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Canada Taking In Tech Talent Denied By US Immigration Policies

The US immigration policies make it easier for tech talent to get hired in Canada. Meanwhile, it’s a different story altogether at their next-door neighbour, where federal and provincial programs are paving the way to international tech talent.

Mezyad AlMasoud holds two master’s degrees and is the Executive Director of an insurance company that manages money for professional athletes. He is also one of the foreign skilled migrants forced to leave the United States because of immigration policy reforms in 2017.

AlMasoud had always wanted to go to the United States since as a child growing up in Kuwait.

I had been loving America. (I watched) NBA football, and I’m a big fan and follower of many musicians of course,” he told CIC News.

AlMasoud migrated to America with a temporary visa called the Optional Practical Training (OPT) In 2015. He then established his company, Flair Inc. a year later in 2016.

At that time, he could count on an Obama-era immigration policy called the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) to allow him to remain in the United States.

In 2017, however, President Donald Trump’s administration moved to revoked the IER program. Mezyad AlMasoud was told he would have to leave the US.

It was a very dark deplorable moment for me,” AlMasoud stated. “I was kind of confused and disoriented and I didn’t exactly know what to do next, and that’s when I began thinking about other opportunities.”

Statistics and data from the 2016 U.S. presidential election onward also reveal that many temporary international skilled worker petitions for new employment, known as the H-1B, are being denied to international workers in the U.S.

In the first quarter of 2019, the rates have surged from Six (6) per cent in 2015 to Thirty-two (32) per cent, according to the National Foundation for American Policy.

Whereas, it’s a different story in Canada, where federal Express Entry and provincial programs are paving ways to the international tech talent like AlMasoud.

The number of workers in the scientific, technological, and professional sector rose by 4.5 per cent between 2017 and 2018, according to Statistics Canada, and immigration is anticipated to be an important element of labour force growth over the next Twenty (20) years.

It was a former colleague from business school who suggested that AlMasoud should migrate to Canada. He filed in for the Entrepreneur Start-up Visa Program and his application was processed and granted in about a month, he said.

In February 2018 he landed in Vancouver, Bristish Columbia, where he has been ever since.

I am going hiking from time to time at least once per month,” AlMasoud said. “And the food here is amazing, and the locals are very friendly … I have many new friends, so it’s great.”

The friend who advised AlMasoud to move to Canada was Jake Tyler, co-founder and CEO of Finn AI, a Canada-based company offering artificial intelligence solutions to banks and corporate bodies around the world. The two had met each other during their MBA studies in Spain.

Tyler, who is a native of Australia, co-founded Finn AI with a fellow immigrant friend Guru Altu from India and Canadian businessman Nathalie Cartwright, who serves as chief operating officer. Like AlMasoud, both Tyler and Guru Altu were able to build their business in Canada through the Entrepreneur Start-up Visa Program.