The recent Migration Profile for Jamaica shows that emigration continues to be greatly in excess of immigration. The overall trend of decreasing numbers of permanent emigrants to the three traditional and still major destinations –United States, United Kingdom and Canada – continued, but numbers trended downwards from around 29,000 in 2006 to less than 23,000 in 2015. The dominance of the United States as a permanent destination has continued, especially of young professionals and students.
Immigrants showed an increase in number of approximately 11,700 in the recent five years (2012–2016) over the previous five-year period. Foreign-born immigrants accounted for 72 per cent of the total. China as the main country of origin – and India in second place – continued since 2011 to 2017. The returning Jamaican nationals accounted for 28 per cent of the immigrants. This included voluntary returnees and forced returnees. The latter accounted for 20 per cent of the total immigrants in 2007–2016, exceeding the voluntary returnees that amounted to only 8 per cent of the total number of immigrants.
Temporary (guest) Workers Programmes have expanded from farm and hospitality work to include low-skilled employment in Canada since 2014. The overall numbers of persons on these programmes has increased over the past decade.
An estimated number of some 1.3 million Jamaican-born persons are residing abroad, amounting to at least 36.1 per cent of the national population.
Remittance receipts from Jamaican emigrants have trended upwards over the years 2011–2016. The Bank of Jamaica estimated remittances at USD 2.292 million in 2016, which contributed 16.1 per cent to Jamaica’s GDP in 2015.