Trump’s immigration policies give Vancouver’s tech sector an extra bump

April 10, 2017

By Matt Day / The Seattle Times |

Comparisons between British Columbia’s largest city and Seattle tend to start with similarities.

Proximity to picturesque mountains and bodies of water. The climate. A liberal-leaning electorate.

But Vancouver’s high-tech sector owes much of its recent growth spurt to the biggest difference: the side of the international border it sits on.

That gap grew even wider with the inauguration of President Donald Trump, whose travel ban and pledges to rewrite U.S. guest-worker programs have rattled the U.S. high-tech industry and sparked speculation that Canada may figure more prominently in the plans of tech companies and workers alike.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark at a tech conference this month called the nationalistic streak in the U.S. and elsewhere “a terrible, tragic trend.” But, she continued, it’s also “an opportunity.”

Employment of highly skilled technology workers in B.C. has grown 27 percent in the last decade, fueled in part by software-engineering offices seeded by U.S. companies frustrated with the U.S. government’s limit on the number of visas available for highly skilled guest workers.

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