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Canadian Immigration Policy Attracting Tech Talent Sends Message to U.S., Legal Experts Warn!

A new Canadian program aiming to attract American tech workers is catching the eye of U.S. immigration experts, who view it as a cautionary signal for immigration officials and policymakers in the United States.

Successful Launch and Rapid Fulfillment

Recently, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada introduced an application portal for immigrants in the U.S. with H1-B visas, which allow tech industry employment. This initiative invites them to apply for three-year open work permits in Canada. The response was swift, with the program reaching its maximum 10,000 applicants within a mere two days.

A Smart Move by Canada!

Sharvari Dalal-Dheini, from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, commends Canada’s strategic approach. She suggests that Canada recognized the need to harness its own economy and provide opportunities to underutilized workers not optimally utilized by the U.S.

Issues with the U.S. H1-B Visas

Around 600,000 immigrants in the U.S. hold H1-B visas, which have a direct tie to employment. However, these visas are criticized for offering inadequate pathways to permanent residency. If an H1-B holder loses their job, they are required to leave the country within 60 days unless they secure new employment in that timeframe.

Lack of Immigration Reform in the U.S.

Dhalal-Deini highlights that immigration advocates in the U.S. have long been advocating for immigration system reform, yet political deadlock has hindered progress. She notes that immigration reform has become a contentious issue due to partisan debates surrounding undocumented migration from Mexico.

Raising Awareness of Better Policies

Canadian immigration policies highlight the existence of countries that prioritize science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Immigration lawyer Ashwin Sharma believes this could prompt the U.S. to reevaluate its approach.

Potential Impacts on Canadian Workforce + Canada’s Advantageous Approach

Sharma acknowledges that the open work permit system in Canada and higher salaries in U.S. tech industries might attract short-term applicants. The longevity of their stay in Canada remains uncertain.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser underscores Canada’s unique opportunities, including the chance for tech workers on work permits to transition to permanent residency. He reveals plans to monitor the program’s outcomes before considering expansion, aligning with Canada’s “digital nomad” strategy.

Future Expectations and Relations

Fraser anticipates the arrival of the first applicants in Canada during the summer or fall. However, there’s been no communication from U.S. immigration officials about the program so far.

Despite the program’s success, glitches in the Canadian online portal prompted criticism. Fraser assures that these issues will be addressed if the program is relaunched.

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