Canada Eases Path, as U.S. Raises Barriers, for Foreign Tech Workers

This story in The Mercury News highlights how Canada’s reformed immigration system, designed to make it easier for talented foreign nationals with STEM skills to immigrate, is paying off for that nation.

As we’ve noted in prior posts, in the U.S., employers are experiencing new levels of delays and denials of applications for professional working visas, and the administration is planning to revoke the ability for spouses of professional level visa holders to work while they wait as much as a decade or more for an available permanent resident visa.  These and other measures taken by the administration at best create uncertainty, and at worst, impressions of hostility, that may discourage foreign-born talent from wanting to stay and work in the U.S.

In contrast, Canada’s new Global Skills Strategy offers eligible professional level workers the opportunity to have their visa application processed within two weeks.  Obtaining the Canadian equivalent of permanent residency is also streamlined through the Express Entry system, which can take as little as six months.  As the Canadian government stated in the article,

Immigration will continue to play a crucial role in keeping our country at the forefront of the global economy…..Thanks to immigration, Canada is in a strong position to face future labor-force challenges arising from our aging population.

With unemployment at 3.9%, the lowest rate since 1969, and with the nation’s aging population, the U.S. would do well to emulate Canada’s immigration policies.