren said his company’s website, VisaPlace.com, received a spike in traffic around midnight that saw some 5,000 unique visitors in the span of an hour.
“We were prepared for the calls this morning,” he said.
Mr. Niren was far from alone in seeing a surge in web traffic. The Canadian Press reported that Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website crashed Tuesday night due to heavy traffic, but the agency did not offer a comment on whether it was due to excessive traffic from would-be U.S. emigrants.
Whether all those calls and online inquiries actually translates into immigration applications remains to be seen.
“Every election cycle, we experience an uptick in interest,” Mr. Niren said. “Most of the time, they are emotional reactions and when the dust settles, they move on with their lives.”
However, he adds that there are always people who were interested in moving to Canada for other reasons and are “pushed over the edge” to actually apply by an election outcome with which they disagree.
For those U.S. citizens who do decide to follow through with an immigration application, the process is “not that easy, but it’s not that difficult, either,” said Mr. Clément.
He explained that one’s eligibility to immigrate will vary from person to person and depend on factors such as their health, work and family history.
Once a would-be immigrant has all their paperwork together, the Canadian government can still take two years to process the application, Mr. Clément said.
But individuals in more of a hurry may have other options.
Ms. Taub said skilled professionals in certain fields who receive a job offer from a Canadian employer may be eligible for a work permit under NAFTA – a trade deal that Mr. Trump has vowed to “entirely renegotiate” or “terminate.”