Trump’s H1-B Freeze: Boosting the Canadian Economy

One of the mindless “coronavirus” initiatives is the freeze on immigration to the US under the H1-B program.

The up-and-coming tech capital of North America

First, what is an H1-B? It’s a type of visa for immigration to the US for workers with specialized (usually software) skills that are in short supply in this country.

There’s always been a question as to the domestic supply of labor for these jobs and whether the H1-B program simply reduced the cost of that labor in the US. In fact, the intent of the original law was to assure that companies paid H1-B workers the prevailing wage for a job, and not less. However, lobbyists persuaded Congress to exempt workers making $60,000 per year or more from that requirement, and companies have used that loophole to reduce labor costs.*(1)

Less disputed is the fact that most of the unemployed in the US lack the training for those jobs, and in many cases, even the educational foundation for that training to make sense. Further, as technology changes, skills get outdated, and many employers don’t support on-going professional education, fearing workers will leave for better paid positions. How many companies still use COBOL?

The current H1-B shutdown means that extensions aren’t automatic. Families who are settled in the US with jobs, homes, paying taxes, may get kicked out.

The people who are happy about this program are Canadian tech companies. They get a larger pool of skilled talent from which to draw.

“If this affects your plans consider coming to Canada instead,” Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted, linking to a New York Times article about Trump’s decision. “Shopify is hiring all over the world and we have lots of experience helping with relocation.”

Inc. Magazine

Inc. further reports that

During 2018 and 2019, Canada brought in 40,000 skilled tech workers, and there are even companies that specialize in setting up virtual subsidiaries of U. S. firms north of the border, so they can hire foreign workers but move the jobs to Canada.

In 2019, Toronto gained the most tech jobs in North America, soaring past San Francisco, New York and Seattle.

So, yeah, Trump is making Canada great.


Sources:

  1. https://www.investopedia.com/news/h1b-visa-issue-explained-msft-goog/
  2. https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/apple-google-tesla-oppose-trump-visas-but-canadian-tech-companies-are-thrilled.html

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