Experts say US losing high-skilled workers like Indians to Canada due to outdated immigration policy

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A man exits the transit area after clearing immigration and customs on arrival at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., September 24, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/Files

High-skilled and talented foreign nationals, like Indians, are now moving to Canada, instead of the United States, in large numbers, because of its outdated H-1B visa policy, immigration and policy experts have told US lawmakers.

High-skilled and talented foreign nationals, like Indians, are now moving to Canada, instead of the United States, in large numbers, because of its outdated H-1B visa policy, immigration and policy experts have told US lawmakers. This is mainly because of the per-country quota on issuing the employment-based green card or permanent residency, the experts said on Tuesday, urging Congress to act fast to prevent talent from countries like India, including students, from moving to Canada from the United States.

Without Congressional action, the total backlog for all three employment-based categories for Indians would increase from an estimated 915,497 individuals currently to an estimated 2,195,795 individuals by fiscal 2030, National Foundation for American Policy executive director Stuart Anderson said.

“We should let that number sink in: Within a decade, more than 2 million people will be waiting in line for years or even decades for employment-based green cards,” he submitted in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee-Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.

Anderson said that highly skilled foreign nationals, including international students, are choosing Canada over America.

“This has happened in response to how difficult it is to work in the United States in H-1B status or gain permanent residence, and the comparative ease of international students and foreign nationals working in temporary status and then acquiring permanent residence in Canada,” he said.

The number of international students from India enrolled in graduate-level computer science and engineering at US universities declined by more than 25 per cent between 2016-17 and 2018-19 academic years, according to an analysis of US government data by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

International students represent approximately 75 per cent of the full-time graduate students at US universities in computer science, and in the 2016-17 academic year, two-thirds of the international students at the graduate level in computer science at American universities were from India, PTI said in a report.

While fewer Indian students were coming to America, the number of Indian students attending Canadian universities rose from 76,075 in 2016 to 172,625 in 2018, an increase of 127 per cent, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Anderson said.

 

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