The News & Observer Talks H-1B Emigration to Canada, Quotes Attorney Rishi Oza

In July 2023, Canada opened 10,000 H-1B worker visas to the United States. Despite the somewhat surprising announcement, all 10,000 application slots were claimed within 24 hours, including more than 400 claimed by North Carolina residents. Why?

The News & Observer talked to various immigration attorneys to learn more about the Canadian H-1B rush, including Brown Immigration Law Attorney Rishi Oza. He explained that the emigration opportunity created by Canada could actually prove to be a detriment to the U.S. because the Canadian government is mainly looking to fill empty seats in its tech industry. “We lose the simple sake of having really smart people that live in your community, and all the good things that come out of that,” explained Oza.

Altogether, 428 “high-skill” workers from North Carolina applied to receive one of the 10,000 H-1B visas nearly as soon as the program was announced. With their family members counted, 586 North Carolinians in total applied to move to Canada using the program.

The Canadian program was especially tempting to American tech workers because H-1B visas are not dependent on continued employment for a specific company. An H-1B visa holder can stay in the country without risk of deportation if they lose their job, even due to layoffs that have been somewhat common within the tech industry recently. Indeed, it is believed that many of the applicants were previously left jobless after widespread layoffs in the United States.

“The United States should take note of Canada’s flexible and opportunistic approach to attracting talent,” observed Attorney Oza. “H-1B workers are by definition working in a specialty occupation and so we lose these workers at our own collective peril. We need to take a smarter national approach.”

Easier Emigration for Indian Nationals

In The News & Observer article, it was pointed out that the Canadian H-1B visa program was particularly enticing to Indian nationals. Many of the applicants were Indian nationals, who could have been waiting for more than a decade on green card wait lists in the U.S. Canada, on the other hand, does not grant permanent residency based on an applicant’s nationality. Therefore, someone who had been waiting several years for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to even look at their green card application could be approved for a Canadian H-1B visa and move to the country for work in less than a year.

“The current immigration framework was written in the late 1990s,” says Attorney Oza. “Updates are badly needed to help the United States remain competitive in an ever-changjng world. As a country, we need to pursue creative approaches to providing highly skilled workers with a common sense pathway not only to come to America, but make America their home.”

Would you like to know more about Attorney Rishi Oza or the work we do at Brown Immigration Law? Do you need the help of our immigration attorneys? Call (888) 991-6221 to schedule an appointment—we can help immigration clients nationwide.

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