Canada set to be next stop for In­dian techies

IN­DI­ANS ABROAD Un­like US, Canada’s path to per­ma­nent res­i­dency is smooth

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Punjab - Anirudh Bhat­tacharyya let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ ■

TORONTO:Amid con­tin­u­ing un­cer­tainty over the cov­eted H-1B work visa pro­gramme in the United States, tech tal­ent, par­tic­u­larly from In­dia, may be in­creas­ingly by­pass­ing it and head­ing north to Canada .

Ac­cord­ing to data pro­vided to HT by Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugees and Cit­i­zen­ship Canada (IRCC), the agency that is­sues work per­mits to for­eign­ers, it ap­proved 4,400 ap­pli­ca­tions un­til De­cem­ber 31 un­der the Global Skill Strat­egy pro­gramme it launched on June 12, 2017. The ini­tia­tive is aimed at at­tract­ing top pro­fes­sional and man­age­rial tal­ent from over­seas.

Of that num­ber, over a third were In­dian na­tion­als, mainly em­ployed in the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) sec­tor, mak­ing it the sin­gle largest source coun­try of for­eign em­ploy­ees ,nearly four times the sec­ond-largest—China.

“In the global race to at­tract the in­vest­ment of in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies, com­peti­tors in the Euro­pean Union as well as the US have con­sid­er­ably larger pools of tal­ent and labour to draw from than we do in Canada,” said Lind­say Wemp, a spokesper­son for the de­part­ment, in an email re­sponse to HT.

Re­stric­tions on for­eign work­ers, in line with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ‘Buy Amer­i­can, Hire Amer­i­can’ slo­gan, have cre­ated un­cer­tainty on the grant of H-1B non-im­mi­grant visas meant for tech pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing those from In­dian IT com­pa­nies that have over the years been the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the work visa pro­gramme. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion un­veiled mea­sures last month to ef­fec­tively tighten rules on the hir­ing of H-1B work­ers by US firms at third-party lo­ca­tions, HT re­ported on Fe­bru­ary 24.

US Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS), which is­sues over­seas work visas, said in a state­ment that H-1B pe­ti­tion­ers, or em­ploy­ers, will now have to “show by a pre­pon­der­ance of ev­i­dence” that the ben­e­fi­ciary will be em­ployed in a “spe­cial­ity oc­cu­pa­tion”.

Canada’s Global Skills Strat­egy aims to help in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies in Canada grow, flour­ish, and create more jobs for Cana­di­ans by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the faster en­try of top pro­fes­sional tal­ent.

Global Skills Strat­egy is aimed at at­tract­ing high-skilled work­ers and of­fers two-week pro­cess­ing of these tem­po­rary work per­mits. In some cat­e­gories where it is ap­pli­ca­ble, it also al­lows for a worker, once in Canada, to ap­ply for per­ma­nent res­i­dency, a process that typ­i­cally takes about a year. Among the top 10 oc­cu­pa­tion streams for the GSS are those pop­u­lated by In­dian techies, in­clud­ing com­puter an­a­lysts and con­sul­tants, in­ter­ac­tive me­dia pro­gram­mers and de­vel­op­ers, and soft­ware en­gi­neers.

Global Skills Strat­egy also found a men­tion in the joint state­ment is­sued by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his Cana­dian coun­ter­part Justin Trudeau, fol­low­ing their meet­ing in New Delhi last month dur­ing the course of the lat­ter’s visit to In­dia. “What we’re see­ing here is the move­ment of peo­ple who just didn’t feel com­fort­able be­cause of the anti-im­mi­grant sen­ti­ments in the US,” said Ravi Jain, a lead­ing im­mi­gra­tion lawyer in Toronto.

Jain, who prac­tises im­mi­gra­tion law with the firm Green and Spiegel, said an ad­di­tional at­trac­tion that Canada over the US was that many fam­i­lies re­quires two in­comes and in most cases, there were lim­i­ta­tions in Amer­ica on spouses work­ing if their part­ners were em­ployed on H-1Bs.

The path to per­ma­nent res­i­dency in Canada is de­fined, and with a points sys­tem, it can be a smooth process.

“It’s cer­tainly very com­pet­i­tive, rel­a­tive to the US,” Jain said, re­fer­ring to the mori­bund Green Card sys­tem in the US. While Global Skills Strat­egy is a pi­lot pro­gramme, for now, it seems to be of­fer­ing an­other vi­able, ef­fi­cient path­way for In­dian techies to Canada.

As Jain said, “There’s a lot faster pro­cess­ing for IT work­ers, for in­stance. It’s nearly in­stant. It’s a won­der­ful time to be prac­tis­ing im­mi­gra­tion law,” he said.


■ Canada’s Global Skills Strat­egy aims to help in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies in Canada grow, flour­ish, and create more jobs for Cana­di­ans by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the faster en­try of top pro­fes­sional tal­ent.

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