The TN visa, one of the most popular professional visas in the United States, will be a victim if President-elect Donald Trump rewrites the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), warn immigration experts in Washington.
According to Niskanen Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that advocates on public policy regarding immigration reforms, between 600,000 and 700,000 TN visa entries were made per year since 2012.
Technology workers from Mexico and Canada can also make use of H-1B visas, granted for highly skilled workers, but Trump is also likely to make this visa expensive and scarce.
During his presidential campaign, Trump has often claimed that many American employers used temporary visas to hire foreigners over American workers at lower wages. He never talked of scrapping the H-1B visa, but vowed to renegotiate NAFTA.
Rewriting NAFTA will boost the technology sector in Mexico and Canada at the expense of the Silicon Valley, warns Bloomberg BNA, adding that both neighboring countries are implementing initiatives to attract and retain tech talent within their borders.
Unlike H-1B visas, there’s no cap on TN visas. Moreover, they can be renewed indefinitely, and do not prescribe a wage limit. In addition, the TN visa is not limited to technology workers.
As Trump’s threats intensify, some tech professionals working in the United States are reportedly scrambling to obtain permanent residency while others are looking to move into Canada.
“The growing Canadian tech sector, which is struggling to find talent, is more than happy to welcome high-skilled workers from other countries,” says Bloomberg.
“Immigration reform is long overdue in the United States, but reforming enforcement mechanisms in isolation will not solve the myriad immigration problems we currently face,” says Niskanen Center, adding that Canadian and Mexican citizens “contribute a great deal to the United States’ economy.”