Immigration Fears Might Be Driving Tech Workers From US To Canada

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Could tech workers be heading north? President Donald Trump's immigration policies may undermine the effectiveness of his "America first" economic approach.

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A new survey of Canadian tech companies shows a spike in American tech workers applying to jobs in Canada, Axios reports

The survey, carried out by Toronto tech hub MaRS, sampled 55 Toronto-area tech companies and found that 53 percent of the firms saw an uptick in interest from U.S. applicants.

The results from the study correspond with another MaRS study from last year, which showed a similar trend. 

Canada has long been vocal about its hope for a tech boom in the Toronto area. With the President Donald Trump administration's general animus toward immigration — including the attempted Muslim ban, uncertainty about H1-B visas, and "Buy American, Hire American" rhetoric — Canada is happy to oblige tech workers who want to move north. 

American tech workers' interest in Canadian companies may have other contributing factors as well, including the fact that Toronto and Vancouver are quickly being recognized as tech centers. Business Insider recently ranked the two Canadian cities among the top 25 "most high tech cities" in the world

While California's Silicon Valley region remains a much more formidable tech hot spot, three quarters of workers there are immigrants, many of whom may feel uncertain about U.S. employment in the Trump era. 

But it remains to be seen whether U.S. tech workers really will head for the snow-covered cityscapes of Canada. Silicon Valley, along with California's broader Bay Area region, is already home to one of the most diverse cultures in the country, with a deep history of immigrant communities. 

Whatever the geographic future of the tech industry, the deeper point here is that studies like the MaRS survey cast doubt upon Trump's nationalistic, "America first" philosophy when it comes to the American economy. At the very least, Trump's worldview seems unlikely to help America's tech sector. 

But why should Trump care? Most of Silicon Valley is vehemently anti-Trump, and the president's ardent supporters live far outside of California. As a populist with autocratic leanings, Trump's ear is always listening to the noise of the frenzied masses, not the the business elites. 

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Noah Berger

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