Jul 5, 2017

Canada's play for immigrant tech talent

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.

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LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.

Novavax starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Novavax's Nita Patel with a computer model showing the protein structure of a potential coronavirus vaccine at the lab in Gaithersburg, Maryland in March. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Novavax began clinical trials of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus in Australia on Tuesday, per a statement from the Maryland-based biotechnology firm.

The state of play: 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane will undergo injections as part of the study, the company’s research chief Gregory Glenn said during a briefing, per Australian Associated Press.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 5,495,061 — Total deaths: 346,232 — Total recoveries — 2,231,738Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,662,302 — Total deaths: 98,220 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy