H1B un­cer­tainty drives In­dian IT tal­ent to Canada

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - Anirudh Bhat­tacharyya anirudh.bhat­tacharyya@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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.

“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.

Re­stric­tions on for­eign work­ers 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”.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Canada’s global skills strat­egy aims to help in­no­va­tive com­pa­nies by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the faster en­try of top pro­fes­sional tal­ent.

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