U.S. jobseekers set sights on Canada

U.S. jobseekers set sights on Canada

U.S. jobseekers set sights on Canada A growing number of Americans are setting their career sights north of the border, according to government and other data, and experts believe that is partly due to the spectre of a Donald Trump presidency.

Data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows a significant spike in the number of work permits being granted to American residents.
The number of people receiving Canadian work permits in the first eight months of the year soared 54 per cent over the same period in 2015.

Both the government and immigration lawyers say there have not been any policies to account for the increase.

Elsewhere, job seeking company Monster Worldwide released figures showing the number of American site users searching for jobs based in Canada has surged 58 per cent so far in 2016.

Experts say they suspect the uptick in people both expressing interest and actually obtaining jobs in Canada is a direct result of the U.S. election and the hostile political climate that likely won't dissipate once the ballots are counted.

Brett Bruin, who once worked as the director of global engagement for U.S. President Barack Obama and now works as a consultant for businesses setting up outside the United States, said Canada is a particularly appealing destination for Americans whose political views skew to the left.

The prospect of a Trump presidency is a likely factor in the exodus of American workers heading north, he said, while conceding that the polarizing election has likely motivated some of Hillary Clinton's detractors to cast their employment nets a little wider as well.

``Americans by and large are concerned on both sides of the political isle, and that anxiety is starting to spill over in a more serious consideration of what kind of country they, and perhaps even more significantly they want their children, to grow up in,'' he said in a telephone interview.

Bruin said Canada's potential appeal is broad based. The geographical proximity and cultural similarities to the U.S. make it easy to acclimatize to for both workers and their families.

Canada's current left-leaning government and its inclusive immigration policies, he said, add further appeal and stand in particular contrast to some of the dialog that's dominated the recent U.S. election.

The increase in Canadian-bound workers has been significant in the first eight months of the year, according to IRCC.

The ministry issued 22,274 work permits to American residents from January through August of 2016, up 54 per cent from the 14,486 granted over the same period the year before.

The ministry would not speculate on the cause, but said it has not relaxed admission requirements or adopted any other procedural changes that would account for the spike.
Immigration lawyer Henry Chang of Toronto's Blaney McMurtry believes political considerations lie at the heart of the surge.

He said work permits offer a comparatively easy way for wary Americans to take a short-term break from their home country, since requirements for such a document are much less stringent than for permanent residency.

Chang noted that the spike in permits being issued was particularly pronounced early in 2016, around the time Trump emerged as the likely Republican presidential nominee.

``If they assume that Donald Trump would win only one term, they only need to remain in status here for four years and then they can go back,'' Chang said. ``Many work permits are issued for up to three years initially and can be extended well beyond four years.''

The Monster data suggests that even people who have not taken the step of moving to Canada for work have at least toyed with the idea.

Monster users searched for the keyword ``Canada'' less than 20,000 times in all of 2015, but internal company data said that number had jumped to more than 30,000 between January and October 2016. Monster pegs the increase at 58 per cent in total.

Bruin suspects that interest in Canada will not wane after the election, citing the divisive campaign and hostile rhetoric as factors that may have made some Americans ask some fundamental questions about the country they've called home.

``We have done some rather irreparable harm, at least over the short term, to Americans' core beliefs in the principles, the people, the institutions that have been pillars in our understanding of the country we live in and the confidence that we have in it,'' he said. ``That doesn't change after Nov. 8.''
  • The Canadian Press