America’s Loss = Canada’s Gain

July 30th, 2008

The United States is fortunate. It attracts a seemingly endless supply of the best and brightest people from all parts of the globe as foreign guest workers. Most of these individuals enter on H-1B visas and all of them have a high-skilled job set aside for their arrival. These temporary workers include IT professionals, physical and social scientists, and engineers, to name but a few. They are the kind of human capital that most societies wish for.

You would think there is surely a way for H-1B visa holders to move from impermanent to permanent status and eventually to U.S. citizenship. You would be wrong. At the end of a maximum of six years, these valuable economic contributors are shown the door and told to leave. This of course, makes no sense, but whoever said that government policy is based on sound reasoning?

Canada is also fortunate. It lies next to the United States and is happy to provide a home for these unappreciated workers, who now have North American work experience. Until recently, H-1B visa holders were treated as any other applicant for Canadian Permanent Residency. That meant having to qualify under a sometimes lengthy process in the absence of a pre-arranged job.

But not anymore.

The province of Alberta, desperate for skilled labour, is rolling out the welcome mat for these H-1B holders. If you have a valid H-1B and have been working in the United States for at least a year in an occupation considered in demand in Alberta (of which there are over 100, by the way), Alberta will nominate you for Canadian Permanent Residency. No job offer required – just come on in. The job will follow.

“You can move here right away,” reads the Government of Alberta website. “Alberta has the strongest and fastest growing economy in Canada, giving you the security and stability you’ve been searching for. The air is clean, the sky is blue and the people are as friendly as you’ve heard.”

Fast-track Permanent Residency – minimal requirements – skilled foreign workers who have already proven that they are highly employable in North America. Now that makes sense.

So much sense, that we will likely see the other Canadian provinces follow suit and offer similar options through their own Provincial Nomination Programs. And until the United States smartens up and realizes what they’re missing out on, Canada is poised to welcome thousands of their skilled and experienced foreign workers.

Once in Canada, these workers will be encouraged to set up a home. Permanently.

More information about Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program H-1B category.

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