New Tool Could Help Immigrants Determine the Best Areas to Settle in Canada Based on Skills & Work Experience

Matching Tool to be Tested as a Part of Upcoming IRCC Pilot

Over a quarter of all economic immigrants end up settling in one of Canada’s four largest cities – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. But what if there were better towns and cities for them to settle in based on their unique qualifications?

This is something Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is looking into.

According to the Toronto Star, IRCC is looking into a potential pilot program that would test a tool that has the ability to match immigrants to the communities in which they’d have the highest chance of economic success.

The tool, which is being called the “GeoMatch project,” is being developed as part of a research project between the Canadian federal government and Stanford University’s Immigration Policy Lab.

“This type of pilot would allow researchers to see if use of these tools results in real-world benefits for economic immigrants. Testing these expected gains would also allow us to better understand the factors that help immigrants succeed,” IRCC spokesperson Remi Lariviere told the Toronto Star.

“This research furthers our commitment to evidence-based decision making and enhanced client service — an opportunity to leverage technology and data to benefit newcomers, communities and the country as a whole.”

In order to determine the best areas for skilled immigrants to settle, researchers looked at datasets related to:

  • Immigrants’ background characteristics
  • Economic outcomes
  • Geographic locations

Machine learning methods were also used to determine how different backgrounds, qualifications, and skill sets were related to taxable earnings in different cities. Local trends such as population and unemployment were also examined.

Researchers then used models to predict how well newcomers with similar profiles would do in different hypothetical destinations and how much money they could earn.

The main goal of this project is to help immigrants achieve a better financial future, while also helping less densely populated regions outside of the major cities experience the benefits of economic immigration.

“If initial settlement patterns concentrate immigrants in a few prominent landing regions, many areas of the country may not experience the economic growth associated with immigration,” stated a report discussing the pilot. “Undue concentration may impose costs in the form of congestion in local services, housing, and labour markets.”