CFGI and CERC Release Survey Results on NAFTA and Cross-Border Mobility


​As talks to renegotiate NAFTA began, CFGI and the Canadian Employee Relocation Council published the results of our survey on obstacles Canadian and U.S. employers encounter when managing cross-border talent mobility. The survey also solicited employer recommendations for improving border processes in both countries and modernizing the NAFTA Professionals list.

The findings show that clearer mobility policies, efficient border processes, increased consistency in entry decisions, enhanced training of border officials in both countries, and a modernized NAFTA Professionals list are important to facilitating cross-border labor mobility. CFGI’s response to the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s request for comments on NAFTA modernization included the preliminary survey results and reflected these conclusions.

Eighty-nine employers of varied sizes and industries responded to the survey. Responding organizations uniformly employed professionals that cross the border for business and 58% had more 75 employees travel between Canada and the United States on business each year. Seventy-three percent had employees transfer for work and 51% had more than 10 employees transfer each year.

Among the key findings…

  • 42% of employers reported that compliance with immigration regulations is the most challenging issue or a challenge when transferring employees between Canada and the U.S.
  • More than half of employers (53%) said their employees have occasionally, often, or regularly experienced delays unrelated to travel volumes when crossing into Canada; 61% when crossing into the U.S.
  • Inconsistent decision making by border officials was identified as the most common reason for delays crossing the border, with 76% of employers citing this for employees entering the U.S. and 67% citing this for employees entering Canada.
  • Employers also thought that border officials lacked sufficient training and resources to effectively and expeditiously adjudicate applications for entry: 58% of employers reported this with U.S. border officials and 46% reported this with Canadian border officials.
  • Demonstrating the impact of delays at the border, 28% of employers reported that in the past 5 years they were forced to delay or extend projects due to cross-border issues with transfers or business visits.
  • Most employers reported the NAFTA Professionals list is outdated for their workforce needs, with 56% noting that they have key employees in professions that are not on the list.

Access the Full Survey Report