The Seattle Times editorial board supports the efforts to strengthen the ties between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.
More collaboration between the region’s universities, smoother border crossings and improved transportation between the cities will benefit both Washington and British Columbia.
As the Times points out, Microsoft has led the efforts to fashion an innovation corridor between the two Pacific Northwest metros, which we initially wrote about here. The editorial points out the substantial regional benefits of cooperation.
Vancouver has long served as a way station for overseas talent that Microsoft needs but cannot directly hire in Redmond because the U.S. visa system has less flexibility than Canada’s.
Jobs lost overseas are a concern, but this situation is more about meeting the tech industry’s insatiable appetite for talent.
That appetite pushed Silicon Valley companies like Google and Facebook to expand in Seattle over the last decade. Now it’s pushing Microsoft, Amazon and others to open satellite offices in Vancouver. At the same time, Seattle tech companies are still trying to hire thousands — more than they will employ in Vancouver — at home in Seattle.
The thousands of great tech jobs are among the 740,000 new job openings forecast in Washington over the next five years — jobs that will typically be filled by workers with some college or a postsecondary credential.
As the Seattle Times concludes, the details of collaboration on issues like immigration, tax policy and cross border transportation will require thoughtful discussion. The editorial adds,
In the meantime, the need for improved connections between Seattle and Vancouver is as clear as our coastal air after a rainstorm.