Indian techs head to Canada as US uncertainty over H-1B visa continues

With Trump’s rhetoric over America first campaign undermining high tech Indian Americans’ prospects of continuing to work and contribute to the growth of the US economy appears uncertain, many Indian Americans are heading to Canada. Historically Indians have secured maximum number of H-1B visa allocated every year for high tech workers work on a temporary basis. With new restrictions on renewal and Green Card gateway and citizenship for these educated and high paying job holders becomes uncertain under the Trump administration, several Indian Americans have started looking towards Canada, which is more welcoming.

Computer programmers, systems analysts, and software engineers, are the top three categories of workers to benefit so far. The bulk come from India — the same country that makes up the majority of US H-1B visas issued — followed by China and France. Word is spreading throughout Canada. Biotech company Cyclica Inc is preparing to use the system for the first time to recruit an American.

As a candidate, Trump railed against the H-1B program. There are several regulatory and legislative efforts underway in the US to reduce abuse in the program and the number of applications being challenged has jumped. Applications to the annual lottery for visas dropped this year for the first time in five years, reflecting concerns about a more restrictive approach, though applications still exceed the 85,000 visas available through the lottery. To those who have watched Canada lose talent to the US over the years, the tables may be turning.

The H-1B program attracts foreign specialized workers to come to the United States for employment, many of them from India and China. Immigration, along with invasion, has been a universal phenomenon uniformly dotting the entire progression of life on earth, being neither evitable nor exclusive to humans. Some aspects of this multidimensional process could be open to spontaneous detection and spot analysis.

More than 100,000 H-4 visa holders continue to be in imminent danger of losing their hard-fought-for ability to work in the U.S., as the Trump administration considers whether it will respond by the deadline of Jan. 2 to a lawsuit which seeks to rescind their employment authorization. The administration has asked for several abeyances as it considers its position on the suit, initiated in 2016 by Save Jobs USA. In its lawsuit, the organization contends that allowing H-4 visa holders to work creates unemployment for American workers.

“There is, of course, no evidence that the H-4 EAD program depresses wages or employment opportunities for U.S. workers,” said prominent immigration attorney Sheela Murthy in a blog post. “But, the Administration has maintained that, contrary to the reams of studies that show the positive impact foreign national workers have on the U.S. economy, their presence is a threat to American workers,” said the Indian American attorney.

H-4 visas are allotted to the spouses of H-1B visa holders. The vast majority of H-4 visa holders are Indian women, many of whom have skills comparable to their spouses. In May 2015, former President Barack Obama authorized work permits for H-4 visa holders whose spouses were on track for permanent residency. From October 2015 to September 2016, 41,526 people received authorization to work under the program. Complete figures for the most recent fiscal year, which ended in September, are not yet available, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Separately, The National Law Review reported Nov. 21 that the Trump administration is circulation a draft regulation to end the H-4 EAD program. The publication noted that a new regulation would have to go the Notice-and-Comment period – to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act – before it is adopted, likely sometime in 2018.

In April, three months after he took office, Trump issued an executive order – “Buy American and Hire American” – which, in part, prioritizes American workers and seeks to impose stricter standards on employment-based visas.

Canada’s fast-track visa program is just one part of Trudeau’s drive to boost innovation. The government is also pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into venture capital and support for artificial intelligence, joining private money investing in the country’s tech hubs in Waterloo and Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver and Montreal.

Canadian PM Trudeau’s new Global Skills Strategy is taking off. The Brazilian joins 2,000 other workers who entered Canada under the program from its start on June 12 to September 30, according to government data.

According to reports, ThinkData Works Inc., a big-data processing firm, just hired a software engineer from Brazil through Canada’s new fast-track visa program for high-skilled workers. “The process was bang on,” Bryan Smith, chief executive officer of the Toronto-based company, said. It took less than the government’s target of 10 business days to process the recruit’s application. Previously it could take several months. “If the government says two weeks and it actually is, that will create a whole new process around it.”

“It’s more successful than we predicted,” Canada’s immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said. “This program came from the business community. They identified a challenge and said you need to fix it.” Those who are fast-tracked can apply to stay as long as three years and also for permanent residency.

Two thousand people may be a small sliver when compared with the 320,000 newcomers Canada welcomed last year. “It sounds like a drop in the bucket,” says Daniel Mandelbaum of immigration firm Mamann Sandaluk & Kingwell LLP. “The idea is this is two thousand of the best and brightest.”

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