Friday, August 01, 2008

More Great White North Talent Grab

I noticed a Financial Times article about Canadian immigration policy reform thanks to a Creative Class blog post. OECD countries are scrambling to pick up the slack from America's xenophobic mood swing. Canada appears most ready and able to exploit the complacency to the south:

Anyone studying on a degree programme in Canada will be able to stay in the country for three years after graduation while looking for a job, according to new government regulations.

This liberalisation of the Canadian work visa rules is in stark contrast to policies in the US or UK, where it is becoming increasingly difficult for overseas students to get work visas.

The new Canadian rules, which apply to undergraduate, masters and doctoral students - including MBAs - take immediate effect.

My initial reaction is dominated with nefarious intentions. A three-year grace period is plenty of time for desperate companies in the States to get wind of valuable talent looking for work. If Alberta can come to the U.S. in order to mine disgruntled foreign-born entrepreneurs tired of the H-1B visa dance, then I would expect Pittsburgh and other Rust Belt cities to return the favor.

Is the above scenario possible? The second to last sentence of the FT article suggests the answer is yes:

By becoming Canadian citizens, graduates have increased opportunities of getting a job throughout North America through Nafta, he says.

That's news to me. Is there some sort of liberalization of migration between NAFTA countries in the pipeline?

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