Despite persistent North American border closures since the onset of the pandemic, Canada remains of particular interest to U.S. employers, according to a recent survey of 500 U.S. HR professionals and hiring managers conducted by Envoy Global.

Fifty-seven per cent of survey respondents reported either considering Canada for expansion or already have an office there. For 37 per cent of respondents, the primary driver was access or expansion in the Canadian market, and 24 per cent cited the ability to access talent there.

Another 31 per cent explicitly said they were primarily considering the country to serve as an alternative to U.S. placements for foreign talent.

“In the face of general U.S. unemployment decline, employers require high-skilled foreign national talent to fill vital roles at their organizations as the need for innovation and digitization become more important than ever,” the report indicated.

Envoy Global, a global immigration and workforce management services provider, conducted the survey to uncover experiences and opinions on how COVID-19 affected immigration, visa sponsorship and evolving workplace needs for U.S. HR professionals and hiring managers.

Canada’s immigration system has been increasingly drawing talent from around the world, including the U.S.

Official data from the Centre for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) shows a 75 per cent increase in the number of U.S. residents advancing through Express Entry, Canada’s skilled immigration program.

This was reflected in the responses of 55 per cent of employers surveyed who said they are considering Canada primarily as part of their talent acquisition strategy. Seventy per cent said they have either sent more people to or hired more foreign nationals in Canada over the past two to three years, citing the competitive edge Canada has gained from the dire need for immigration reform in the U.S.

Photo showing why U.S. companies consider Canada
55 per cent of employers are considering Canada primarily as part of their talent acquisition strategy. Source: Envoy Global. Click to enlarge.

“We expect global mobility to play a key part in employers’ talent acquisition strategies in the coming years,” Burke noted in an April 19 news release. “Our survey supports this trend, as the most important factors in driving the need for global travel among respondents included the need to place high-skilled talent who were unable to secure U.S. work authorization and to support expansion into new markets. Moving forward, we expect to see Canada remain a compelling destination for top foreign national talent as employers indicate the larger quantity of visas available and more favourable permanent residency processes are beneficial to their organizations.”

Ninety-six per cent of employers surveyed said that sourcing foreign talent is important to their company’s talent acquisition strategy, and 82 per cent of employers said they expect their foreign national headcount to either increase or stay the same in 2021.

Another report suggests that Canada and Singapore are the only two non-European countries in the world’s top ten countries for attracting talent. The U.S. lands in 15th place, according to the IMD World Talent Ranking 2020.

Photo depicting The IMD World Talent Ranking 2020 for 15 countries
The IMD World Talent Ranking 2020 showing the ranking for 15 (rank 1 -15) economies
Source: IMD World Talent Ranking 2020. Click to enlarge.

The IMD World Talent Ranking is based on countries’ performance in three main categories — investment and development, appeal and readiness. The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas. These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.

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