Immigrants from India Shifting to Canada as U.S. Raises Barriers to Legal Immigration

A recent Forbes article analyzing U.S. and Canadian immigration data indicates that international students and professional level immigrants from India are turning their sights to Canada, as the U.S. continues to raise barriers and delays to Indians trying to come to the U.S. to study or to live permanently.

In addition to the factors cited in the article that are reducing the attractiveness of the U.S. as a destination for professional level Indian immigrants is the administration’s intention to revoke a rule allowing wait-listed to immigrate H-1B visa holders’ spouses to get work permits so that they don’t have to put their own careers on hold during the decades Indian H-1B visa holders and their spouses will be waiting. The administration has long signaled its intention to revoke the work permit rule, as we’ve discussed previously, and may issue a proposed rule to that effect in March 2020, according to its Fall 2019 regulatory agenda.

The Forbes article points to Indian immigrants and international students more than doubling in Canada from 2016 to 2018, while their numbers have fallen in the U.S. during the same period, and explains several  contributing factors.  The takeaway:

New restrictions on H-1B visas and international students, combined with long waits for employment-based green cards, make America a less attractive destination than Canada for many high-skilled immigrants and their employers. Based on current trends, the situation is likely to grow worse for U.S. companies seeking to attract talent to America.

In addition, the administration’s trend since 2017 to cut all levels of legal immigration to the country, through dramatically lowered caps on refugee admissions, travel bans, reductions in immigration by members of the immediate families of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, among other measures, does not bode well for the U.S.’s ability to shore up an aging and shrinking workforce, and for the U.S. economy long-term.