San Francisco – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in San Francisco with two issues on his mind: Having Canada as the headquarters for US technology companies in the midst of the debate over immigration policies, and remind California of its longstanding trade relationship with its country.
The heated immigration debate since the election of Donald Trump has given Canada an opportunity to promote itself in Silicon Valley. While US employers fear they will not be able to receive foreign workers, Canada offers a two-week fast track to grant work permits to qualified personnel, the so-called ” strategic global skills visa.
Large posters sponsored by the Canadian government in Silicon Valley say: Recruiters from Canadian companies will attend university events to invite graduates to “take the next step to further their career in the Great White North.”
Canadians in the technology industry in Northern California benefit from the visas created by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump has said that NAFTA is a “disaster” that eliminates jobs and has threatened to withdraw if they do not give him what he wants.
“Without NAFTA, those (jobs) will go away. It could cause an immediate upheaval to the technological community”on both sides of the border,” said Daniel Ujczo, a lawyer specialising in foreign trade, who participates in the negotiations.
“Unfortunately, it’s not an issue we can discuss, Canada and Mexico continue to pose problems with worker mobility, but the United States refuses to discuss it.” he added.
Trudeau plans to meet with the presidents of eBay; Devin Wenig; Salesforce, Marc Benioff, and Amazon, Jeff Bezos.
Toronto is among the finalist cities for Amazon’s second headquarters.