Little India: Overseas Indian, NRI, Asian Indian, Indian American

Indian Tech Workers Heading to Canada

Ottawa International Airport

Canada approved 4,400 applications until Dec. 31, 2017 under the Global Skill Strategy program that was launched on June 12 last year, according to data from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the agency that issues work permits to foreign nationals, the Hindustan Times reported. Over a third of these applications were from Indian nationals, employed mainly in the field of information technology (IT), making India the single largest source country of foreign employees, followed by China, the report added.

The Global Skills Strategy makes it easier for Canadian businesses to attract the talent they need to succeed in the global marketplace, a statement from the Government of Canada said when the initiative was launched last year.The initiative provides businesses in Canada a faster way to bring in global talent in order to scale-up and grow.

“In the global race to attract the investment of innovative companies, competitors in the European Union, as well as the United States, have considerably larger pools of talent and labor to draw from than we do in Canada,” Lindsay Wemp, a spokesperson for the department, said, according to the HT report.

The continuing ambiguity over United States’ H-1B visa program has led to many, including Indians, especially those who have expertise in IT, heading to Canada.

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) on Feb. 22 said that detailed documentation would be necessary to show that those given the visa for highly skilled people have specific assignments in a specialty occupation. They would also have to establish that the assignments will be for the entire period that they hold the visa for, making the process to seek H-1B visa more difficult.

Indian-origin tech leaders in Canada had earlier said that visa and travel restrictions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump will be beneficial for recruitment and investment in the tech sector in Canada. “This provides a great opportunity for the best talent from India to come, live and work in Canada,” Shafin Diamond Tejani, the CEO of Fantasy 360, a Vancouver-based company, was quoted as saying by IANS in an earlier report.

The Global Skills Strategy was introduced to attract top talent to work for Canadian companies. “The strategy features faster application processing times, work permit exemptions and enhanced customer service. It will give employers a faster and more predictable process for attracting top talent and new skills to Canada, creating economic growth and more middle-class jobs for Canadians,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada had earlier said in a statement.

The statement explained that as part of the strategy, high-skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis will be able to benefit from two-week processing of applications for work permits and temporary resident visas, when necessary. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependents will also be processed in two weeks when applicable.