- Many people in the technology industry move to Canada via the United States due to the restrictive immigration laws of the United States.
- Since 2013, Toronto has created more technical jobs than any other place in North America, including Silicon Valley.
- 25% of Canada's total workforce is immigrant, and the number is even higher in technology – 40%.
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Silicon Valley's reputation as the world's leading technology center could be compromised due to U.S. restrictive immigration laws.
Tens of thousands of immigrant technology workers have come to Toronto in recent years, making it the fastest growing technology center in North America.
Many of them deliberately avoid the US because the Trump administration is restricting immigration. In June, President Donald Trump temporarily suspended visas known as H-1B visas, which are issued to thousands of skilled migrant workers every year.
The visa suspension causes some immigrants, such as Silicon Valley's former product manager Asim Fayaz, to move north to Canada.
"There is a whole world out there and you are probably better off going somewhere else because you are treated more humanly," said Fayaz, a Pakistani immigrant who is now one Online restaurant business in Toronto. "You don't have to ask for your existence all the time."
The U.S. government reserves 85,000 H-1B visas each year for qualified foreign professionals – people like Elon Musk, who was born in South Africa and founded companies like Tesla and SpaceX in the United States.
Fayaz came to the United States to attend the University of California and got a job after completing his master's degree in 2016. As an immigrant, it was difficult to find work in the United States – he needed an American employer not just to hire him. but also sponsor of his H-1B work visa.
That year, immigration laws suddenly changed as Trump has suspended the programciting "an unusual threat to the employment of American workers" during the coronavirus pandemic. The move left thousands in the balance.
But while the US is closing its doors, Canada has rolled out the welcome mat. Since 2013, The number of tech jobs in Toronto has skyrocketed from around 148,000 to 228,000, an increase of 54%.
"We have over 100,000 people immigrating to the Toronto region every year, twice as many as in the San Francisco Bay Area," said Jason Goldlist, co-founder of TechTorontosaid. And we don't just attract the crowd. It's also quality because a fifth of these immigrants already have a MINT degree before they even get here.
Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify tries to take the opportunity. After Trump's announcement, CEO Tobias Lutke – himself an immigrant from Germany – tweeted"If this affects your plans, you should come to Canada instead."
Sandeep Anand, the company's senior mobility manager, reiterated Lutke's call for talent: "Whether you are already in Canada or whether you have a global presence, we really want to expand our diverse workforce. In some cases, it means that it does. " We would have to move and provide immigration assistance, which we like to do, "she told Business Insider Today.
After a Study 201625% of the Canadian workforce are immigrants. And in the technical field, that number is even higher – 40% or 350,000 workers.
And there's room for more, says Ilya Brotzky, founder and CEO of VanHack, a Canadian company that helps place global talent in engineering professions across North America. Brotzky quoted Canada 3% unemployment rate in technologywell below the overall unemployment rate.
"It's not like a bunch of Canadians are waiting to take on these jobs," said Brotzky. "The unemployment rate is really, really low. We can't find the people."
Brotzky believes it makes economic sense for US companies to open offices in Canada.
"They have these people who can basically work in the same time zone, a quick flight from you, really simple laws, super-fast setup, and the benefit of Canadian dollar salaries," he told Business Insider Today. "But more importantly, you have access to the global talent pool, so you can involve any developer from around the world who is good."
For this reason, Canada tries to attract highly qualified foreign professionals through visa programs like this Global stream of talentImmigration experts say it's like the H-1B program, but much better.
"It's a very fast turnaround time. It takes about two weeks to complete the first phase. And then the second phase, the work permit phase. It takes another two weeks. So you could be in Canada as soon as possible." a month, "said Blayne Kumar, founder of Bright Immigration.
Fayaz decided to move to Canada from the United States after he was fired from his Silicon Valley company when he and his wife were fed up with worrying about their legal status.
"It's not even like 10 years from now, I'll get it," he said. "It's like maybe, maybe not. Who knows, who cares. We don't need you in this country."
And the recent suspension of the H-1B visa program only confirmed its worst fears.
"You know this scene in films where the actor leaves the scene and blows up the world behind you, right? I feel like I somehow managed to magically leave the scene," he said. "And I look back and the United States is blowing up."
"So many of my friends that I have worked with have gone to school, they are all affected. And when I get a call, I just feel so sorry for all these people."