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Understanding the lasting impact of policy changes on highly skilled migrants’ decision-making: Comparative perspectives in post-pandemic times

February 02, 2023
3:00 PM EST - 4:00 PM EST
Online via Zoom

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global migration, leading to sudden border closures, lockdowns, and quarantine measures. The annual immigration targets in many immigrant-receiving countries, such as Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA, were severely affected. Some countries introduced harsh policy measures – such as the exclusion of temporary migrants from government financial support – while others initiated immigrant-friendly policy measures – for instance, the launch of temporary programs to facilitate the conversion of temporary status into permanent status. These changes contributed to shifting hierarchical categories among migrants, redefining “wanted and welcome” high-skilled migrants as “non-essential”.

As countries compete to attract highly skilled immigrants to fill the labour shortages, they have little information about how high-skilled migrants make migration decisions. There is now an urgent need to understand how policy initiatives and pandemic-related risks, uncertainty and ambiguities have affected the future of decision-making among highly skilled migrants and their families.

In this webinar, changes in immigration policies implemented during the pandemic in Canada, Australia, and the UK, and their lasting impacts on migration related decision-making were explored. Questions addressed included:

  • How have immigration policies relating to highly skilled migration been changed or altered in traditional immigrants-receiving countries such as Canada, Australia, and the UK in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What are (or have been) the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related immigration policy changes on migration-related decision-making among highly skilled migrants?
  • What are the key takeaways of these pandemic-related immigration policy changes that researchers and policy-makers need to pay attention to in the post-pandemic times?


Margaret Walton-Roberts, Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Chris F Wright, Associate Professor, University of Sydney

Mucahit Aydemir, PhD candidate, University of Sheffield

Chair: Luisa Veronis, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa

Co-chair: Ashika Niraula, Senior Research Fellow – Project Coordinator, CERC Migration