Canadian Tech Boom Caused by Trump?

“Buy-American, Hire-American” Executive Order Continues to Make Canada’s Tech Industry Appealing for Skilled Foreign Workers and Their Families

Thanks to U.S. President Donald Trump’s America-first policies, skilled foreign workers in Silicon Valley now have another reason to move to Canada. The Trump administration plans to rescind work permits for spouses of skilled foreign workers, getting rid of legislation that former U.S. President Barack Obama introduced in 2015. This change could drive more tech workers north to Canada since Canada has an open spousal work permit for skilled workers and the road to permanent residency is clearer.

Skilled foreign workers in the U.S. can obtain an H-1B visa (a non-immigrant visa) for employment with U.S. companies. Any dependent of an H-1B visa holder requires an H4 visa. Prior to legislative changes in 2015, H4 visa holders were unable to work or receive social security numbers in the U.S. Since dependents, especially spouses, could not fully integrate into American society with employment through this visa, this made moving to the U.S. a difficult decision for skilled immigrants.

Now that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to rescind this work permit, skilled immigrants must find alternatives if their spouses want to work and to resettle with their families. Increasingly, it appears this alternative may be to consider a move to Canada.

Spouses of skilled workers can apply for an open spousal work permit in Canada. In light of the U.S. government’s current stance on skilled foreign workers, this openness holds appeal. After all, moving to a new country, even for work, is rarely a short-term situation. Work permits are often a path to permanent residency and eventually full citizenship.

But current U.S. policies might make these workers rethink their plans. Despite employment opportunities within the States, there’s hardship for spouses who can’t obtain a work visa.

Because of these policies, Canada’s growing tech industry will continue to benefit. There is an increasing demand for skilled workers in Canada’s Information and Communications Technology industry. Canada addresses this need for talent by fast-tracking some of the skilled foreign workers through Express Entry and other economic immigration programs. The result is a boost to the tech industry and the Canadian economy.

The U.S. government’s stance may push away skilled talent from a wide range of industries. It’s a boon for Canada, though, as the country will likely welcome these skilled workers and their families. The economic and social boost cannot be understated.