Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Secondary Migration Of Foreign Born Talent

Does your shrinking city want more immigrants? Good luck competing with established gateways. How Saskatoon hacks migration:

“My friends live here, they said it’s a good place – for living, for job opportunities. …That’s why I chose Saskatoon,” said Mr. Ahmed, who arrived three weeks ago. “So far, so good.” ...

... “All the Bengalis I meet here,” said Mr. Ahmed in Saskatoon, “they either come from Toronto or Montreal.”

You go where you know. Toronto or Montreal is on the map internationally. Saskatoon is now on the map domestically. The game changer is that Bengali pioneer migration from Toronto to Saskatoon. A network is born, a chain between the two immigrant communities forged. The result is immigration without any national policy reform.

The Saskatoon strategy can work for the likes of Pittsburgh and Cleveland if this urban tier below global cities leverages its connectivity profile. Let New York and DC do the heavy lifting and then poach those immigrants. Talent is leaving global cities in droves seeking geographic arbitrage opportunities. Pittsburgh offers DC networking at Rust Belt prices. Domestic migration from DC to Pittsburgh is well established. Foreign born talent can and will follow the same path.

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