Immigration Policies Force U.S. and Canada Employers to Boost Recruiting Efforts

For Immediate Release

Mar 4, 2008

Survey of human resource professionals cites challenges and solutions

Alexandria, Va. − Roughly two-thirds of human resource professionals in the U.S. (66 percent) and Canada (65 percent) say tougher national immigration policies have caused their companies to increase efforts to recruit and retain local talent.

A report released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA), “2008 Global Talent Sourcing in the U.S. and Canada,” also examines how and why foreign workers are recruited.

“Human resource professionals value the local labor pool but know that sometimes the most highly qualified talent is found in the foreign workforce,” said Susan Meisinger, president and chief executive officer of SHRM.

Of the HR professionals polled, 25 percent in the U.S. and 35 percent in Canada said the primary reason they recruit foreign nationals is an inability to successfully attract local workers with the necessary skills. That difficulty in hiring qualified local people is particularly acute in fields requiring highly scientific or technical skills, such as in health care.

Canadian firms (37 percent) are more likely than U.S. firms (17 percent) to hire foreign national workers to fill vacant positions during the next 12 months. When asked if their organizations most likelywill not hireforeign workers within the next 12 months, U.S. HR professionals (47 percent) agreed nearly two to one over their counterparts in Canada (25 percent).

“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, CCHRA CEO.

The 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: U.S. (66 percent), Canada (65 percent).
  • Recruited foreign students pursuing education in the employer country: U.S. (19 percent), Canada (24 percent).
  • Decided against outsourcing internationally: U.S. (18 percent), Canada (14 percent).
  • Hired foreign nationals under different types of visas due to unavailability of preferred visa types and/or delays in document processing: U.S. (16 percent), Canada (22 percent).
  • Decided to outsource internationally: U.S. (11 percent), Canada (16 percent).
  • Hired local national into foreign subsidiaries first then transferred when possible: U.S. (11 percent) and Canada (12 percent).
  • Set up international “virtual” teams: U.S. (6 percent), Canada (5 percent).

Other notable survey findings include:

  • Paperwork processing time was cited as the most frequently encountered challenge in recruiting foreign workers, according to HR professionals from both countries.
  • About one-half of HR professionals from the U.S. and Canada said the average verification and hiring process for foreign national workers is more time-consuming now than it was just two years ago.
  • HR professionals from the U.S. reported the greatest average degree of difficulty in hiring foreign national workers was from countries not included in NAFTA, consistent with recent visa supply shortages. HR professionals from Canada reported the greatest average degree of difficulty in recruiting citizen and landed immigrant status workers.

For more information on the study, please visit:

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. The Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 235,000 members in over 130 countries, and more than 575 affiliated chapters. Visit

About the Canadian Council of Human Resource Associations

The Canadian Council of Human Resource Associations (CCHRA) is a collaborative effort of human resources associations from across Canada. The CCHRA represents more than 33,000 professionals including over 18,000 Certified Human Resource Professionals (CHRPs). The CCHRA’s mission is to be the national voice on the enhancement and promotion of the human resources profession across Canada and internationally through established and credible designations. In less than 15 years the CHRP designation has become the symbol of excellence in human resource management.


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