In the closing days of the Trump presidency, his administration continues to curtail legal immigration while Canada opens the door to newcomers.
Despite pleas from U.S. companies and immigration advocates, on Dec. 31, the Trump administration chose to extend the ban on most classes of work visas and green cards. The rationale for the immigration ban, as stated in the executive order, was to protect American workers and stimulate a faster economic recovery.
Trump’s immigration ban, which was initially invoked in April, and then renewed in July, will now extend until March 31, 2021. Since the executive order extends past the end of Trump’s time in office, it leaves the decision to continue the order, or rescind it, to the incoming Biden admin.
U.S. work visa and green card ban
President Trump’s executive order on immigration is sweeping and broad. It bans companies from applying for virtually all typical work visas for foreign nationals. This includes the popular H-1B, J-1, and L-1 visa classes. It also prohibits entry to those who are coming to the U.S. on green cards to work or reunite with family.
The ban does not apply to EB-5 investor visas or to healthcare workers or anyone else directly involved with COVID-19 relief. The ban is also not retroactive, so those with valid status prior to April 22, 2020, are not included.
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has declined to answer questions about how he would handle the ban. His lack of a definitive answer on this issue leaves many wondering if the Biden admin. will extend it.
All of which creates a great deal of uncertainty for those highly skilled workers. This inconsistency in American immigration policy has many prospective newcomers looking at Canada as another option.
How can workers come to Canada?
Biden’s fumble on this issue could be a great benefit to Canada. Canada and the U.S. compete globally for top talent. But going head-to-head with the U.S. is always difficult for Canada. The U.S. has a much bigger population and economy when compared to Canada. But that’s not to say that Canada doesn’t have great options for these skilled and mobile migrants.
Canada has a variety of temporary and permanent immigration programs to court high skilled workers. Here are a few top choices you can consider:
- Express Entry: Express Entry is the most popular Canadian immigration program and processing applications in six months. If your application is successful, you will receive Canadian permanent residence (equivalent to a U.S. green card)
- Global Skills Strategy: This program allows Canadian companies to recruit tech workers and issue them work permits in as little as two weeks.
- Provincial Nominee Programs: Provincial nominee programs vary in their requirements but Ontario regularly recruits tech workers through their provincial immigration program.