US tech companies relocating to Vancouver amid Trump travel ban

Feb 2 2017, 8:08 pm

A group of Canadian and American tech leaders have created an initiative to make it easier for US companies to relocate employees– specifically those impacted by Donald Trump’s recent travel ban – to Vancouver.

Michael Tippett, co-creator of True North, says that the program is a “total package that allows organizations to come up (to Vancouver) and set up a subsidiary of their US firm.”

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For $6,000 US companies can purchase a turn-key backup plan for H1-B holders working for American companies. Tippett said that

In the US, an H-1B is a non-immigrant visa allowing American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations.

Trump announced an executive order closing American borders to citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The ban is in effect for at least 90 days and also includes Green Card and US Visa holders hailing from the seven countries banned by Trump.

Trump’s ban has caused outrage and criticism at large and within the US tech industry, as it prevents talent and prospective employees from being allowed into the States.

Things (with the Trump administration) have moved faster than anyone had expected so we accelerated our efforts and basically in the last week we pulled everything together and launched the service on Monday,” said Tippett, who also feels that the travel ban has been confusing and chaotic. 

“I think the end result is that it has sent a lot of confusion and uncertainty into the (tech) business and that’s never a good thing,” Tippett said.

The $6,000 package from True North includes:

  • Airfare for one person to Vancouver, BC, and two nights accommodation
  • A meeting with world-class immigration professionals to guide employees through the immigration process
  • The security for employees to keep their current job with their current employer but have the option to work via a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary providing them alternative protective status in the event of changes to employment regulations in the US

Since True North has launched, Tippett says the response has been “overwhelming.”

“It’s caught a lot of attention all around the world, media around the world (and) we have thousands o f people coming to the website,” Tippett told Daily Hive.

Currently, True North is a side project for Tippett, as he is also the CEO of his company Wantoo. But with the immense interest in True North, he thinks it could grow into something bigger, adding other cities to the relocation plan. “The possibilities are really endless,” he said. “It really kind of depends on what conditions are set at the border.”