The United States recently suspended its H-1B visa and other work permit visas on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic till the end of 2020. With this, it has become impossible to hire immigrants on these visas now, which is leading to many companies relocating to Canada instead. One of the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa has been Indian software engineers and employees, and there has been a sharp rise in the number of applications that have been going to Canadian recruiters ever since the ban was put in place. Even when the visa was allowed, the residency rules and the time taken for the visa to be granted made it an unpleasant experience, and so with the ban now, it is no surprise to see the shift towards Canada. NorthOne, an American bank, had to move all their workers on H-1B visas to their Canadian office to allow them to keep working at the company. Many Silicon Valley firms have also opened Canadian branches or offices to allow them to hire foreign nationals if needed.

Canada has seen a lot of growth in terms of new businesses and startups in the last few years, and a large part of this is down to the 2019 Digital Charter.  The Charter states that the Canadian government will assist businesses in adopting digital technology, and will help develop skills which will be essential in a digital economy. Canada also recently recognized cryptocurrency firms as Money Service Businesses (MSB). The two industries which have benefited the most from these policies are the ecommerce and iGaming industries. Some of the websites providing the best internet casino games in Canada, with the government having made it very easy for traditional casino operators to go online and capture an all-new market. At the same time, the decision to allow online casino operators to use cryptocurrencies for payments and withdrawals greatly increased their popularity as well.

Canada is showing how technology can lead an economic recovery in these uncertain times. We have seen how tech companies such as Amazon, Zoom and Facebook are all doing well despite the struggles of the wider world. However, tech startups are struggling at the moment. Investors are unwilling to make long-term commitments due to uncertainty, and so they may need support from governments. Start-ups are vitally important to any economy, as they create high-quality jobs and fulfil needs in the market. Thus, it is essential that start-ups, especially tech start-ups, are given all the help they need to survive this pandemic.

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