The Donald Trump administration’s crackdown on the H-1B visa is hurting the US.
Nearly half the American employers surveyed recently said the primary reason they were creating high-skilled jobs in other countries was their inability to secure work authorisation in the US.
This is “proof that restrictive aspects of the American immigration system are creating opportunities in other countries,” said Chicago-based immigration law firm Envoy Global, which polled 433 human resources professionals and hiring managers across a variety of industries and company sizes in November 2019 for this survey.
Meanwhile, over half the respondents were considering Canada for their company’s expansion in 2020, up from 38% a year prior. “Immigrant-friendly public sentiment” and “retaining employees for whom US work authorisation could not be secured” were among the top reasons for this decision.
H-1B, which lets high-skilled foreign nationals to live and work in the US for up to six years, has been targetted by Trump since he came to power in 2017. In May 2019, some senators even sent a letter to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, raising concerns around how processing delays for some work permits have “led to disruptions in American businesses, many of which depend on employees who need work authorisation to carry out their functions.”
Meanwhile, Canada has been wooing Silicon Valley talent since as far back as 2013, playing up its comparatively lax immigration system for high-skill workers. However, it’s only recently that significantly more international students and foreign workers have been eyeing Canada over the US.
Now, nearly three-quarters of hiring professionals consider Canada’s immigration policy to be more favourable to employers than the that of the US, up from 65% last year, Envoy found.
“In 2017, the country unveiled a strategy intended to address domestic labor shortages by streamlining the immigration process for employers and foreign nationals. Since then, the Canadian government set a goal to admit over one million foreign nationals to the country by 2021, and in 2018 alone, Canada welcomed approximately 320,000 immigrants,” Envoy noted.