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After H-1B ban, Silicon Valley startups look to Canada for engineering talent

The United States suspended an H-1B visa and other non-immigrant work permits until the end of 2020. Many Silicon Valley-based tech start-ups had to move to Canada. Avi Bharadwaj Principal at Innovation Endeavors said that it was just difficult to hire someone with an H-1B visa before, but now it is impossible. Gatik, An Innovation Endeavor portfolio company relocated to Canada and is growing the business and adding the team members there, because of the visa difficulties in the United States. Canadian recruiting firms confirmed that they get more requests from Indian software engineers as well as US firms who decided to move to Canada to keep their teams and keep expanding their businesses which are heavily dependent on international talent. Even when the workers get an H-1B visa, the requirements for permanent residency and the amount of time it takes usually forces people to look for something else. US bank NorthOne recently opened an office in Toronto. They had to move their workers on H-1B visas to the Canadian office to be able to keep them as their employees. Many Silicon Valley-based firms with Canadian co-founders opened offices in Canada to be able to move. Other firms that have no such connections to the country are also working on relocating.

Digital charter could be a perfect way for start-ups and digital businesses. Canada is more than willing to welcome start-ups, new businesses, and new international talents. Digital Charter is a document published in 2019 and it serves a plan for the development of Canada’s digital economy. The document states that the Canadian government will help the businesses at every stage of development adopt digital technologies, and will help the citizens of every age connect to the internet and develop the skills needed to effectively use digital technologies. When the country focuses so much on the digital economy, it does not come as a surprise that they are welcoming international talents. Canada recently recognized the firms dealing with cryptocurrencies as Money Service Businesses (MSB). Regulating digital currencies makes them more reliable for the customers and therefore, is also the support of further growth of the cryptocurrency industry in the country. There are two very successful industries that saw massive rise in the last three years - ecommerce and iGaming. Canada’s government created a very welcoming starting point for every casino provider, so they could easily make a shit from traditional gaming to digital platforms. Trudeau believes that the country that focuses now on the digital industry will be a winner in next decade. That’s why Canada’s government creates very helpful rules for many industries, including iGaming. Online gaming industry saw a big rise from 2017 when the international players were allowed to send and receive crypto transactions through the casino websites. Canadian casinos easily shifted from traditional form to digital world. After offering top rated online casino games to international games, the popularity of the industry has seen a massive growth. It was a big win not only for the gaming community but also for Canada’s economy. 

A lesson from Canada: tech industry can lead to economic recovery. The tech giants such as Zoom, Amazon, Facebook have earned more during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before. However, tech start-ups have suffered a great deal. The reason it is important to keep the start-ups going is that they play a bigger role in the economy than they are credited for. Startups create high-quality jobs, supply the industries with products that make them more productive, and thus support economic growth. Six technology hubs of Ontario recently joined forces to conduct a study on the economic importance of startups. While the study is based on Canada the conclusions are useful universally. The report is called Post-Viral Pivot and it shows the contribution of startups for the development of industries such as health care. The industries that require knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM industries are the priority in Canada. Currently, the investors are afraid of making any long-term commitments and thus startups do not have the environment that is necessary for them to grow into profitable firms. While Canada supports its start-ups during the pandemic, in the United States an ongoing debate is happening whether or not the start-ups should get help from the government without being sure that they will survive the pandemics. The conclusion to draw from all this is that start-ups are the future of the economy and every country should support them, in order to ensure fresh ideas, new high-quality jobs, and further economic growth.

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