A recent article on Bloomberg suggested that Canada could take advantage of current strick American immigration policies. The article suggests Canada’s friendlier attitude towards immigrants could attract foreign talent.
The article points out that Canadian education is on par with other education systems in the world. But why can’t Canada attract top tech startups?
According to Bloomberg it may have something to do with our proximity to the U.S.,
Canada’s proximity to the U.S., as well as their shared language and the U.S.’s relatively relaxed policy toward Canadian immigration, is both a blessing and a curse. Canada’s best and brightest young workers have long had the option of going to work to Silicon Valley. If you’re an engineer in Vancouver, why not hop across the border to work in Seattle, home of Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing?
However where the Bloomberg article skews to the unknown is when it suggests that because of president Trump, Canadians won’t want to move to the U.S for work.
“Trump’s stands on immigration could make some Canadians wary of working in the U.S., and slow the brain drain. Even more importantly, it could divert more skilled immigrants to cities like Toronto and Vancouver — what Canada loses in native-born outmigration, it might be able to make up in overseas recruits.
Basically Canadian born people, specially in the tech sector are moving to work overseas, mainly Silicone Valley, and we must rely on immigration to restock the lost talent. Bringing new talent to relocate to Canada is not cheap either, a new Canadian program to recruit high-skilled immigrants has pulled in about 24,000 during the past two years at cost of billions of dollars.
The small strip of land south of San Francisco Bay known as Silicone Valley hosts the headquarters of tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Oracle, Linkedin, Intel, Sun Microsystems, eBay, HP, Yahoo, Netflix and Tesla.
Silicone Valley just like Canada has many diverse people and the conclusion is that there is not a single cause that explains its success but it is due to a set of reasons. Without a doubt, Stanford University has had a lot to do with it. It was founded in 1891 in Palo Alto and from the beginning there was a very beneficial interaction between the university and industry.
One of his most famous teachers (Fred Terman) is considered the father of Silicon Valley because he encouraged his brightest students to create their own companies (including W. Hewlett and D. Packard). People who have worked there claim that many of the Stanford professors are part of the board of directors of the companies that we have mentioned above and high tech managers regularly teach in Stanford classrooms.
Two other relevant aspects are access to financing and talent. Silicon Valley is also the headquarters of the leading US venture capital firms. As for talent, there is a real war to hire and retain the best professionals from anywhere in the world. The average time in which people change jobs there is 1.5 years! Facebook, Google and Twitter offer three meals a day for their employees and almost all start-ups have a kitchen with free drinks and snacks.
What’s important to note is that immigrants aren’t necessarily going to move to a country just because the people there are nice, immigrants want to work and live in a place that provides the best economic prospect, its no different than Canadian college graduates who also want to work and live in cities that will provide them with the best paychecks.
Under President Trump the American economy has grown exponentially with Wallstreet and Silicone Valley seeing major boost in business and record employment numbers never seen before, that’s where everybody wants to work Canadians included. Its folly to think that because of Trump Canada will find the next Steve Jobs due to mass immigration. This doesn’t stop politicians from claiming Canada’s diversity is what attracts top talent, this seems more like a campaign slogan because the truth is immigrants and Canadian graduates are both leaving Canada for greener pastures. What about the claim that Canadian cities are very liberal, wouldn’t that attract top tech talent? Well San Francisco is one of the most liberal cities in the US. if not the world, not to mention New York another major tech hub.
The bottom line is Canada must pull its own weight regardless of who the U.S President is. Perhaps we should try lowering the tax rate, or maybe reduce red tape. And lets not get started on the effects the carbon tax is going to have in our economy.
Perhaps our government should try something new, how about ease regulations and red tape and lower its tax rates.