Two recent changes in United States immigration policies potentially benefit Canadian employers as the may convince even more foreign professionals to set their immigration hopes on Canada. Highly-coveted tech workers which employers in both countries are recruiting are finding it more difficult to get work visas in the U.S. - or fear an unwelcoming environment to live, work and raise their families:
1. The Trump administration expanded the ‘travel ban’ to more countries
2. The Trump administration canceled Global Entry enrollment for New Yorkers over immigration laws
Canada and NAFTA U.S. immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah explained that what the U.S. travel ban and trusted traveler program cancellations do not apply to Canadians, they have two more negative impacts on the perception foreign tech workers have on United States immigration:
Many skilled, educated foreign workers are seeing Canada as a realistic and welcoming alternative to immigration to America. Canada does not restrict travel or immigration by country of origin or nationality or religion. Many skilled and tech immigrants are finding it more challenging to get a U.S. visa. Applicants for H-1B visas are frustrated, and turning to Canada as an attractive alternative. Our immigration system emphasizes family reunification and economic growth. Canada welcomes immigrants who meet the criteria set forth by the IRCC to help build a stronger Canada.
DHS Freezes Trusted Traveler Programs
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended 5 federal Trusted Traveler Programs - Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST - in New York on February 5, 2020. The freeze which took effect immediately is in response to the state's new laws that allow undocumented immigrants to get a New York driver's license and block US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from reviewing state driver's license records.
NEXUS is used by people who frequently cross the U.S.-Canada border, including those who live on one side and work on the other.
FAST — short for Free and Secure Trade — is for commercial trucks entering and exiting the U.S. from Canada and Mexico.
Anyone living in New York who already has Global Entry or one of the other programs that allow travelers to quickly enter the country's airports and borders will not be affected. But anyone living in the state of New York who is waiting for federal approval to enroll or renew their fast-entry membership could be waiting indefinitely.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said more than a dozen states and Washington, D.C, have already passed laws similar to the New York law, and that the state will sue the federal government for "an abuse of power."
6 More Countries Added to Travel Ban
Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Tanzania were added to the list of countries with travel restrictions that block immigration from Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, and the Muslim country of Myanmar, as well as four other countries, effective February 22, 2020. The expansion of the U.S. travel ban is projected to prevent more than 12,300 potential immigrants in the next year from resettling, finding work or reuniting with their families in the United States.
Canadian dual citizens are not affected by the new travel ban because dual nationals from the affected countries can travel as usual with a passport from a country not on the list. Visitors to Canada are not affected by the U.S. travel ban unless their trip also includes visiting the United States.