How Does Suspension of US H1B Visa Impact Canada
Recently the U.S. President, Donald Trump put up another immigration wall around America. His decision is being touted as bad news for the U.S., but good news for Canada.
Mr. Trump suspended new work visas, including H-1B visas often used by Silicon Valley companies to hire skilled I.T. workers from abroad. Reason is being attributed to the low domestic job market thanks to the pandemic.
This move comes on the heels of a previous decision to suspend granting of new green cards for permanent residency. These combined measures could keep about half a million people out of the U.S. over the next six months. Many of these people are highly skilled with advanced degrees.
This move is not being appreciated by the industry within the U.S. by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Apple, Google and Microsoft.
At the same time, Canadian companies are looking to benefit from the situation. While the pandemic has obviously slowed down immigration to Canada, but Canada is not intentionally blocking skilled workers.
Canada has taken a very different approach on this issue. A good example would be the program called the Global Talent Stream, which was introduced in 2017. In its first two years, it brought about 40,000 people to Canada in jobs such as computer programming. It allows companies to get a visa decision on highly skilled workers in just two weeks.
Steps like this make it easier for the skilled workers to choose Canada. The natural next step is permanent residency followed by citizenship.
This is an obvious boost to economy and real estate both in rental and sale categories. As a matter of fact, people on a work permit are able to buy real estate in Canada. Not just that, the Foreign Buyer Tax is also refunded upon receiving permanent residency.
Impact of US Immigration Policies on Canada
Now if Trump loses the election in November, there could be some changes to U.S. Immigration policies. But it has always been challenging for American companies to secure work visas for hiring skilled foreign workers. And the chances are very low for a work permit holder to obtain citizenship status in the U.S. The American annual legal immigration rate is about one-third of Canada’s.
This is quite a shift from the early 2000s, when the Silicon Valley in the U.S. attracted the most ambitious and skilled people from around the globe. In fact, a lot of Canadians moved to the U.S. too. A real brain drain that was felt by Canada.
Now the tides have changed. Things are shifting in Canada’s favour at least for some time. Canadian companies competing with their U.S. counterparts will benefit from hiring the most skilled workers. Additionally, some U.S. firms may start offshoring operations to Canada.
Canada is widely perceived as an accepting, multi-cultural, safe and friendly option for immigration. A global Gallup survey conducted from 2015 to 2017, shows Canada is one of the most desired destinations for hopeful immigrants. More people around the world with at least a bachelor’s degree would move to Canada than the United States, including highly educated and skilled work force.
Ironically, Mr. Trump has expressed hopes to transform the U.S. immigration system to make it look more like Canada’s, with a points system that favours highly skilled workers. However, he is paving the way in the exact opposite direction. This could continue to be a big opportunity for Canada.
Reference Source Credit: The Globe and Mail