Canada Welcomes Tech Companies That Are Spooked by Trump
On any given day in Vancouver's trendy Gastown neighborhood, young engineers on single-speed bikes ride along brick streets toward shared workspaces where they write code that powers billion-dollar ideas. Some 75,000 tech workers, many for household names like Facebook and Google, work in the city. And Canadian officials are dead set on bringing in more, using the fear of Donald Trump's immigration and visa policies to lure American jobs north. It is a cruel irony for Trump, who has focused his presidency on keeping jobs in the U.S. But his policies do threaten to drive jobs north. Attempts to block visitors from certain Muslim-majority countries have infuriated tech companies that depend on international talent. One CEO, Google's Sundar Pichai, estimated that as many as 200 of his employees were abroad and potentially affected by Trump's policies, and he recalled them to the U.S. to avoid any border detentions. A few weeks later, his company announced it was investing $5 million in a Canadian government--backed artificial-intelligence lab. Companies are also frustrated by Trump's decision not to immediately expand the number of H-1B visas, which allow firms to hire highly educated workers from abroad when no Americans qualify. Instead, in an April 3 memo, the Justice Department warned companies that they could be investigated and "vigorously prosecuted" if they didn't do a better job of finding passable Americans. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and local government ministers have been gleefully putting out a welcome mat. "Diversity is our strength," he tweeted when Trump first issued his immigration orders.
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