Envoy Global, a provider of global immigration and workforce management services used to pursue opportunities across the marketplace, has released their 2021 Immigration Trends Report.
“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.
Employers remain vexed by US immigration policy, and rank ‘border and consular closures due to COVID-19’ as a significant pain point in the U.S. immigration application process this year. Foreign national anxiety about the US political situation, and an increased in visa-application denials were were major pain points. 54% of employers said that the lack of visa availability became more challenging under the previous administration. In a year that saw 48 policy changes from the onset of the pandemic, employers cited lack of predictability as their top pain point, followed by fees and the process of preparing visa applications/petitions.
Despite persistent North American border closures since the onset of the pandemic, Canada remains of particular interest to U.S. employers. 70% 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.
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% increase in the number of U.S. residents advancing through Express Entry, Canada’s skilled immigration program. The Canadian Parliament this year announced plans to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents to the country in 2021 as it seeks to rebuild the economy and foster innovation post-pandemic.
“We expect global mobility to play a key part in employers’ talent acquisition strategies in the coming years,” Dick Burke, Envoy Global CEO noted in a 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.”
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.
Despite a clear pullback from global mobility, the category is expected to pick up speed as employers increasingly look overseas for scarce talent.
The most important factors driving this increase cited by employers were the need to place high-skilled talent for whom they had been unable to secure U.S. work authorization and to support expansion into new locations, which is in line with pre-pandemic priorities listed by employers in last year’s survey.
Future top drivers of outbound immigration work include placing talent unable to secure U.S. work authorization and opening or expanding new locations.
A surging US economy will likely outpace domestic hiring. According to the Wall Street Journal:
"U.S. gross domestic product will grow 6.4% this year, measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the same period of this year. Meanwhile, the economists expect employers to add 7.1 million jobs in the 12 months ending in December 2021, a gain of 5%. That would leave employment 1.6% lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Even though job openings exceed pre-pandemic levels, Google Trends data show worker searches for jobs online declining. Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, said this recent drop “raises concerns that labor-force participation may not recover quickly even after the pandemic is over.”"
Employer-hesitancy at hiring the long-term unemployed can damage job-seekers attempts to return to work. There were 4.2 million Americans in March facing jobless spells of at least 27 weeks, up from 1.1 million in February 2020.
Meanwhile, companies will continue to need to build product and provide services to meet increasingly growing demands. In order to keep up, trends indicate they will begin to develop recruitment plans within outside of US borders.
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