US Tightens H-1B Visa Rules, More Indians Attain Canadian Citizenship

The period from January to October 2018 witnessed a 50% increase in the number of Indians granted Canadian citizenship, in comparison to 2017 statistics. More than 15,000 Indians attained citizenship in Canada within this 10 month period – compared to 9,992 citizenships in 2017. Around 11% of the 139,000 permanent residents who became Canadian citizens within this time span were Indians. The only country to surpass this number was Philippines, which contributed around 15,642 new entrants – an 11% increase from the previous year. In 2017, India offered the highest number of permanent residents to Canada (51,000), followed by Philippines (40,857) and China (30,270).

This trend is in response to the Trump administration’s stringent regulations for the H-1B visa, a pathway which allows US employers to temporarily hire skilled overseas workers. Most recently, the US government has imposed restrictions on the employability of spouses of H-1B visa holders, proposed a hike in the visa application fee, and increased issuance of Requests for Evidence. Since 2016, the rate of approval of H-1B visas has been steadily declining.

Another factor for the increase in Canadian citizenships is the reduction of the minimum time period for which a permanent resident is required to reside in Canada, before becoming eligible for citizenship. Previously, Canada PR visa holders were obligated to live in Canada for at least four out of six years before applying for citizenship. As of 11th October 2017, this period was reduced to three out of five years.

For prospective immigrants seeking job opportunities abroad, emigrating to Canada could be a more viable option than applying for the H-1B visa. As per the 2016 Census, 21.9% of Canada’s population is comprised of immigrants. Between 2018 and 2021, Canada immigration authorities plan to invite 1,000,000 eligible aspirants to the country. The Canadian economy is powered by immigrants, who pursue a broad range of career options to fulfil the country’s labour market requirements.

In turn, Canada provides government-sponsored healthcare and unemployment benefits, free public schooling and subsidised university education, as well as an array of social benefits to permanent residents – who may eventually access the full privileges of Canadian citizenship.

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