While America is poised to making hiring high skilled workers more difficult, Canada has launched their fast-track work permit program which will grant high-skilled foreign nationals a work permit in a little as ten days. The program is called Global Skills Strategy. The Canadian government boasts in a news release on the initiative, “As part of the Strategy, which includes four pillars, high-skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis are now able to benefit from two-week processing of applications for work permits and, when necessary, temporary resident visas. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependents will also be processed in two weeks when applicable.”
While the United States has been discussing legislation such as the RAISE act which will limit high-skilled immigrants from coming to our country, Canada has evolved a global strategy which will, in the words of Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, “allow Canadian employers, who are investing in people and skills here in Canada, to continue to grow by attracting top talent from around the world.”
The U.S. leadership seems to have forgotten that skilled legal immigration creates jobs. According to the Journal of Labor Economics, in the United States, each H-1B holder creates 1.83 jobs, and the hiring of one high-skilled immigrant has been shown to lead to 3.5 additional workers over the next 14 years – jobs which go almost exclusively to Americans.
Benjamin Bergen of the Council of Canadian Innovators remarked that the old system which took up to 12 months to bring high skilled talent into the country is “outdated”. During this time, the employee could transform a small business into a global giant and a year is too long in Bergen’s opinion to leave company’s hungry for new talent out in the cold. Sashcha Williams, COO of Canadian company Unbounce feels the initiative will allow Canadian technology companies to attract and hire new talent “quickly and efficiently.”
In the United States, it can take high skilled immigrants up to 7 months to obtain an H-1B visas for immigrants with at least a bachelor’s degree who’ll be working in a specialty occupation. The visa will then only be granted if the applicant survives the lottery and adjudication process. Many are often locked out by arbitrary limitations on H-1B visas and only 85,000 are granted per year.
Researchers can come to Canada for a 120-day stay once every twelve months without requiring a work permit. Researchers can only come to the U.S. on a J-1 visa or possibly an H-1B which take months to obtain.
A 10 percent increase in the number of a corporations H-1B employees corresponds with a 3.3 percent increase in the number of patents awards to the firm. Patents are a sign that the business is innovative and competing well in the global economy. H-1B visas also drive wages and job creation. H-1B visas denials in one year can cost a quarter million jobs over the next two years according to the Partnership for the New American Economy.
Canada is inviting innovation into their country with a rapid visas program for high skilled immigrants and researchers. The U.S. stands to lose high skill jobs held by native born Americans, as well as U.S. companies who will be able to have the freedom hire people they need to be global leaders in an innovative environment. The next Google or Apple may be a Canadian company, and current Googles and Apples may just relocate.