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Implementation Plan

The study will draw on information collected through desk research, focus groups and semi-structured interviews. The project, to be completed by March 2024, includes the following phases of work

BTM Gantt chart design

The project begins with a detailed review of the academic literature on international migration to small and mid-sized cities in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition, desk research will be carried out on each of the eight city case studies (North Bay, Thunder Bay, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Mount Isa, Toowoomba, Invercargill, and Oamaru). This preparatory research will provide contextual information that will support the development of a comparative framework for the project.  

Fieldwork for the project will begin with approximately 18 stakeholder focus groups (three in each study site). The focus groups will convene local stakeholders that share an interest in welcoming and supporting immigrants in their local communities. Participants may include representatives from community groups (such as NGOs and ethnic-specific organizations); municipal governments and economic development organizations; and local employers. Information collected through the focus groups will provide a deeper understanding of how immigration is impacting the communities under study. They will also shed light on how different groups of stakeholders view the opportunities and challenges of immigration, and what they think needs to be done to attract and retain immigrants more successfully.

Approximately 20 qualitative interviews will be conducted with international migrants in each of the eight study sites (for a total of 160 interviews). These interviews will focus on the lived experiences, aspirations and preferences of international migrants who have settled in one of the eight communities under study. Interview participants will include international migrants of different ages and life stages including singles, couples with and without children, and retired individuals. The interviews will provide insights into how international migrants see the community in which they live supporting (or failing to support) their broader life projects and goals, and how these considerations have impacted their short and long-term migration decision making.

The preliminary study findings will be presented to community stakeholders in each of the eight case study communities. Focus group participants will be invited to provide feedback on the study findings and to co-design policy recommendations with the research team for federal, provincial, and municipal governments as well as other relevant organizations such as NGOs.

During the final phase of the project an academic book will be written that highlights the key findings of the project.