Immigration policies affect recruitment, retention

Survey finds foreign workers an essential solution to skills shortage

The majority of human resource professionals in Canada and the United States say immigration policies have affected their company's recruitment and retention strategies, according to a new Canada-U.S. report.

The report, by the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found 65 per cent of Canadian HR professionals and 66 per cent of U.S. HR professionals say tougher national immigration policies have caused their companies to increase efforts to recruit and retain local talent, according to a new Canada-U.S. report.

HR professionals reported seven key actions taken by their companies as a result of tightened immigration policies:

• Increased efforts to recruit and retain citizen and legal-resident workers.

• Recruited foreign students pursuing education in the employer country.

• Decided against outsourcing internationally.

• Hired foreign nationals under different types of visas due to unavailability of preferred visa types or delays in document processing.

• Decided to outsource internationally.

• Hired local national into foreign subsidiaries first then transferred when possible.

• Set up international “virtual” teams.

However, organizations in both the U.S. and Canada are still hiring foreign workers, with Canadian firms more likely than U.S. firms to hire foreign workers to fill vacant positions during the next 12 months (37 per cent compared to 17 per cent).

One-quarter of HR professionals polled in the U.S. and 35 per cent in Canada said the primary reason they recruit foreign workers is an inability to successfully attract local workers with the necessary skills, especially scientific and technical skills.

“A tightening labor market is forcing organizations to increasingly rely on immigration as a source for new talent. Governments and corporations alike must ready themselves to take on this challenge,” said Lynn Palmer, chief executive officer of CCHRA.

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