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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

When it comes to high-skilled immigration, the U.S.'s loss could be Canada's gain. Canada recently launched a Global Skills Strategy visa program to make it easier for its companies to bring in foreign workers with specific technology or business skills. The program allows firms to have a position pre-approved and get visas within two weeks — a stark contrast to the months-long U.S. visa process.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has moved to restrict the number of immigrants coming into the U.S. on work visas, which worries big tech and consulting firms that use the H-1B visa program to fill technical and specialized jobs. Canada's government is seizing the moment to provide an option for engineers, executives and other tech talent who may no longer qualify for an H-1B visa or who simply don't feel comfortable staying in the U.S.

Open for business: Navdeep Bains, Canada's Minister of Innovation, told Axios that Canada wants to be open to ideas, open to trade, and "more importantly, we want to be open to people" in order for companies to grow. Bains stopped short of framing the program as a way to poach talent from Silicon Valley, instead saying that the government is "open to whatever region has talent."

"Diversity is a point of pride for us. It's a competitive advantage."

"Go North": Canada has tried to lure Silicon Valley talent through its Go North program that launched late last year, which touts the country's 71,000 tech companies that account for 5.6% of total employment — more than the U.S. The program is largely aimed at Canadian ex-pats, many of which have settled in the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle and London.

A number of ex-pats left Canada's nascent tech scene 15 years ago and are surprised at how much the startup ecosystem has grown since then, said Chris Plunkett of Communitech, a public-private organization that runs a startup accelerator in Waterloo that has helped match workers with companies. "With the political situation with Trump and Brexit, you are seeing people really miss Canada," said in a phone interview between meetings in London. "You are seeing our Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) be more of a symbol."

Not just tech talent: In addition to finding coveted tech workers like software engineers, Canada's new Global Skills visa is hoping to attract people with specific business experience to help pre-IPO companies scale. While the Toronto-Waterloo corridor is home to many startups, there are few big corporations to sell into and to hire expertise from. Blackberry was the primary tech anchor for years, and though a recent burst of startup activity has attracted some attention, for these companies need to move to the next level the region needs more high-growth business expertise, Plunkett said.

Go deeper: TechCrunch has a detailed look at the Canadian tech scene.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

UN Security Council meeting on Israel-Gaza as fighting enters 7th day

Smoke billows from a fire following Israeli airstrikes on multiple targets in Gaza on May 16. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council was preparing to meet Sunday, as the aerial bombardment between Israel and Hamas between entered a seventh day.

The latest: Four Palestinians died in airstrikes early Sunday, as Israeli forces bombed the home of Gaza's Hamas chief, Yehya al-Sinwar, per Reuters.

7 hours ago - World

In photos: Protests in U.S., across the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

A protest march in support of Palestinians near the Washington monument in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and DW.com report.

Updated 14 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.