The Impact of Currency Exchange Rates and Canadian and U.S. Unemployment Rates on Non-Immigrant Visas from Canada to the U.S.

W. Andrew Harrell, Jennifer A. Boisvert


Changes in immigration rates by Canadians from 1989 to 2006 were examined
for three non-immigrant visa categories. Cross correlation functions (CCF)
were calculated relating changes in numbers of visas to changes in Canada-U.S.
currency exchange and unemployment rates. Regression analyses tested Han-
Ibbott’s (2005) model of immigration decision-making and a variation of
Herrnstein’s (1961) matching law. CCF analysis found that currency exchange
and unemployment rates were predictive of changes in immigration rates.
Regression analyses indicated that a devalued Canadian dollar discouraged
migration to the U.S. These findings have implications for Canada-U.S.
inequities in bilateral immigration under NAFTA, with Canada experiencing a
greater drain in human capital.

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