Key elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal with temporary labor mobility, and should ideally make the temporary movement of professionals easier across the border of all NAFTA countries. However, this is arguably not the case in emerging sectors such as high technology. Dr. Richardson's book, Knowledge Borders: Temporary Labor Mobility and the Canada-US Border Region, examines these issues within the context of recent literature on cross-border trade, economic clusters, and international labor mobility. She will discuss the dynamics of transitory immigration of knowledge workers along the North American west coast, focusing on Vancouver, Seattle, and the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area.
With particular attention given to the experiences and strategies of the high-tech firms that must move highly skilled workers across the CanadaUS border, Knowledge Borders draws from 80 in-depth interviews with Canadian and US immigration officials, immigration attorneys and executives and professional staff of new technology firms and Fortune 500 companies. It develops and presents new models towards the development of an innovation cross-border region, and recommends new policy approaches. Ultimately, it explores whether or not the CanadaUS border is an impediment to the development of cross-border high-tech clusters.
Kathrine E. Richardson is an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at San José State University. Her research specializes in the mobility and retention of the internationally highly skilled, and how these professionals influence the growth and change of urban systems. She graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2006 with a Ph.D. in geography, and did a post-doc at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. In addition to teaching, Dr. Richardson is currently working on her second book.