Immigration Hassles In U.S. Mean Tech Workers Are Choosing Canada

Immigration Hassles In U.S. Mean Tech Workers Are Choosing Canada
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Frustrated tech workers fed up U.S. visa delays are flocking to Canada where highly-skilled temporary foreign workers can apply for permanent residency and are free to change jobs, reports the Insider financial and business news website.

“(Canada) also requires only a three-year permanent-residency period before you can apply for citizenship, much faster than the decade it can take in the U.S.,” reports the news source formerly known as Business Insider.

“The wait can be even longer for immigrants from India and China, given the limits for each country.”

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The fly in the ointment for foreign-trained tech workers hoping to find jobs in the U.S. is the now-infamous H1-B visa.

Capped at 85,000 visas for most occupations and turning away almost as many as it accepts every year, the H1-B application process is lengthy, usually requiring four applications. 

In the application to the U.S. Department of Labor to prove the foreign worker will be paid the same as an American worker, the employer also has to show there are no strikes or labour disputes currently underway. 


The employer then has to file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to prove the job is in a specialty occupation and requires someone with at least a bachelor’s degree. 

With the exception of Canadians, H1-B applicants also have to file an application to a U.S. Department of State consulate overseas to get the H1-B visa in their passport and, finally, they have to apply to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at a port of entry to be let into the country. 

The H1-B process has led many foreign-trained workers to opt for Canada instead of the U.S. – and tech companies have followed suit, lured to Canada by the growing pool of tech talent.

In its Tech-30 2022: Measuring the tech industry’s impact on U.S. & Canada office markets report, CBRE noted in October last year that Toronto and Montreal had faster high-tech job growth in the past two years than in the two years prior. 

Vancouver The Hottest Tech Market In North America In 2020-2021

“Two Canadian markets had the most high-tech job growth in 2020 and 2021 combined, followed by Austin in the U.S.,” notes the report.

The hottest tech market in those two years in terms of high-tech job growth was Vancouver which jumped by 44 per cent, followed by Toronto which saw growth of 37 per cent, noted CBRE.

Through policies such as the Global Talent Stream (GTS) which strives to offer two-week visa processing, Canada is luring skilled workers from the U.S.

The GTS, which is part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), targets specific technology occupations with fast processing times. Canadian employers can also recruit and hire foreign nationals through the end of the International Mobility Program (IMP).

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Canadian employers can make a job offer and have their candidate on the ground in 10 working days. Before the GTS, that process took at least six months.

With the arrival in effect of the National Occupational Classification 2021 (NOC) on Nov. 16 last year, applicants for permanent residency under the Express Entry system programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST) and Canada Experience Class Program (CEC), must use the new occupation codes on their applications.

Canada also has participating Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) which use the Express Entry system.

Candidates’ profiles are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates will be considered for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees, within a delay of 90 days.

Through its network of PNPs, almost all of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories can also nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada when they have the specific skills required by local economies. Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.

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