Immigration and the Economy

Posted by Sarah Adler|Canada Immigration
Apr 16

I always thought it would be interesting to research and write an academic article about the correlation between waves of immigration and economic cycles. Maybe when I am retired and my children are grown I’ll actually find the time to make this dream come true. Most business people probably know the final result of this research.  For the sake of immigration policy, and our unemployment rates, it would be helpful to prove and formalize what I see as an existential truth: Immigration drives economic growth.

After watching the Conservative government in Canada unfold its “Canadians First” policy over the past several years, I even more firmly believe that immigration is the key to revitalizing a slow economy. The Conservative government’s “Canadians First” policy sought to ensure that Canadians were first considered for employment positions in Canada, with the intent of reducing unemployment.  This decision seemed to be based on the premise that employers don’t want to hire Canadians, and the myth that foreign workers cost less.  The response I observed from employers is that they would much prefer to hire locally because relocating individuals from abroad is much more expensive.

The reality is that employers seek foreign workers to obtain new skill sets and to stimulate business growth in emerging markets. This results in increased employment opportunities for Canadians.  Unfortunately, the result of the “Canadians First” policy deterred business development as employers found it too difficult to obtain the skill sets they needed from abroad to build their businesses.  The result was these businesses were either established elsewhere or never started.  In my opinion the Conservative policy has further damaged the Canadian economy as opposed to reducing unemployment as intended.

As we see the new Liberal government rise to the current economic challenges in Canada, I am hopeful that our government will acknowledge the importance of immigration in establishing a healthy and growing economy.

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The best laid plans…

Posted by Sarah Adler|Global Immigration
Apr 16

I have recently been reading about the future of global mobility and how relocation and transfer policies can be used in new ways to support strategic business efforts, controlling expenditure, optimally using specialized skill sets in a global marketplace and developing leadership. Keys to moving forward into the new age of global talent management include well defined business strategies, high end leadership support, knowing your employee population, and access to and knowledge of mobility metrics such as who is traveling, where and when are they traveling, what is the total program expenditure, etc. This all requires careful planning and the coordination of various stakeholders.  Not an easy task and a big accomplishment when it is done well. However, when mobility intersects with immigration, the business loses control of the process and becomes subject to the political machine that can often be unpredictable and time consuming even when HR has done everything right. It’s disheartening to see all that work, planning and the expectations of the business and the individual evaporate in the spotlight of bureaucracy. This situation gives rise to social tension between outward expansion of business and governments protectionist perspectives given global security and unemployment concerns. The question is how do we manage challenging government requirements and still maintain the integrity of hard won business strategies. Immigration concerns need to be central to the mobility strategy and not be considered only after the international assignment has been finalized. Businesses and immigration service providers need to partner in the assignment planning process to ensure governmental requirements can be strategically met.  Business and service providers can also work together to establish processes that can pull business information required by the government accurately and efficiently.  This requires a robust centralized immigration system with stakeholder commitment to keeping data up to date. Service providers also need to be flexible and creative within the confines of the immigration programs. There needs to be a keen focus on the business objectives while creatively navigating the gauntlet of governmental requirements.

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