NOVEMBER 4, 2022
The United States is likely to lose talented foreigners, particularly those married to other skilled professionals, to Canada, according to a study.
Neighboring Canada, which grants work authorization to spouses of all skilled foreign workers, has become a favorite among migrants, especially from India.
The study, however, claimed that the US economy can reap significant benefits and attract more workers in the global competition if it starts expanding the current rules on work eligibility for the spouses of H-1B visa holders.
By granting work authorization to all spouses of H-1B visa holders, the United States can encourage more skilled migrants, including Indians, to choose the US over Canada, the study by National Foundation for American Policy revealed.
“The US can reap significant economic benefits, ease labour shortages, and attract more workers in the global competition for talent if it expanded current rules on work eligibility for the spouses of H-1B visa holders,” the study, authored by Madeline Zavodny, said.
The number of Indians who became permanent residents in Canada increased by over 115 per cent between 2016 and 2020 and 2021.
H4 visas are issued to dependent spouses and children who accompany H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to the US.
The spouses of H-1B visa holders tend to be highly educated, many of them in STEM fields, and previously had careers of their own or worked to support their families.
“Allowing the spouses of H-1B visa holders to work upon arrival would help recruit and retain skilled workers and increase the already-considerable economic benefits of the H-1B visa category,” Zavodny said.
She estimates that almost 90 per cent of the spouses of H-1B visa holders have at least a bachelor’s degree, and over half have a graduate degree, based on American Community Survey data (2017-2019).
Out of these 90 per cent of spouses, two-thirds are from India and 6 per cent are from China.