Trump’s loss is Trudeau’s gain as Mexican software developers look to Canada for work

The new land of opportunity?
The new land of opportunity?
Image: Reuters/Chris Wattie
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US president Donald Trump said this week he will increase scrutiny on the use of H-1B high-skilled worker visas.

Trump’s policies contrast strongly with Justin Trudeau’s stance. The Canadian prime minister took to Quora on Apr. 3 to wax poetic on why the world’s best software engineers should settle in his country.

One of Trudeau’s top selling points is a new fast-track program that will process high-skilled worker visas in two weeks. Without expedited processing, which the Trump administration recently suspended for for H-1Bs, it can take up to six months to get a work visa in the US.

Given the difference between the two countries’ attitudes, it’s no wonder that many Mexicans are starting to look beyond the US to Canada for employment. In fact, since the election of Trump in November, a growing share of job-seeking Mexicans who are searching for work abroad is focusing on Canada, per data from job search engine Indeed.

Meanwhile, according to Indeed the US’s appeal has been gradually declining, though it still accounts for the lion’s share of foreign job searches among Mexicans.

Indeed’s data, which is based on thousands of job searches a week, is several steps removed from the signing of a work contract. Job seekers would still need to apply for the position, get it, and obtain legal permission to work in Canada to alter labor market trends. So at the moment, the data are just a vignette of how Trumpian hostility towards Mexico—and foreign workers more broadly—is changing perceptions about the US beyond its borders.

But there are indications that this vignette could soon become a quantifiable trend. Lawyers, immigrant advocates, and Mexican consulates in Canada have experienced a surge in calls from Mexicans asking for legal advise on how to stay in Canada, Reuters reports. The number of Mexicans wanting to travel to Canada has tripled since that country dropped a visa requirement in December, though many of those interested are likely tourists.

Mexican jobs seekers are particularly interested in Canadian software developer openings, although the most popular job search is for “power engineer,” followed by “farm worker.” Other popular searchers include biomedical engineer and carpenter.

If Mexican software developers do start shunning the US market in large numbers, Canada’s gain will be Trump’s loss. American companies are already struggling to fill their software developing posts, and the gap is only expected to grow wider in coming years.