The Canadian government’s recent decision to tweak certain visa rules has come as a boon for numerous techies from the country, including those from the northern region.
Last week, on June 27, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, had announced the creation of an open work permit stream, which would enable 10,000 American H-1B visa holders to work in Canada. The official release from Canada’s Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship also stated that the program would extend study or work permits to family members of H-1B visa holders.
H-1B visas allow foreign nationals to work temporarily in the US, primarily in specialised occupations within the technology sector.
Experts have lauded the Canadian government’s move, noting that a considerable number of Indian H-1B visa holders presently working in the US can use the new visa rules to settle permanently in Canada. They said that though individual often work in the US on the H-1B visa for several years, obtaining permanent residency (PR) in that country can be a lengthy process. Canada will now offer such visa holders a viable alternative.
“One of my students initially went to the US for studies, acquired an H-1B visa, and worked there for several years for a prominent company. However, in order to obtain a green card, he had to marry a Indo-American citizen as getting Permanent Residency (PR) in the US is a tough process with significant hurdles,” explained an overseas educational consultant from the Doaba region. The consultant added that with Canada’s new policy now, such visa holders would be inclined to shift to Canada on a work permit and become eligible for PR in due course.
“Tech companies significantly increased their hiring during the pandemic, but have now started to lay off employees in large numbers. This has left many H-1B visa holders struggling to find new jobs. With the new program, they will now be able to work for almost any employer in Canada. Additionally, their spouses and dependents will also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, along with a work or study permit, as required,” stated the consultant.
Contacted about the move, Rakesh Kumar, a US-based techie said, “I have been working in a major US company for the past five years. But I see no chances of obtaining PR of that country. I would prefer to relocate to Canada, especially since our company also operates from there. It would provide me with an opportunity to become eligible for PR after a certain period of time.”
Rakesh, who is based in Ohio but hails from Jalandhar, added that the move would also help in settling his family specially his kids in Canada. “I have yet to review the specific criteria, but I am hopeful that I will be eligible under this program,” Rakesh said.
Another US-based techie, Amit Khurana, mentioned that several of his colleagues faced difficulties after being laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some, he claimed, even resorted to taking up low-paying jobs. However, this opportunity now has come as a ray of hope for them, who he said didn’t lack experience or qualification.
“We have spent several years here in the US, yet there is no word about our PR status. For people who want to come work in the US in the future, this will be a great opportunity. They can gain experience in Canda as well as become eligible for getting a PR there as they do so,” Khurana, who originally hails from Chandigarh, said.
Gurpreet Singh, an overseas consultant based in Kapurthala, too, highlighted that the new visa policies introduced by the Canadian government would likely to attract a significant number of Indian techies and H-1B visa holders to the country, providing them with a viable alternative and better prospects for their future.