Earlier this month, when Canada offered open work permits for those having a valid H-1B visa, there was a lot of buzz among the Indian H-1B community in the United States. Encouraged by the northern neighbor’s offer, a lot of work visa-holders and immigration experts are even contemplating a situation where Canada may offer permanent residency to those with approved Form I-140 in the US.
Form I-140, also known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is a form submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) by a prospective employer. Its purpose is to petition for the employment of an alien worker in the US on a permanent basis.
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Those who have been closely monitoring the immigration pathway to both the countries say that with a Canadian Open Work Permit, there is a legitimate hope for a reliable and faster pathway to obtain permanent residency in Canada. In comparison to it, the US immigration and route to a green card through H-1B seems like a long, tedious and shaky process.
“Canada’s open work permit offer clearly shows that Canada wants to attract big tech businesses and skilled workers to their country,” said Neal Sah, a software developer based in the Bay Area, who has been an active proponent of immigration reforms. “The filling up of the 10k quota within a 48-hour period instead of a year-long window shows the desperation with which Indian techies are seeking an alternative plan. Now, if Canada truly wants to strengthen its plan and gain the expertise of these professionals on their soil, they should seriously consider offering a residency program or permanent residency to those with an approved I-140.”
Dr. Raj Karnatak, an intensivist who works in critical care at a Wisconsin hospital, has been an immigration activist for many years. He believes that by inviting 10K H-1B holders to Canada, Canada stands to gain significantly, while the US may face losses.
Karnatak explained, “If you can keep your job and move to Canada, there is much more that goes with these 10k visas, including 10k skilled immigrants and their highly educated professional spouses, 10k jobs along with the jobs of their spouses, and at least 20k American jobs supported by these highly skilled immigrants. Additionally, this could result in 10k fewer houses sold in the US, 10k fewer cars sold in the US, 10k fewer people paying taxes, and 10k fewer law-abiding citizens. These are substantial resources.”
Many others say that while not everyone would want to move to Canada, given a situation where even with an approved I-140, one cannot secure a future for decades in the US, there will definitely be a significant number of people considering moving if Canada opens its doors for skilled immigrants.
“Canada definitely gets to gain by offering PR to I-140-approved immigrants,” said Girish Shah, a Seattle-based professional. “This move while bringing some stability in the lives of those in the green card backlog would also bring income tax of these professionals to Canada. The school-going kids of many of these professionals are excelling in academics and are the future young innovators for Canada.”
It may be noted that young adults (20-29 years old) comprise only 13 percent of the Canadian population and this younger population is definitely a positive for Canada.