Here’s another version “Dear Sophie,” advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working in technology companies.
“Your questions are vital to the dissemination of knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above boundaries and pursue their dreams,” says Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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I handle people ops as a consultant at several different tech startups. Many people have employees on OPT or STEM OPT who weren’t selected in this year’s H-1B lottery.
Companies want to retain these individuals, but they don’t have a choice. Some companies will try again in next year’s H-1B lottery, even if they face longer odds, especially if the H-1B lottery becomes a pay-based selection process next year.
Others are looking for an O-1A visa, but find that many employees do not yet have the experience to meet the qualifications. Should we look at Canada?
— Silicon Valley experts
That’s what we’re all doing – finding creative immigration solutions to help American employers attract and retain international talent and help international talent reach their dreams of living and working in the United States.
I’ve written a lot about how US tech startups can keep their international team members in the United States. One strategy is to help startup employees become eligible for O-1As. The second is to get unlimited H-1B visas without a lottery through non-profit programs affiliated with universities. Sometimes candidates return to school for master’s degrees that offer a work option called CPT, or Curriculum Practical Training.
But sometimes, companies decide to relocate some of their international talent to Canada to work remotely. Recently, Mark Pavlopoulos and I discussed how to help American employers and international talent on my podcast. Through his two companies, Syndicus and Path to Canada, Pavlopoulos helps both American tech employers and international tech talent when their employees or they themselves run out of immigration options in the United States. He often assists US tech employers when their current or future employees are not selected in the H-1B lottery.
Through Syndisus, a Canada-based remote employer — also known as a Professional Employment Organization (PEO) — Pavlopoulos helps American employers retain international tech workers who no longer have visa or green card options. Which would enable them to live in the United States or those who were born in India and have been fed up with decades of waiting for American green cards. US employers that do not have offices in Canada can relocate these workers to Canada with the help of Syndisus, which employs these technical workers on behalf of a US company, sponsoring them for Canada’s Global Talent Stream work visa is.
Syndisus also helps US tech startups without a Canadian presence find Canadian tech workers and hire them on behalf of startups. As an employer of record, Syndesus handles any issues related to payroll, human resources, health care, stock options and Canadian employment law.
Pavlopoulos’s other company, Path to Canada, focuses on connecting international engineers and other technical talent currently working in the US – including those who have expired OPT or STEM OPT – who are not in the US. Can reside in Canada, find employment in either the Canadian company or the Canadian office of a US company. These employees get Global Talent Stream work visa and eventually permanent residency in Canada. Pavlooulos intends to expand Path to Canada to help tech talent from around the world live and work in Canada.