Skilled workers from the U.S. coming to Canada in large numbers

Alexandra Miekus
Published: July 18, 2020

New data indicates that Canada is becoming a magnet for talent from the United States.

Over the past two years, foreign-born U.S. skilled workers have received the most invitations to resettle permanently in Canada, according to a new analysis published by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET).

The analysis is based on statistics from the latest Express Entry Year-End Report 2019, which show that the numbers of U.S. residents who successfully benefited from Express Entry, increased by 75 per cent between 2017 and 2019. That percentage increase attributed to the U.S. is much higher, often double, than that observed for other countries.

Express Entry is an online system used by Canada to manage skilled immigration applications from those who want to become permanent residents.

Eligible Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates have a chance to secure an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence through the system providing that their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score meets IRCC’s cut-off requirement.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

According to the CSET data brief, the increase in the number of U.S. residents benefiting from the Express Entry system is due to two factors. First, more U.S. residents are seeking permanent residence in Canada nowadays. Second, a growing number of U.S. residents seeking permanent residence in Canada are meeting the scoring criteria of the Express Entry system.

CRS scores used to rank eligible candidates for immigration to Canada through Express Entry are based on factors that include age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, among others.

The author of the analysis, Zachary Arnold, attributes this growth in successful submissions specifically to non-U.S. citizens, whose numbers increased by at least 128 per cent between 2017 and 2019.

During this period, some 26,000 U.S. residents who applied for permanent residence in Canada through Express Entry received ITAs. Based on the author’s calculations, an overwhelming majority of those who received the ITAs—more than 20,000—were U.S residents who are not citizens of the country.

The analysis postulates that two main reasons may help to explain this current trend. The hostile immigration policy of the United States has become a major deterrent to highly skilled workers, while Canada’s continued drive to attract talent from around the world represents a major draw for these individuals.

“In recent years, the Canadian government developed a simpler and more generous immigration system for skilled workers, nurtured cutting-edge tech companies capable of drawing talent from around the world,” Arnold writes.

President Trump’s aggressive immigration actions and his executive orders, on the other hand, have played a significant role in creating a climate of hostility in the United States toward immigrants. The profound anxiety generated among immigrant populations is causing a growing number of them to consider building their lives elsewhere.

In this respect, “Canada arguably leads [the] competition,” according to Arnold.

Find out if you are eligible for any of Canada's skilled worker programs

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