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Data: Center for Security and Emerging Technology; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Canada is convincing an increasing number of noncitizen American residents with tech talent to instead settle north of the border.

Why it matters: The U.S. risks losing its long-standing leadership in the tech sector as restrictive laws and a hostile political climate causes highly skilled immigrants to leave for more welcoming countries.

What's happening: In a new report, CSET research fellow Zachary Arnold analyzed the success of Canada's skilled immigration system in attracting tech and scientific talent from abroad.

  • Canada's Express Entry program prioritizes potential immigrants who score high on work experience and education, as well as other factors. Those who score above a cutoff receive fast track invitations to apply for permanent Canadian residence.
  • Arnold crunched new data and found that the number of U.S. residents receiving Express Entry invites to Canada rose 75% between 2017 and 2019, more than almost any other country.
  • The U.S. rose to third in invites in 2019, after India and Canada itself. (Noncitizen residents in Canada can use the Express Entry program to apply for permanent residency.)

Context: With the White House moving to freeze green cards — including the coveted H-1B visas used in the tech sector — Canada has pushed to attract talent across the border.

  • "If this affects your plans consider coming to Canada," Tobi Lutke, CEO of the Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify, tweeted last month.

The bottom line: The U.S. is accustomed to being the destination of choice for the best and the brightest, but if it closes the door to skilled immigrants, its neighbor to the north will be happy to welcome them.

Go deeper

The plunge in highly skilled work visas

Data: U.S. State Department via Migration Policy Institute: Note: Including E1, E2, H-1B, H-4, L-1, L-2, O-1, O-2, O-3, TN and TD visas; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus has slammed the door on highly skilled foreign workers — amping up President Trump's push to limit American-based companies' hiring of foreigners.

Why it matters: The restrictions and bottlenecks may outlast the pandemic, especially if Trump wins reelection. Economists warn that could slow the U.S. recovery and reduce competitiveness.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.