Canadian Tech firms reporting increased U.S. job applicants

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reverse brain-drainJust over a year ago, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. It was reported that the night of the election the traffic to Canada’s immigration web portal was so intense the site crashed.

In the days following, many U.S. travel sites reported an increased interest in one-way tickets to Canada.

Looking back on the first year of the Trump presidency the world has been witness to the new president’s unpredictability and hard line domestic policies on immigration, trade, security, defense, and more. 

For years, particularly in the late 1970s and mid-1990s, Canada has been on the wrong side of the “brain drain”. Highly skilled Canadians have moved elsewhere to work and live, but mostly to the United States.

One of the results of Trump administration is a reverse brain drain.

Many qualified workers, who are either disenchanted with Trump, uncertain where their country is headed, or who no longer feel welcome in the U.S., are moving to Canada.

The perception of Canada relative to our neighbor to the south has changed.

Many people from other countries who have specialized talents may now think twice about moving to the U.S. and look to Canada instead.

According to the 2017 Reputation Institute’s annual ranking, Canada has again taken top spot. The world views Canadians as “friendly and welcoming.”

In order for Canada to compete internationally and maintain a high standard of living we must continue to attract the best and the brightest.

A country’s success is in part measured by the intelligence of its workforce. This is no different than other aspects of life.

Companies with a skilled workforce will most likely do better than their competitors.

But it isn’t only the political climate in the U.S. that is motivating the influx of highly skilled workers.

At about the same time as the U.S. election, the Canadian federal government began rolling out measures to attract foreign talent.

Then on June 12, 2017, it launched the Global Skills Visa Program, part of their Global Skills Strategy, that makes it easier for fast growing Canadian firms and multinational corporations to recruit low risk, highly skilled, foreign workers to vacant jobs in Canada.

The program fast-tracks these visas and short-term work permits, with a turnaround of two weeks instead of months, or in some cases, up to a year.

This was good news to the tech industry, especially as the Information and Communications Technology Council of Canada had noted that Canada would face a shortage of about 200,000 information, technology, and communications workers by the year 2020.

Whether people believe it was because of President Trump’s policy stances, our new visa program, or a combination of both, things are changing.

In July, a survey of Canadian high-growth firms showed 62 per cent of those surveyed reported a significant increase in job applications from the U.S.

Shopify Inc., a high-profile Ottawa firm specializing in e-commerce, reported a 40 per cent increase in applications from the United States during the first part of this year.

But how does this affect us individually?

Financial security starts with a strong economic base.

Highly skilled, specialized talent developing better products and services will increase company growth and provide more domestic employment.

Employment income allows families to flourish.

The government benefits because of increased tax revenue, which in turn provides the social safety net our citizens enjoy.

The reality of modern day life is that we live in a global village.

Our openness and inclusiveness is a great asset that will help us flourish financially, and maintain our desired standard of living.