Canada’s tech companies are benefiting from tightening U.S. immigration

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Many U.S. tech companies oppose the Trump administration’s tightening of immigration policies, which have included reviewing specialty visa programs, stepping up deportation efforts and cracking down on sanctuary cities. Executives from Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple have all complained that these actions will cost them valuable talent.

Tech companies in Canada, however, aren’t complaining, according to a report in the Toronto Star,

Last year, technology companies in the Toronto region saw a spike in job applicants from abroad, thanks, in part, to stricter immigration rules in the United States and other countries. In a study of 55 tech companies with more than $1 million in revenue, 53 percent said they saw an increase in international applicants in 2017 compared with 2016. The study by the MaRS Discovery District, an innovation hub that provides venture services, funding and facilities to start-ups in and around Toronto, said that 45 percent of those companies reported making international hires last year.

It’s not just the changes in U.S. immigration rules that are driving this trend.

The Canadian government recently launched a new “global skills strategy” that includes expediting visas to attract more international talent. More than a third of the companies cited in the MaRS study said they participated in the government program, which enabled them to hire more workers from India, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom and … the United States. It’s an educated talent pool, too. Almost three-quarters of the workers were either engineers or data scientists.

One tech worker who left Silicon Valley to work in Canada isn’t surprised. Ian Logan, a vice president of engineering at a Toronto-based tech company, told Venture Beat that he’s heard from “around 10 to 15″ people — mostly with Canadian ties — whom he knew in California who are considering moving back to Canada. He said he “confidently” believes that this is a general trend.

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