From Time: Tech Companies Say it’s Too Hard to Hire High-Skilled Immigrants in the U.S. — So They’re Growing in Canada Instead
On a recent Tuesday, Neal Fachan walked down a dock in Seattle’s Lake Union and boarded a blue and yellow Harbour Air seaplane, alongside six other tech executives. He was bound for Vancouver to check on the Canadian office of Qumulo, the Seattle-based cloud storage company he co-founded in 2012. With no security lines, it was an easy 50-minute flight past snow-capped peaks. Later that day, Fachan caught a return flight back to Seattle.
Fachan began making his monthly Instagram-worthy commute when Qumulo opened its Vancouver office in January. Other passengers on the seaplanes go back and forth multiple times a week. Fachan says his company expanded across the border because Canada’s immigration policies have made it far easier to hire skilled foreign workers there compared to the United States. “We require a very specific subset of skills, and it’s hard to find the people with the right skills,” Fachan says as he gets off the plane. “Having access to a global employment market is useful.”
Business and education groups warn that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may court disaster if the agency implements a new electronic system for H-1B petitions without sufficient testing and input from employers. The registration system, based on a regulation finalized in January, is expected to be used in April 2020 for the FY 2021 H-1B cap season.
Trump administration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect, one of its most aggressive moves to restrict legal immigration.
Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S., or what’s called a “public charge,” but the new rules, made public on Monday, detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to deny H-1B petitions at an historically high rate, making it more difficult for international students to work in America and for companies to conduct research and service customers in the United States.
“Denial rates for H-1B petitions have increased significantly, rising from 6% in FY 2015 to 33% through the second quarter of FY 2019 for new H-1B petitions for initial employment,” according to a new National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP)analysis of USCIS data. “Between FY 2015 and FY 2018 the denial rate for new H-1B petitions quadrupled from 6% to 24%. To put this in perspective, between FY 2010 and FY 2015, the denial rate for initial H-1B petitions never exceeded 8%, while today the rate is 4 times higher.”
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