bigstock-Passports-31148November 19, 2009

Despite Canada and the US having a relationship spanning more then two centuries and sharing one of the most successful international relationships, Canada is clearly capitalizing on our failed immigration policies.

On November 28, 2008, the Canadian Government introduced major changes to the Economic Class permanent immigrant category. The Economic Class now includes a Provincial Nominee Program. To qualify for a permanent residence in Canada under the Alberta Provincial Nominee program, U.S. H-1B holders need NOT have a job offer in Canada to obtain residency. The applicant must only be working in the US for one year under the valid non-immigration visa, and must have one year working experience in “a major high demand occupations”. Recent advertisements in major newspapers in the US, goes like: “Alberta, Canada Welcomes H-1B Visa Holders and Their Families. Work Here. Live Here”.

This is like a boon to all US H-1B visa holders who have to wait for more than 6 years to get that elusive green card and the security it brings. Why should they live in insecurity in the US, when Canada is offering a better solution? H-1B visa holders in the US are increasingly tired of their temporary status, where their future hangs in the balance as politician argue.

Policy makers have fought over the H-1B cap for years. Some Senators continue to harass and shame top users of the program and calling the program “a job-killer in America.” H-1B holders feel unwanted and unwelcome in the US and for a good reason.

According to Maclean’s, a Canadian weekly news magazine, from during the last ten years, the number of skilled workers coming from the US into Canada has more then doubled.

Because of the current restrictive H-1Bvisa cap, Microsoft opened a Development Centre in Canada. This has been a boost for the Canadian Economy. While we debate our H-1B visa program, Canada is capitalizing on this pool of some of the brightest and talented professionals. Reform is needed to avoid irreparable damage to our world competitive edge. We must welcome and protect H-1B holders.