If the U.S. moves to limit all H1-B visa extensions at two three-year terms, Canada is likely to gain a large pool of skilled temporary foreign workers and several businesses through its liberal immigration policies.
The H1-B visa is an employment-based temporary work visa that enables American companies to recruit around 85,000 foreign workers to plug shortage of skilled workers in the country. This visa has a validity of three years extendable by another three years. Indians, especially those working in the IT sector, have virtually monopolized this visa with 70% of the annual limit going to Indian workers.
A blanket ban on H1-B extensions, including those waiting for their green card applications to be processed, will result in self-deportation of 500,000 to 750,000 Indian IT and non-IT workers, which may present a golden opportunity for Canada to step and profit from the disruption.
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Introduced in June 2017, the Global Talent Stream introduced by Canada promises to process 80% of all applications for Canada work permits, which currently stretches over several months, for eligible occupations within just ten days. Until 30th September, 2017, Canada processed entry of 2000 workers under the program, which is likely to rise as more Indian H1B visa holders in the US seek a more stable immigration environment.
Canada, which granted permanent residence to nearly 320,000 immigrants in 2017, is likely to receive immigrants from Chinese and French as well since these two nations trail India in the list of nations seeking most H1-B visas to the USA.
Interest in Canada among immigrants is likely to rise since the proposed changes impact a million H1B visa holders who have been residing in the USA for more than a decade. This pool of workers has spent most of their adult lives in America, and even have children who, by virtue of their birth in the USA, are American citizens.
Trump administration’s attempt to create jobs for Americans by getting hundreds of thousands of H1-B workers to leave has also contributed to a surge in Indian interest in the EB-5 visa program, an investment immigration program that offers a coveted green card against investment of $500,000 or $1 million in an existing or new American business.
Those who are unable to afford the expensive option of investment immigration or who prefer a safe haven are likely to explore opportunities in a country with immigrant-friendly policies, similarly high standard of living, and good education opportunities in Canada.