Originally Posted by MTLskyline
Mexico does indeed have low unemployment (5.1%), yet people still flee in droves across the US border. It sounds as though the people who are emigrating could easily find work in Mexico if they wanted to (especially since their university education is free).
Do they emigrate because American wages are higher (even under the table)? Or is it not related to the economy at all?
As a Mexican who recently got accepted for Permanent Residence in Canada (about to leave Mexico City in a few months) let me give you my perspective on this situation:
Mexico does indeed have a lot of opportunities and jobs aren't hard to find, but they're all located in Mexico city. I'm originally from Tijuana, and I moved to Mexico City to start my immigration process about 2 and a half years ago, I found a job within a week of landing and I have never been more than a few days without a job, speaking English (and a few other languages) was all I needed. I live in a great neighbourhood (Colonia Roma/Condesa, google it) and I can't complain about life. But I just told you the issue with this country; almost every single job is located in Mexico City! We're talking about a VERY VERY centralized country where, if you want to work, you have to move to the capital city, and trust me, we can all claim to be city lovers here, but living in a megacity of 21 million people in a developing country does come with a lot of disadvantages.
Yeah so you either stay in your quaint little town unemployed, or move to the Capital city, you move here and yes you have a job, but rents are relatively expensive, it's crowded as hell so the traffic is horrible, noisy, polluted, protests all the time, etc. Salaries are higher in Mexico City, but it all comes at a price.
People immigrate for a lot of reasons (mainly economic) but the mosaic of Mexican immigrants going to the USA and Canada is very different. Those going to Canada tend to be more educated and are doing quite well in Mexico. The ones going to the USA do so because there's this notion that going to the USA means finding a job and getting rich. These people normally have family members living there so they have a safety net and these family members tell them how great it is to be in the USA (nobody wants to be seen as a loser back home, right?) This is prevalent in certain states and with people of a certain socioeconomic level.
The ones going to Canada tend to use the Skilled worker program so they're educated and do so the legal way. There's no border between Mexico and Canada, so illegal immigration to Canada from Mexico is virtually zero (especially after the visa requirements) the USA is in the middle, and if you already crossed one border, why would you bother doing it again?
In my case I finished high school in Canada and met my wife there. We started comparing whether to live in Mexico or Canada and the latter came out the winner. Reasons? Mainly stability. Here in Mexico there's no pension plan provided by the government (you save your own money) and the education is horrible, also more opportunities for my future children, lower crime rates, less corruption, and a huge ETC.
Also funny how all foreigners keep on mentioning the great education system in Mexico because universities are free. Yes they're free, but here's the catch: You only have one "admission pass" which we call a "ficha" meaning that when you're in high school, you have to take a very difficult exam, and only a certain percentage of those who took the exam will gain a spot to enter university. So let's say that UABC (university) is taking 20,000 students this semester, and 60,000 prospective students apply to UABC, you're among them and you actually pass the exam, but another 30,000 also passed the exam, so you do qualify for a spot, but since there are too many applicants you're shit out of luck. Since you only have one admission pass this means that you can't go to university unless you apply next year or pay for a private one, which cost the same or more than your average tuition in Canada, oh and no government loans either! So you better stay with mom and dad for those 4 years, that is, if they can afford to pay for your tuition
Hope that helps