It was a running joke during the long US election campaign that many Americans would immediately move to Canada if Donald Trump were to emerge triumphant. Judging by US internet searches for information on moving to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, many weren’t joking after all.
You might soon be finding a lot more Americans in your favourite gap year destinations.
Soon after the outcome of the election became clear, Canada’s official immigration website crashed. Although there could be other explanations, the timing rather suggests it was knocked out by sheer weight of desperate visitors. The website has since come back online.
Unhappy Americans aren’t just looking to their neighbours to the north; both Australia and New Zealand have seen huge spikes in interest in the 24 hours following the election.
The Immigration New Zealand website received 56,300 visits from the US, when its daily average is just 2,300 visits. In the same period, some 7,000 Americans registered their interest in relocating to New Zealand – twice the number usually seen in a month.
Google has also registered a spike in Americans searching “Move to Australia,” searches jumping by some 2400%. Most searches came from Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and Virginia – all states that voted for Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
How many will actually pursue a move away from the US remains to be seen, especially as immigration law ensures any such move can not be made easily.
Still, as all three countries are popular backpacker destinations, favoured by travellers as a way of escaping the rest of the world, the idea of an influx of Americans to any or all of them is not exactly a welcome thought.
Donald Trump will be sworn in as president of the USA on January 20. We can only wait and see if an exodus will follow.