U.S. Travel Woes Could Drive Top Talent Out of the Country and Into Canada

U.S. Travel Woes Could Drive Top Talent Out of the Country and Into Canada
From Recruiter - February 7, 2017

By now, youve likely heard about the U.S. travel banimplemented by President Donald Trump. In short, on January 25, President Trump signed an executive order that banned nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemeneven nationals with the proper visasfrom entering the U.S. The move sparked widespread protest and condemnation from several major companies, including Google, Facebook, and Apple. The order was temporarily suspended by a federal judge and remains so for now,but what will happen next is anyones guess.

According to lawyers from the Canada-based business law firm Fasken Martineau, the uncertainty surrounding the ban is causing a lot oftop talent to reconsider working in America.

We have had many individualseven before the ban, immediately after the election of President Trumpsaying, We dont know what is going to happen in the U.S. We dont feel that we are welcome here anymore, so we would like to move to Canada, says Gilda Villaran, a corporate immigration law partner at Fasken Martineau. And these are very highly skilled professionals.

Fasken Martineau has also heard from clientsmainly European tech companies with subsidiaries in the U.S.aboutsetting up subsidiaries in Canada in order to move their personnel to acountry with a more stable immigration situation.

There are companies who have employees in the U.S. who are potentially in jeopardy, and they want a Canadian entity to move them to, says Cindy Switzer, a labor and employment lawyer at Fasken Martineau. [We are hearing] particularly from tech clients, partly because its such a mobile industry and employees can do things anywhere.

The potential northward flight of talent and companies is good news for Canadas emerging tech industry, but it poses a threat to U.S.-based tech companies and the countrys overall economy.That may be why so many of the travel bans most vocal critics in the business world have come from tech companies.

We obviously are going to respond positively to these inquiries, because Canada welcomes citizens from everywhere in the world if they meet all the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Villaran says. Not only that, but we are going to actively pursue opportunities to indicate that Canada is an alternative to the U.S. to have subsidiaries or to establish tech companies because of our welcoming, open policies that are not likely to change.

It is this unlikeliness to change that really catches corporate eyes. The executive order may be halted for now, but theres no guarantee it wont be reinstated. Companies dont want to have to worry about whether or not their employees will still be able to travel freely tomorrow.

The big thing now in the U.S. is uncertainty, Villaran says. Right now, travelers can travel, but we dont know what is going to happen next week, whereas here [in Canada], we have a policy that is really stable. Those things are not going to change.

The Canadian Government Steps In


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