As the United States counts the votes to determine the winner between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, it’s worth watching how the election outcome will impact Canada’s immigration system and the desire of those looking to relocate to Canada from the United States.
One might intuitively believe that a Trump victory will help Canada in the war on global talent, while a Biden victory will restore the United States to its place as the most attractive destination in the world for global talent.
Regardless of the result, however, Canada will continue to have significant advantages over the United States.
Maths problem for the United States
The election result will not change America’s mathematical problem.
The United States has a population of approximately 330 million people, of which approximately 160 million are workers. Over the past decades, it has welcomed around 1.1 million immigrants per year. About 10 percent are hosted as skilled workers, 70 percent as a family class, and 14 percent as refugees.
This means that the United States has welcomed about 0.3% of its population as immigrants, while its per capita intake of skilled workers as a share of its labor force is about 0.07% (110,000 skilled worker immigrants divided by 160 million workers).
There are approximately 38 million people in Canada. As part of its new 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada will aim to welcome more than 400,000 immigrants per year starting in 2021. This will translate into an immigration rate of 1%. Canada has a labor force of approximately 20 million workers. It aims to welcome about 60 percent of immigrants as skilled workers, 25 percent as a family class, and 15 percent as refugees.
In 2021, the admission of skilled workers to Canada will represent approximately 1.2% of its labor force in the future (240,000 skilled worker arrivals divided by 20 million workers).
This means that even though Canada’s labor force is eight times smaller than that of the United States, it is home to more than double the number of skilled workers in absolute terms and about twenty times more per capita.
Due to the limited number of Green Card spaces the United States has to offer, talented individuals will continue to look north while seeking permanent residency. This has been the case for the past five years.
What does Canada offer?
When Canada launched Express Entry in 2015, it issued a total of 600 invitations to apply for permanent residence to applicants living in the U.S. In recent years, that number has grown to over 10,000 per year, with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) suggesting that about 85% of those invited are non-US citizens.
This strongly suggests that the increase in the number of skilled workers looking to move to Canada from the United States is a function of talent in the United States seeking the certainty that Canada offers.
Successful applicants can obtain Canadian permanent resident status within six months or less under Express Entry. This is very attractive to skilled workers in the United States who, although they have lived there for several years, are unsure whether they will ever be able to get a green card.
Uncertainty for skilled workers in the United States will persist regardless of the outcome of the election due to the country’s math problem. There will remain much more demand among skilled workers and talents in other parts of the world for the green cards than there will be places available for the green card.
Additionally, U.S. policymakers are unlikely to prioritize immigration reform because of the coronavirus. Congress in its next session will likely focus on fueling America’s post-COVID recovery. Also, it may be difficult to implement immigration policy reform that would result in the issuance of more green cards and temporary visas to skilled workers given the high unemployment rate in the United States.
With the continuing uncertainty, skilled workers in the United States and other parts of the world will continue to look to Canada. In addition to now seeking the arrival of more than 400,000 immigrants per year, Canada offers many different avenues for international students and temporary foreign workers. Canada also facilitates the transition of study and work permit holders to Canadian permanent residence, which is another very attractive feature for these talents.
All of this to say that we shouldn’t put too much value on the outcome of the US election which will impact Canada in one way or another, including the appetite of those in the US to relocate. in Canada. Unless the United States suddenly changes course and dramatically increases its levels of skilled worker immigration, Canada will retain an advantage.