THE STORY: Days before marijuana is set to be legalized in Canada, the U.S. reversed a decision that would have possibly banned workers in the Canadian marijuana industry from entering the U.S.
THE CONTEXT: In June, Canada became the second nation in the world to pass legislation that would legalize and create a market for marijuana. The country is set to officially legalize cannabis on October 17th, creating what is expected to be a billion-dollar industry. But alarm bells went off in September when U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that people working in the Canadian marijuana industry could be turned away at the U.S. border. The restrictions would have likely not only applied to workers at the heart of the Canadian cannabis industry, but also to individuals involved in it peripherally, like government employees facilitating the legalization process. Then, on Tuesday, the CBP did an about face, stating, “a Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S.”
WHAT’S NEXT: While the CBP’s new position will generally allow Canadians in the marijuana industry to enter the U.S., there are still a number of restrictions that will have an effect on travel and immigration to America. For example, if someone from Canada is coming to the U.S. for anything related to the marijuana industry, even if it is occurring in a U.S. state where marijuana is legal, they could be deemed inadmissible. It remains to be seen if the CBP will loosen its policies as more and more U.S. states legalize marijuana.
THE STORY: The Department of Homeland Security could change the way the H-1B visa lottery works by prioritizing higher paid workers and shutting out companies that outsource H-1B workers.
THE CONTEXT: As part of a broader push to reshape the way H-1B visas work in the U.S., the DHS is considering altering the H-1B visa lottery. Currently, due to an outsized demand for H-1B visas, a lottery randomly selects visa recipients. But a proposed rule could set new parameters for the lottery by excluding certain companies that outsource foreign workers to other U.S. companies. The new parameters could also mean giving preference to foreign workers with higher salaries, something that President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order called for in 2017. Prioritizing H-1B applicants with higher salaries could have drawbacks, such as excluding people from lower-paid professions like education and social work.
WHAT’S NEXT: It’s unclear when the DHS intends to make this proposal an official rule, but given that it adheres closely to Trump’s 2017 executive order, it’s likely it will see the light of day.
THE STORY: Broad changes to the U.S. visa system may be making it harder for the U.S. to attract top global talent.
THE CONTEXT: A new book from Harvard Business School professor William R. Kerr, The Gift of Global Talent, suggests that the U.S. may be becoming less of a destination for global talent. For one, Kerr believes that the Trump administration’s changes to the visa system, such as pausing expedited processing and increased scrutiny on applications, could be deterring highly-skilled immigrants from trying to work in the U.S. But beyond that, Kerr thinks the negative rhetoric surrounding highly-skilled immigration could be an even bigger issue.
WHAT’S NEXT: Kerr suggests that in order for the U.S. to retain its standing as a top destination for talented workers from around the world, it needs to change the conversation around foreign workers and highlight the level of opportunity available in America. As other countries like Canada make it easier for certain highly skilled workers to secure work visas, the onus will be on the U.S. to show it is serious about attracting global talent.
Read an interview with the author, William R. Kerr, in this piece from the Harvard Business School.