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In today's competitive global talent market, relying on luck to retain key employees is madness.

The demand for highly skilled professionals, especially in the tech sector, is soaring, with a projected shortage of 1.2 million software engineers by 2026.

Although the H-1B visa allows U.S. tech companies to hire foreign talent, the lottery-based system makes hiring and retaining these tech employees difficult.

But there’s a new, innovative solution to this growing problem—all companies need to do is look north to Canada.

The H-1B Visa Puzzle: Understanding the Challenges

The H-1B visa, the largest guest worker visa in the U.S., allows companies to hire foreign employees in specialized fields for a maximum duration of three years, with the possibility of a three-year extension. While this visa has been beneficial for the tech sector, there are several limitations companies need to consider.

Talent acquisition

Global tech talent shortage continues with a 25% increase in U.S. tech job openings. Despite 85,000 tech workers losing jobs, over 375,000 positions remain unfilled.

As companies across every sector focus on digital transformations, the need for tech talent grows. However, domestic U.S. workers need help to fulfill this demand for highly skilled tech employees.

The H-1B visa has benefited the tech industry significantly, with computer-related jobs accounting for almost 70% of approved visas in 2021. However, due to the slim chance of winning the H-1B visa lottery, many skilled and experienced immigrant tech employees must leave the country. This year, 484,000 people registered for the 85,000 available visas.

Talent retention

In light of the tech talent shortage, retaining employees has become critical for businesses worldwide. The "Great Resignation" has highlighted employees' changing expectations, including remote work options, flexibility, benefits, and growth opportunities.

Nevertheless, the H-1B visa lottery system threatens skilled immigrant tech workers, losing valuable talent and expertise.

Talent replacement

H-1B visa issues make it difficult for businesses to replace lost tech talent. It is time-consuming, expensive, and difficult to find suitable replacements.

The expenses associated with employee replacement, including severance packages and immigration compliance risks, can be exceptionally high, reaching up to three to four times the employee's salary, as per SHRM's research.

An Innovative Solution

Amidst the challenges of the flawed H-1B visa system, an innovative solution has emerged, eliminating the reliance on chance and the anxieties of waiting and hoping for tech employee acquisition and retention in the U.S. This solution lies north of the order in Canada.

O’ Canada

Canada recently launched a new work permit for H-1B visa holders. Successful applicants will receive an open work permit that allows them to work for any employer in Canada for up to three years. A temporary resident visa, with work or study permits, is also available to their spouses and dependents.

Currently, only 10,000 applicants can receive this permit, and this number was reached in under 48 hours. However, the government may raise these numbers and the good news is there are other options.

Global Stream Solution

Unlike the H-1B visa system, relocating employees to Canada is not complicated or dependent on luck. Thanks to Canada’s Global Talent Stream program, tech companies have an alternative answer to its H-1B Visa challenges.

By partnering with an Employer of Record (EOR) companies can relocate workers to Canada. An EOR can act as a sponsor for the employee’s Canadian work visa, this includes workers in the U.S. or overseas.

How it works

To qualify for this H-1B alternative, workers need:

  • Be a tech worker or manager of tech workers.
  • Have a tech degree or tech experience.
  • Earn a salary of over CAD$86,000.
  • Have a job offer from a Canadian company (This can be via a Canadian-approved EOR.)

Another option for tech workers to move to Canada is the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs.) Various provinces within Canada extend nominee programs tailored explicitly for individuals with tech sector expertise.

Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia all offer PNPs but there are over 80 different programs to choose from.

How it works:

    1. Select the Suitable PNP:Review the list of provinces and territories provided at the beginning of this page to determine your preferred immigration destination.

    1. Apply to Your Chosen PNP:Directly submit your application to the province or territory you've chosen.

    1. Attain Provincial Nomination Certificate: Upon successful application, the province or territory will nominate you to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

    1. Complete Permanent Residency Application:Apply for permanent residency through the Canadian federal government.

The government is also looking to promote Canada as a destination for digital nomads. Soon digital nomads can work in Canada for a foreign company for up to six months.

Partner with Experts

To ensure a smooth, efficient process, companies should look to partner with global recruitment experts. Here are three leading options:

    1. Local Immigration Consultants:They can help companies navigate the complex Canadian immigration laws and regulations thanks to their local experience and hands-on knowledge of the process.

    1. Employer of Record:An EOR can efficiently obtain the necessary work permits and visas for tech companies' talent to work in Canada legally.

    1. Global Law Firm: International lawyers can provide legal support to companies relocating tech talent to Canada, including advice on employment law, tax law, and visa requirements.

Don’t gamble with your workforce

Businesses no longer face losing critical tech employees due to the H-1B visa issue. In the current competitive talent market, relying on a lottery system to retain highly skilled staff is crazy.

By partnering with an EOR or gaining entry via the new work permit for H-1B visa holders, businesses can bypass the costly process of replacing tech workers, while retaining industry knowledge, and maintaining productivity.

Now organizations can efficiently relocate tech workers to Canada, ensuring a focused, productive, and loyal long-term workforce.