Friday, July 18, 2008

The Great Alberta Talent Grab

Concerning the war for talent, this initiative should raise a few eyebrows. In case you are unaware, Alberta is searching the world for workers because of the explosive growth resulting from the high price of oil. This summer, the Government of Alberta is touring American cities, targeting disgruntled foreign born talent here in the United States on H-1B visas (among others):

You may be eligible to qualify for Canadian Permanent Residency through the Strategic Recruitment Stream pilot program recently introduced by the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

To qualify for this pilot program, you must meet the following basic criteria:

  1. You must be currently working in the United States in one of the following temporary skilled worker visa categories: H-1B, H1-B1, H-1C, E-3
  2. You must have a minimum of one year of work experience in the United States in one of the qualifying visa categories listed above.
  3. Your occupation must be on the Regional Occupations Under Pressure list for Alberta. Please visit the link to view the list.

I note the enabled province driving economic immigration policy. Imagine a similar initiative designed to benefit individual US States. Look familiar?

Talent starved American regions would appreciate the kind of support Alberta is receiving from its national government. But the political inertia pervades government at all scales because many citizens don't buy the alarm that business is sounding. My guess is that if the crisis becomes as acute as it is in Alberta, some sort of effective immigration reform would be forthcoming. I do wonder if Canada and Australia will gain a first-mover advantage. The increasing geographic mobility of talent suggests not.

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