Kovasys Inc.

January 27, 2010 13:07 ET

Foreign talent IT brain drain from U.S. to Canada flip-flopping

Kovasys Inc. (www.kovasys.com), an IT recruitment agency in Canada, has recently been witnessing a large influx of foreign IT specialists working in US on H-1B visa relocating and settling in Canada.

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, Science Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor, World News Editor MONTREAL/QUEBEC/IT RECRUITMENT--(Marketwire - Jan. 27, 2010) - Kovasys Inc. (www.kovasys.com), an IT recruitment agency in Canada, has recently been witnessing a large influx of foreign IT specialists working in US on H-1B visa relocating and settling in Canada. While the number of technical IT professionals from India, China and other developing countries with large pools of technologically skilled workers who apply for H-1B temporary visas to work in the United States has dropped sharply in recent years. One reason is the reduction in the available number of United States H-1B visas, which allow degreed professionals and specialty workers to work for a specific employer. The maximum number of this type of visa has been reduced to 65,000 annually, and coupled with a more difficult renewal process, has spurred many IT professionals in the global work force to look elsewhere for well-paying jobs. Increasingly, they are looking to Canada.

The recession experienced by the American economy in recent years is one factor in the reversal of fortunes two countries' IT communities; whereas in the past, the Canadian dollar generally ran weaker to the American dollar, the exchange rate now is roughly even or even better on the Canadian side. Many foreign workers say the ability to keep more of the money they earn, along with the high standard of living and free health care Canada offers, is motivating them to move further north. This technological "brain drain" is a sharp contrast to the year 2000, when less restrictive visa requirements and a 50-cent advantage on the U.S./Canadian exchange rate spurred many IT professionals living in Canada to move to the U.S. for work.

One H-1B worker said visa restrictions in the United States directly impacted his decision to leave his Connecticut employer for a position in Canada with Morgan Stanley.

"I wanted to be in control of my career in terms of which employer I work for and how long I work for that employer instead of being tied down to one place," said Amit, a foreign national and IT professional. "With American visa restrictions, you cannot change or find jobs easily and it adds an additional layer of disadvantage in an already difficult job market."

Although the job market in America is admittedly tough right now and it may be easier to get access to a visa by moving to Canada, Amit described why it might also be tough to find a job on Canadian soil through standard job-search methods and sites.

He said in his experience, a typical Google search for IT positions in Canada doesn't bring as many return listings as a Google search for U.S. jobs because only a few job portals in the United States represent almost all of the jobs available in the current market, but Canadian searches are more localized, making the right fit more difficult and more time-consuming to find.

"The candidate needs to be a lot more persistent and intensive," Amit said. "The Canada job market also has a tendency to put a disproportionate premium on the 'local experience' factor, which shouldn't really be a primary consideration in this particular business environment because most candidates are highly mobile across the globe."

H-1B visa holders like Amit was able to make their job search easier through the use of a resource such as Kovasys Inc. (www.kovasys.com), a Canada-based headhunting and recruitment agency that helps place IT and technological professionals, which helped him find a job in Canada. Such recruitment companies should be helpful in combating the disadvantage of finding an actual placement, which seems to currently be the only downside for H-1B workers looking for employment in Canada. In the meanwhile, Amit said he finds the Canadian people welcoming and the country foreigner-friendly, and is looking forward to beginning his new job at the end of the month.

While Amit's future is looking up, the outlook involving H-1B visas in the U.S. is not nearly as positive. Although the American economy is slowly improving and should continue to show signs of recovery over the next few years, the H-1B restrictions are not likely to be lifted or revised during that time. Until they are, foreign workers like Amit will continue to leave the United States for Canada in search of better prospects. IN: ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL, LABOUR, POLITICS, TECHNOLOGY

Contact Information

  • Alex Kovalenko, Director of operations, Kovasys Inc.
    Primary Phone: 888-568-2747 ext. 701
    E-mail: alex@kovasys.com