A new study shows companies plan to hire more H-1B candidates domestically, but are also shifting jobs to Canada.
Envoy Global recently released a study on immigration trends, and found U.S. companies are increasingly moving jobs to Canada to avoid the confused state of H-1B and other work visa programs. Around 65 percent of respondents say Canadian policies are “more favorable” than the ups and downs of the U.S. program(s).
Some 38 percent say their company is “considering” Canada as an expansion destination for new staffers, while an additional 21 percent say they’ve already established at least one office in that country. As the report goes on to note, Toronto added more tech jobs than Seattle, Washington D.C., and the “Bay Area” combined, and the province of Ontario is home to over 1,700 tech companies. (It’s unclear if “Bay Area” means San Francisco, Silicon Valley, or a combination of the two.)
A full 63 percent of companies say they are increasing their presence in Canada. Breaking that down, 35 percent say they are both sending more people to Canada and hiring more foreign nationals there. Around 13 percent say they are simply sending domestic talent to Canada without hiring foreign nationals, while 15 percent are only hiring foreign nationals to work there.
While Envoy Global’s study isn’t unique to tech, or even the H-1B visa, the correlation between the rapid expansion of tech jobs in Canada and the H-1B program’s befuddling state can’t be ignored. The U.S. government vacillates between restricting H-1B and changing the program, with the most recent proposal placing ‘premium’ applicants into the general lottery pool.
Canada plans to add over one million new permanent residents over a three-year period, with 330,800 eyed for 2019 alone under new immigration rules. Most (58 percent) will arrive via the Express Entry system, and many of them will be granted visas under the Skilled Worker Class, Experience Class, or Skilled Trade Class. Though there’s no specific tech worker provision in the Canadian system, the huge uptick in tech jobs suggests the applicant pool alone will be a driver for tech in Canada.
Will more foreign nationals going to Canada open up more jobs for U.S.-based workers stateside? The expansion of foreign offices may provoke some concern that companies will stake a larger claim to making their home in Canada should they find the visa program friendlier there. A quick look at the H-1B program domestically shows why companies are looking north; premium processing for H-1B visa applications yo-yos between ‘suspended’ and ‘open-but-with-changes,’ while end-around plays from the Trump administration on the H-4 spousal work visa make life at home harder for foreign-born tech employees.
Though one study shows Trump’s H-1B moves have been largely effective, outsourcing firms are suing on behalf of tech workers and hiring companies who feel H-1B denials are too frequent and restrictive.