donald trump president move to canada pkg moos erin_00002909.jpg
Cape Breton
donald trump president move to canada pkg moos erin_00002909.jpg
Now playing
01:59
Canadian island to U.S.: Move here if Trump wins!
Twitter | @brady9dream
Now playing
02:10
Pet owners pitch their pups to be dog brew's 'Chief Tasting Officer'
Tyfanee Fortuna
Now playing
02:22
Shelter places '13 lb rage machine' up for adoption
Getty Images
Now playing
02:18
This airplane-shaped bag is selling for more than some actual planes
Twitter/@StephenM
Now playing
02:13
See what internet sleuths spotted in Trump photo after his boycott call
An aide walks the Bidens dog Major on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2021. - First dogs Champ and Major Biden are back at the White House after spending part of the month in Delaware, where Major underwent training after causing a "minor injury". (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
An aide walks the Bidens dog Major on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2021. - First dogs Champ and Major Biden are back at the White House after spending part of the month in Delaware, where Major underwent training after causing a "minor injury". (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:02
First dog Major Biden bites second person in White House
ViralHog
Now playing
02:05
Mama bear's struggle with cubs looks hilariously familiar
MSCHF
Now playing
03:00
Lil Nas X's shoes sell out instantly for over $1K per pair
Olivia Oxley
Now playing
02:01
Boss to ex-employee: Keep the change! All 500 pounds of it.
@JensenKarp
Now playing
02:38
See what man says he found in his cereal
JAMA
Now playing
02:09
Robotic dog works wonders in ER in age of Covid-19
Zoomescaper.com
Now playing
02:03
Tool aims to help users ditch Zoom meetings
Instagram/Chrissy Teigen
Now playing
02:22
Teigen celebrates husband's Grammy win in memorable outfit
Harpo Productions
Now playing
02:26
Patio chairs steal the show from Harry and Meghan interview
burger king
burger king
burger king
Now playing
02:11
Burger King slammed for International Women's Day tweet
Joe Biden/Instagram
Now playing
02:10
Bidens' dog goes from White House to dog house after bite incident
(CNN) —  

Remember when your anti-Trump friends vowed to pack their bags and flee to Canada after the 2016 US presidential election?

Well, surprise! (or maybe not): Despite the heavily touted rhetoric, available data shows few Americans actually followed through on that threat. Or at least, they haven’t yet.

According to statistics from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the number of people from the US applying for permanent residency between January and March rose 3.6% from 2016 to 2017.

That doesn’t exactly constitute a mass exodus, especially when looking at the raw numbers: 1,882 Americans have applied for permanent residency in Canada in 2017, just 66 more applications from the same time period in 2016.

As for visas and authorizations issued to people from the US from January to March, the amount increased a mere 1%, from 2,497 in 2016 to 2,523 in 2017.

Immigrating to Canada takes more than wishful thinking. Immigration lawyers surmise potential US applicants may have been dissuaded by the process.

Moving to Canada is more difficult than it seems

Most immigration programs require a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer, one year of skilled work experience in Canada, a high level of English – and possibly French – and a significant amount of cash.

Having a Canadian spouse or relative to sponsor you helps, as does an acceptance letter from a Canadian school, but immigration lawyers say neither is a guarantee.

“Immigrating to Canada is not easy right now, and I imagine a lot of people who were interested in immigrating to Canada, once they did some research, realized that it was a longer and more difficult process than they expected,” said Nova Scotia-based immigration lawyer Suzanne Rix.

That could change, thanks to a fast-track application process the Canadian government launched in mid-June for high-skilled workers. It builds on efforts of Canadian technology companies to attract global talent that would transform Toronto into the next Silicon Valley, as new US immigration policies close the doors to would-be applicants.

Interest in immigrating to Canada was strong, but fell off after election

The interest among Americans to immigrate to Canada may have been sincere initially.

American searches for “How can I move to Canada” shot up 350% in a span of four hours on Super Tuesday, when President Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination in March 2016, according to a data editor at Google. The search spiked again in November as he clinched the presidency.

On election night, the desperation was so acute the Canadian immigration website crashed due to a “significant increase in the volume of traffic.”

Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia took advantage of the peaked interest and doled out a tongue-in-cheek tourist campaign that translated into a veritable “Trump bump,” according to residents.

Lawyer Cedric M. Shen provides immigration services to Americans and Canadians going both ways.

Dozens of calls, emails and website inquiries from Americans wanting to move north flooded his office in the weeks following Election Day. There was swearing and crying, he said, but by the new year it had tapered off – only to spike again on Inauguration Day, then quickly die off again.

“As with the US, you can’t just get a visa or permit and move to another country without being sponsored or qualified in some way,” he said. “If someone calls and says, ‘I don’t know anyone, I just want to move to Canada,’ and after asking a few questions you find out there’s no job, no family and you don’t want to go to school – there’s not much you can do.”

However, Canadians still seek American residency

Shen said the last time a political change lit up his phone lines was after the 2015 election of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Despite the fawning attention he gets from the rest of the world, many Canadians took issue with his Liberal Party politics and still do today.

And the interest among Canadians looking to move to the US remains today, he said.

“There’s no shortage of interest from Canadians who want to move to the US one way or another, even after the election,” he said. “We get dozens of calls and emails a day.”