Asian tech talent flees US for Canada

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Asian tech talent is fleeing Trump’s US for Canada

Asian tech talent has long been one of the motors of North American economy. In the US, for example, Silicon Valley companies extensively employ workers of Asian background. Moreover, asian tech talent has also transformed Vancouver into one of the best places to settle and work in Canada. Companies highly prize asian tech talent for work ethic, dedication, time management and creativity.

Following President Trump’s decision to freeze the issuance of new work visas, talent is moving elsewhere. PM Justin Trudeau was quick to state: ‘If you don’t want to go to the [U.S.], come to us, we will take you’, at Collision tech conference last month. Canada is becoming a tech hub for many companies and wants to continue innovating and leading in the field.

Blind has published a new survey which tells a very clear picture. Of 1,145 workers on H-1B visas, which Trump’s executive order impacts on, over 34% plan to look for a new country. 24% say they will consider returning to their home country, nonetheless. Among the ones seeking new opportunities, 39% said they will look at other North American opportunities, namely Canada.

Why does tech talent choose Canada?

More than 420,000 people applied for H-1B visas in 2019. Of these, nearly three-quarters were born in India, while the rest were from mainland China. Meanwhile, Irfhan Rajwi, founder and CEO of MobSquad, which specialises in relocating tech talent from US to Canada, commented on the issue. ‘We have had a dramatic increase in calls and inquiries from software engineers in the U.S. after the recent executive order was announced’.

The issue is not new. It’s becoming increasingly difficult under the Trump administration to obtain a work visa or a permanent residency. And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, trends show racism and anti-Asian sentiment is taking hold in America. Rawji explains: ‘In the U.S., the number of years it takes to get a permanent residency could be 20 or 30 years because it’s limited on a yearly basis by country of origin’.

In Canada, such is unthinkable: software engineers get permanent residency in 12 months or less. This is also why Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon have set up offices in Canada. Toronto is especially benefitting from this situation, and it’s becoming North America’s fastest-growing tech market, according to the CBRE Group. Quebec, meanwhile, is Canada’s leading province for tech employment, accepting over 5,000 temporary computer and software engineers in 2019.

Ultimately, many tech leaders actively seek for employees to reach Canada. Twitter Chairman Patrick Pichette, a native Canadian, called for H-1B seekers to ‘look to the North’:

However you feel about the way things have been handled in the United States, you can be assured Canada is open to welcome those who feel disenfranchised and left out. Just look to the North, then!