OTTAWA–While America closes the door, Canada could open a window for high-tech workers and start-up entrepreneurs hit by President Donald Trump’s travel ban, internal federal government documents suggest.
Documents prepared for former Immigration Minister John McCallum suggest the Trump’s election could lead to increased immigration from entrepreneurs and workers in the high-tech sector.
“In certain sectors in the U.S., there is a large pool of temporary residents (including start-up entrepreneurs) who historically have had difficulty securing permanent residency in the U.S.,” the documents, obtained under access to information law, read.
“Any proposed measures to ease the immigration process for temporary residents in the U.S., such as start-up entrepreneurs, are unlikely to proceed under the Trump administration. Canada’s Start-Up Visa could provide an attractive alternative for these applications.”
Email records show that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship analysts began work on the briefing on Nov. 9 – the day after Trump stunned the world by winning the presidential election.
One analyst notes that it was “early” to speculate on how a Trump administration would actually change immigration policy. But the documents show an “urgent” request for a briefing was made that morning, examining:
- -“Potential benefits that may be realized from the election results (e.g. economic immigration, Express Entry, etc.”
- “Potential ramifications for Mexico and … visa work, and the strong security agenda/focus on border security and info-sharing with the U.S.”
While much of the discussion on Canada-U.S. immigration over the past number of weeks has focused on migrants illegally entering Canada, there are signs the Liberal government is indeed interested in treating Trump’s policies as a potential to land economic immigrants.
Canada’s public safety minister said on Monday the government was examining a revised order that halts new U.S. visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries. Ralph Goodale said it appears that Canadian citizens will be unaffected.(THE CANADIAN PRESS )
On Thursday, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced a new “Global Skills Strategy,” which aims to faster process visas and work permits for “low-risk, high-skill talent.”
According to Bain’s department, the visas and work permits will be processed within two weeks of receiving the request. According to the government backgrounder, the program will be aimed at “high-growth” companies hoping to increase investments or create Canadian jobs.
Michelle Rempel, the opposition Conservatives immigration critic, said it’s crucial that the government focuses on the actual needs of the labour market when setting Canada’s annual immigration targets.
“If I’m evaluating their plan, it’s going to be ‘okay, what is the labour market data in each region of the country? What are the provinces saying? What are different industry associations saying?’ And then, how much is the projected cost associated with integration support services,” Rempel said Thursday.
“That’s where we’ve had some problems with the government over the last year.”
Emails to a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen were not immediately returned Thursday.
The Liberals’ immigration levels for 2017, released last October, increased the total of economic immigrants to 172,500, a 7.4 per cent increase over the previous years’ targets. Refugee and humanitarian immigration levels, meanwhile, dropped 26.7 per cent to 43,500 – although that partially reflects a slow down after the Liberals’ push to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees.
The overall target of 300,000 new immigrants to Canada remained the same in the 2017 levels.
In late January, over 150 Canadian tech community leaders signed an open letter advocating for a targeted visa to assist those affected by the U.S. travel ban to take up residence in Canada.
“In choosing to hire, train, and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy,” they wrote.
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