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Engineers Are Leaving America For Canada (bloomberg.com) 330

An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via Bloomberg: The H-1B was created in 1990, part of an immigration overhaul signed into law by President George H.W. Bush that also created the EB-5 investor visa -- the subject of a fracas involving Kushner Cos. seeking Chinese investment -- and the diversity lottery, which Trump has attacked. Today, an estimated half a million H-1B holders live in the U.S. No one tracks exactly how many ditch their skilled visas for the permanent residency Canada offers, but during the first year of Trump's presidency, the number of tech professionals globally who got permanent residency in Canada ticked up almost 40 percent from 2016, to more than 11,000.

In 1967, Canada became the first country to adopt a points-based immigration system. The country regularly tweaks how it rates applicants based on national goals and research into what makes for successful integration: A job offer used to come with 600 points, but now it's worth just 200. Other factors like speaking fluent English or French -- or, even better, both -- have been given more weight over the years. Country of origin is irrelevant. In 2016, Canada increased national immigration levels to 300,000 new permanent residents annually. Last year, in consultation with trade groups, it created a program called the Global Skills Strategy to issue temporary work permits to people with job offers in certain categories, including senior software engineers, in as little as two weeks. Since the program started in June, more than 5,600 people have been granted permits, from the U.S., India, Pakistan, Brazil, and elsewhere.

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Engineers Are Leaving America For Canada

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  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @08:13PM (#56475177)
    I've read multiple times that the H1-B program allows 85,000 applicants a year, but I've also read the half a million figure. Are they just not going home when their Visas are up? Are the Visas being issued for decades at a time so that they build up in the system? Or are they saying that most H1-B Visas are converted to permanent residency?

    One thing I can say: Companies stopped training once they could rely on the H1-B visa program. One more thing, I know two or three people who were laid off and replaced by H1-Bs, which is supposed to be illegal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The 85k number is NEW per year. They can stay for 7 years before they have to renew. I know several that are coming up on 10+ years. That is how you get to the several million. The current system depending on which country you are from it can take many years just to get the green card then a few more to convert. One guy I know did it all in 4 years. He was not from india. Another guy who sits next to him is coming up on 9 years trying to get a green card. Another guy I knew spent 3 years trying to g

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's a correlation vs causation issue going on here. Companies didn't stop training because of H1-B's; they stopped training because higher numbers of college degrees floating around turned a ton of industries into Employer's Markets. H1-B's sped the process up, but this shit started before that. We have flooded job markets, few alternatives like manufacturing, and executives insist on boosting stock and getting their raises no matter what.

      End result is a lot of qualified people competing for the same

  • by jouassou ( 1854178 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @08:17PM (#56475195)
    Isn't Canada also in America?
    • Isn't Canada also in America?

      No, Canada is in North America, or if one wants to refer to the superset continent, Canda is in the Americas. Not America, which is an alternate way of saying 'the US'.

  • by ark1 ( 873448 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @08:23PM (#56475211)
    The article is mostly about foreigners who can no longer get a permit to work in USA and have to "settle" for Canada. American and Canadian engineers can work on TN Visas which are much easier to obtain without number restrictions. I'm sure Canadian engineers heading down South for better pay and more opportunities still far outnumber American engineers moving North regardless of current Political situation.
  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @08:24PM (#56475217)

    My company does power and HVAC systems engineering for buildings. There is and has been a significant shortage of people in this field over the years (it has always paid less than high-tech and finance, and to really succeed you need the same personality and skill sets). You can't just increase pay, because the fees you can receive do not support paying someone straight out of college $85k/year, plus dedicating significant resources to training. It becomes a 2-5 year investment (more on the HVAC side).

    I had always been biased against the international masters students, as I generally found that they lacked some of the creativity that is required in our field. I have since been proven wrong, with two great hires recently.

    Unfortunately, unless they can have their PE and be paid $91k after 12 months now, they will not be eligible for an H1B. General wages start at $55-65k first year, $60-70k second year, and $68-85k third year. So, they will leave...

    This isn't smart policy. I understand the need to prevent companies like us using H1Bs to have someone work for $55,58,62...k and deprive good jobs for citizens, but keeping bright *young* people is a huge benefit. Instead, we hire and train people apuntil their F1(?) education expires, and they go home for a better job.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Most advanced nations fix that with technical training over decades. They can then fill any skill shortage with short term visa workers with actual skills.
      • Again, speaking specifically to my field, the challenge is you lose the young ambitious people to other industries right out of school, which inherently limits your remaining pool. You then lose another 20-35% mid-career to either be with the kids, or go into sales or similar “related” field. Much of what you are left with are people that can execute, but lack management or creative thinking skills... and people that simply never really could do the job.

        The field is also plagued with boom and bu

    • why doesn't your company invest in training? Maybe lobby for more vocational schools and better funding for public universities. Most of what I'm seeing from companies is lobbying for lower taxes which in turn means fewer educational services. If you want good workers, pay for them.
    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      My company does power and HVAC systems engineering for buildings. There is and has been a significant shortage of people in this field over the years

      Please describe your company's mentorship/training programs to address this shortage...

      (it has always paid less than high-tech and finance, and to really succeed you need the same personality and skill sets)

      Yeah right, being an HVAC technician requires the exact same skill set as a career in finance and/or high-tech.

      • Not a technician... an engineer. There is a significant difference in skill sets. A technician in the field for decades might be able to follow a procedure quite effectively, but they struggle with defining problems.

        The cream of the crop in my field are traditionally from architectural engineering programs. These are kids that learn a great breadth of knowledge about how buildings and construction work. That is the skill set that is attractive to a number of other industries. Working at Deloitte or one of

        • I worked finance for a decade. It was filled with physicists, mathematicians and engineers. And in one case, a classic French poetry critic.

          In any event, it remains the largest collection of smart people I've seen, and that includes university research departments.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @08:31PM (#56475251)

    Everyone is looking to move up to do the best for their family. Indians to America. Syrians to Europe. Americas to Canada. Americans to Europe. The people first to move are the well educated with the capital to make such a move.

    I have my MS and my wife has her MD. As a whole we've debated what countries would be best for our kids and their kids. Universal health care, fewer school shoots, treating mental health like a mental and not judicial problem and a host of other differences. Yeah, it reflects our politics. But it's pretty apparent the US isn't going to be what we want for our grand kids and their grand kids.

    And you can save your breath, yelling at people on Facebook hasn't done anything either. I respect your opinion and your right to have your opinion, I want to live with people, like those in Canada or the Nordic states that share my opinion.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Everyone is looking to move up to do the best for their family. Indians to America. Syrians to Europe. Americas to Canada. Americans to Europe. The people first to move are the well educated with the capital to make such a move.

      Meh, that's a load of bullshit. They're extremely disproportionally young males allegedly under 18, the expendables of the family and not really educated for anything. Their mission is to anchor themselves as "children", get some menial work to send money back to their family and apply for family reunification. They might be doing it for the family's good but they're almost all a huge money sink on the receiving nation. Only those truly blinded by ideology manage to think otherwise.

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      I want to live with people, like those in Canada or the Nordic states that share my opinion.

      Please, describe the immigration process for moving to Canada [canada.ca] or "the Nordic states" [norskbloggen.no] permanently... It doesn't appear you can just "decide" to immigrate to any country you choose.

      • Go to Google. Type "Emigrate to [country]". They all have their own nuances.

        With a MS in engineering and an MD we both qualify as skilled workers. She additionally speaks French, or enough to qualify for points. We also have more than enough saved up to meet the requirements of countries that have 'savings' requirements.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday April 21, 2018 @02:53AM (#56476517) Homepage

          In Canada, speaking French requires fluency at a grade 12 level, unless you're from an undeveloped county. You also have to be able to write at the same level for it to apply. MD's are hard capped in Canada, and if you're using that as a basic you *must* take residency in the province or territory you're assigned to. You also must retake various tests to gain the right to open a practice in the province you're assigned to. That means, you might have your heard and dreams set on Toronto(ON) or Vancouver(BC), but you might be assigned to far northern Alberta with 3hrs of sunlight in the winter and 21hrs of daylight in the summer and be 12hrs from a city larger then 8k people for up to 5 years. You'll also have to re-take engineering certification tests here in Canada.

          • We're intelligent enough to have made it through med school and engineering school and you think we haven't been doing our due diligence in researching giving up our US citizenship?

            Please, continue to go on about all of the issues that may come up.

            open a practice

            She's not in private practice. There are more doctors than outpatient. Underserved communities in Canada look a lot like the underserved communities in the US.

            your heard and dreams set

            God no. For the same reason we don't go to NY, California, or Seattle. We honeymooned around Georgian Bay

        • You may have missed it, but my comment had links to the immigration requirements for Norway and Canada - my point remains, it isn't a matter of crossing the border, showing them your impressive US degrees, and they welcome you with open arms.

          The Canadian gov't tells doctors where to practice, for example. I encourage you to go into Mexico and apply for permission to just work there, let alone live there as anything other than a vacationing guest - they don't want you, they don't want to import workers, they

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Same situation in the UK now. Brexit, a hostile environment and poor economic prospects. Engineers are leaving, and there is a sense of urgency because the future is so uncertain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      fewer school shoots

      The death rate from school shootings in the US is ~20/year. (For comparison, the school-age population is 64,000,000.) That's above the crushed-by-vending-machine death rate (~3/year), but below the killed-by-dogs death rate (34/year), and far below the texting-while-driving death rate (6,000/year). (All figures for US only.)

      If the risk of school shootings is a serious factor in motivating you to move to another country, you should be *far* more motivated to move to a country that lacks mobile phones.

      (Nu

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @09:08PM (#56475445)

    And in other news, California is experiencing an exodus. [cnbc.com] And it's mostly the middle class that's fleeing progressive California.

    • Not really, foreign immigration makes up for the Americans that can't cut it in CA and leave for red states :D
      • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @10:50PM (#56475891)

        Not really, foreign immigration makes up for the Americans that can't cut it in CA and leave for red states :D

        With one of the highest rates of income inequality and poverty in the nation, it looks like California is becoming a state of ultra-wealthy tech overlords and their foreign slave labor. Yeah, anybody with a choice doesn't want to be part of such a dysfunctional social structure. And the irony is that these people still blame conservatives for the massive inequality, racism, and poverty in California.

    • Right, they're leaving because of progressive policies. Absurdly gigantic housing cost and traffic nightmares (=lots of time wasted) can't possibly have anything to do with it.

      • Right, they're leaving because of progressive policies. Absurdly gigantic housing cost and traffic nightmares (=lots of time wasted) can't possibly have anything to do with it.

        The latter are consequences of the former.

  • We knew that engineers would leave. The question is whether the jobs are leaving with them. I don't think I see that trend.

  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Friday April 20, 2018 @11:00PM (#56475919) Homepage Journal

    In 1967, Canada became the first country to adopt a points-based immigration system.

    So fifty years after Canada implements a merit-based (AKA points-based) immigration policy America-hating Americans attack President Trump and his administration as being anti-immigrant [forbes.com] by proposing a similar immigration program. (Apparently the only good immigration program is one that increases the absolute number of immigrants admitted into the country annually...)

  • Last year, in consultation with trade groups, it created a program called the Global Skills Strategy to issue temporary work permits to people with job offers in certain categories, including senior software engineers, in as little as two weeks. Since the program started in June, more than 5,600 people have been granted permits, from the U.S., India, Pakistan, Brazil, and elsewhere.

    So Canada has implemented their own version of the H1-B Visa program and took in 5,600 highly-skilled professionals and gave them temporary work permits... Big Deal.

  • You do know that (Score:2, Informative)

    by nuckfuts ( 690967 )
    Canada is in America, right?
  • Engineers are the only talent the USA has to trade for decent NHL players.

    The incentive is better beer for the engineers and sex without snow shoes for the hockey stars.

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