Many U.S. employers look to expand to Canada for more access to talent

Shelby Thevenot
Published: May 22, 2021

The majority of U.S. employers in a recent survey said they are either considering expanding to Canada or have already set up shop.

There are a number of reasons U.S. employers express interest in opening locations north of the border. Envoy Global, a U.S. immigration services provider, surveyed 500 human resource professionals and hiring managers across the U.S. and found that Canada's immigration system plays at least some part in its desirability.

About 57 per cent of respondents said they were either looking to expand to Canada, or already did. The primary drivers were to expand to the Canadian market and access talent regardless of origin. About 31 per cent explicitly said they were primarily considering Canada as an alternative to the U.S. for hiring foreign talent.

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Also, about 70 per cent of survey respondents said they have either sent more people to Canada, or hired more foreign nationals in the country over the past two to three years.

There has been a rise in demand for U.S. visas such as the H-1B. However, the U.S. immigration system offers fewer pathways to employment for international student graduates compared to Canada, which has over 100 economic-class immigration programs.

More than half of respondents said Canada's immigration policies were more favourable than those of the U.S. Employers often said this was because of the larger quantity of visas available, and a more pathways to permanent residency.

When travel restrictions ease, U.S. employers expect the need for employees to travel abroad for assignments will rebound. In particular, as a means of relocating talent who are unable to secure work authorization in the U.S.

"Without reform, the U.S. stands to lose both employers and talent to countries with more favourable policies, such as Canada," the report says.

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