Tech's biggest threat? Canada

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Canada is emerging as a rival for technology company basecamps as U.S. immigration laws are forcing startups to seek homes in places where it is much easier for their employees to obtain visas, The New York Times reports.

Skilled foreign workers are more attracted to Canada's immigration stability, too.

"It's becoming less and less sexy to be going to the United States," Tim Delisle, a founder of the startup Datalogue, which uses artificial intelligence to prepare and synthesize data for other businesses and has recently expanded to Montreal, told NYT.

Though many reports focus on President Donald Trump's policy crackdowns on illegal immigration, the administration has also moved to restrict legal immigration, a move that has hurt the tech industry which recruits much of its top talent from foreign countries. Specifically, President Trump's April executive order, dubbed Buy American and Hire American, requested reforms to the H-1B visa program as a way to benefit American workers.

The H-1B program uses a lottery system to award 85,000 temporary visas each year to highly skilled foreign workers partaking in "specialty" occupations. The process of applying for one of these visas can cost a company up to $6,000 and take months, despite uncertainty the worker will even be awarded the visa. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security proposed rules to strengthen requirements to ensure only "the best and brightest" foreign workers would be awarded them.

However, for high-skilled foreign workers to obtain visas in Canada, they only have to wait about two weeks, thanks to the country's immigration agency's Global Skills Strategy program.

John Miano, a lawyer representing American workers who allege they've lost jobs unfairly to low-skilled H-1B visa holders, told NYT it is misleading for companies to move their businesses north for the best talent. "The problem is, you got to go to Canada," Mr. Miano said. "The reality is, the place to do business is still the United States."

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