Canadian Immigration: A Rising Trend

Last Updated on March 2, 2023

As the U.S. continues to tighten its immigration policies, Canada stands to benefit as employers seek an alternative destination for foreign talent

Canadian immigration policy differs considerably from that of the U.S. In 2017, the Canadian government set a goal of admitting over 1 million foreign nationals into the country by 2021. In 2018 alone, they welcomed approximately 320,000 immigrants. Since 1999, the number of immigrants entering Canada annually has steadily increased. 

Employers recognize the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. immigration system, and there is a noticeable increase in the number of companies expanding their presence up north.

Three Canadian immigration trends employers should know about

How do immigrants enter Canada?

The Canadian immigration system contains multiple paths to working or immigrating to the country. These paths include:

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program 
  • International Mobility Program
  • Economic Migrants (Permanent Residence)
  • Family Sponsorship
  • Refugees

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is somewhat like the H-1B program in the U.S. It allows Canadian employers to hire foreign nationals on a temporary basis if there is a shortage of qualified Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Additionally, the Canadian government introduced two enhancements to its immigration system: Global Talent Stream and Express Entry Permanent Residency. The Global Talent Stream speeds up foreign workers entering Canada for eligible companies and select IT occupations. Once foreign workers are in the country, they are then more likely to qualify for Express Entry Permanent Residency. In order to achieve permanent residency, foreign nationals must obtain sufficient points.

The Canadian immigration points system is another example of how it differs from the U.S. approach, which can be classified as humanitarian.

For a detailed breakdown on the Global Talent Stream, watch this webinar with Envoy’s Canadian team!

Are companies expanding into Canada?

More companies are considering Canada for their company’s expansion. In Envoy’s 2020 Immigration Trends Report, 51% of respondents said they are looking to expand their presence in Canada. In 2018, this number was 38%.

More companies are considering Canada for their company’s expansion.

Companies are primarily considering Canada because of talent acquisition reasons. The No. 1 reason companies consider Canada is to access Canadian-born talent. Employers are also considering Canada because they want to offer sponsored employees with placements with a more immigrant-friendly public sentiment. Third, companies are seeking to retain employees for whom U.S. work authorization could not be secured. In sum, 61% of employers are now either sending more people or hiring more foreign nationals in Canada.

Employers hold positive views of Canada’s immigration system

An overwhelming majority (74%) of respondents believe Canada’s immigration system is more favorable to employers when compared to the U.S. Employers hold this sentiment because they find specific aspects of Canadian immigration to be more accommodating.

Employers hold positive views of Canada’s immigration system

For example, 64% of survey respondents said the ease of application is the aspect they find most favorable. The Canadian immigration system also has a shorter processing time and employers believe the country has a more favorable permanent residency process.

All told, the Canadian immigration system is not going to slow down, even amidst the pandemic. The country believes immigrants will be vital to the Canadian economy bouncing back. For U.S. employers, the country also represents a potential business opportunity to expand and recruit highly skilled talent without facing the uncertainty from the U.S. immigration system.

Get all the findings from Envoy’s 2020 Immigration Trends Report by downloading a free copy.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Jim Yang, Senior Global Mobility Specialist at Envoy Global.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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