Canada’s tech industry is growing as immigrants move away from the US and towards the north, Global News reports. With Washington throttling visa processing and Canada increasing immigration targets, both employees and employers are increasing in concentration in cities like Toronto. According to a recent survey by immigration consulting company Envoy Global:
65% of international tech employers polled said they are sending more employees to Canada and hiring more foreign nationals from north of the border.
Nearly 40% of international tech employers said they’re considering expanding into Canada,
More than 20% international tech employers said they have already established at least one Canadian office.
The primary factor pushing tech employees away from the US is uncertainty surrounding the H1-B visa, a program often used to sponsor highly educated workers. The federal government denied 25 percent of the 2018 applications, compared to 5 percent in 2014. Additional information is also being requested through a “request for evidence” or REF, twice as frequently. Now that President Trump is considering rescinding the H-4 visa, which allows spouses of H1-B holders to live and work in the US, further uncertainty has been introduced.
In contrast, several programs are pulling workers toward Canada. Of note, the Express Entry program offers a streamlined process for permanent residence for those applicants fluent in at least one official language and in possession of a job offer from a Canadian employer or highly in-demand skills not easily filled. There is also Global Talent Stream, which promises two week processing for work permits for highly-skilled employees with hard-to-find talents or experience.
In addition to the pressures of immigration laws, the growth in Canadian tech has been driven by many tech companies establishing a larger permanent presence in major Canadian cities. Google’s headcount in Canada, for example, has grown from 40 employees to over 900 since 2006.