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How Canada is recruiting more talent than the US

October 10, 2018

The United States of America forever proved to be a prominent destination for talent migration, until recent changes in several factors that have put Canada on a pedestal. Here, they are now taking a leading role and have surpassed the US in various key metrics for attracting foreign talent in the country.

What boosts the growth of Canadian tech companies?

  • Firstly, the university enrollment of foreign nationals has seen a steady increase by 20% every year enabling Canada to surpass its 2022 goal for foreign national enrollment by 2017. The country’s ‘safe and tolerant’ reputation has often been thought to play a huge factor for this increase, as during the same period, the measure for being ‘safe and tolerant’ dwindled down by 7% in the United States.
  • Secondly, Canada is turning into a hub for tech jobs where Toronto alone had added more than 28,900 tech jobs last year, which is still more than the Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington D.C, collectively. In 2016, it beat New York and the Bay Area by adding approximately 22,500 new tech jobs.
  • Lastly, almost all of the tech-based companies in Toronto have reported a significant increase in applications received from foreign national workers in 2017. All of these trends together result in the substantial thickening of Toronto’s tech capabilities. This allows the country to position its sectors in a way that there is a consistent and sustainable contribution by them to the overall city’s economic growth, and that is no coincidence.

How did the Canadian Immigration policies help to recruit talent worldwide?

The Canadian immigration policies have forever been laying the foundation for this influx of tech talent.

  • Reciprocal Employment for all temporary workers:
    • To begin with, the country’s policy of reciprocal employment for all temporary workers allows the companies to enroll foreign nationals as long as it roughly equates to the number of Canadian citizens working abroad. It was a bold and innovative policy, which has rarely been replicated in any other part of the world. The results of this law on the labor market for the country, however, remained ultimately neutral. The effect on the employers and the employees was significant as it became extremely easy for them to hire foreign national workers with an exchange policy where Canadian employees have similar reciprocal opportunities abroad.
  • The Global Talent Stream:

    • Another major Canadian immigration policy that has been a key contributor to Canada’s tech growth is their ‘Global Talent Stream’, a pilot program allowing skilled workers to obtain work permits within weeks of applying. It helps innovative companies to grow by ensuring that they can access highly skilled talent to fill the companies’ skill gap faster. However, this process does require the employers to complete their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process to get a document proving the need for a foreign worker to fill the job. The program still addresses the shortages of local skill and the problems of immigration but the highlight of this program was and continues to be its two week time duration for the processing of the work permit applications.

  • The Provincial Nominee Program:
    • The express entry through the Provincial Nominee Program, is yet another immigration policy helping the country’s growth of hiring tech-skilled workers. The policy aims to increase their permanent high-skilled labor force across the country, bolstering the country’s innovation market. This program creates a new pathway for all foreign nations to attain a permanent resident status and is the main source of permanent residence applications for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship under Canada’s economic immigration category. Around 65,401 permanent residents and their families were enrolled via this express entry by the end of 2017. The target for 2018 is a growth of 14% with at least 74,900 admissions.

The state of immigration in the U.S:

On the other hand, in the U.S, the percentage of employment-based permanent residence approvals are on a steady decline. In 2013, 140,009 employment-based U.S green cards were issued through adjustment of status. In 2016, this number decreased by 19% to 113,640 U.S employment-based green cards.

Impact of immigration-friendly policies:

With the proper integration of its immigration-friendly policies to its political and economical framework, Canada has now positioned itself to reap the harvest of this changing global immigration climate. As technology-driven economic development dominates and holds upcoming markets all over the world, the need for STEM talent is intensifying and Canada’s approach to implementing complementary policies that holistically impact their innovative ecosystem is notable. These policies empower Canada to aggressively recruit talent that they felt is needed to fill key gaps in their local workforce whilst also creating a channel for permanent residence that attracts workers who aspire to start businesses and file patents.

The country’s constant emphasis on policies encouraging more high-skilled immigration provides a sort of transformative economic opportunity. We see Google, PayPal, and Whatsapp, all being founded by immigrants. Given the speed at which students and tech-skilled workers are pursuing opportunities in Canada, the next big innovation globally adopted as a verb in our daily conversations may very well be made today in some coffee shop on University Ave. in Toronto.


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