US is losing Indian talent to Canada


The United States has been the go-to country for many Indians for over five decades. The US has definitely gained more than it bargained by attracting some of the best talents India has produced in recent years.

However, this trend is slowly changing and many are looking to US’s friendly neighbor Canada. One of the key reasons is due to the country’s outdated immigration policies, particularly on H-1B visas, experts have told American lawmakers.

After the Chinese, Indians are the second-largest student community in the US at 1.93 lakh. Over the last couple of years, the number of students enrolling at US universities had declined at the back of stringent visa regulations under the Trump administration.

The US government’s move to do away with the Optional Practical Training, which provided international students the opportunity to work in the US, did not help matters.

In the last financial year (October 2019-September 2020), the US saw a 64 percent decline in student visas issued, a drop that can to a large extent, be attributed to COVID-19.

As per the Open Doors report by the Institute of International Education (IIE), Indian students in the US declined by close to 4.4 percent in FY19. This comes after the 25 percent jump in the number of Indians who took admission in American universities in FY 15 and FY16, pointed out a Mint report.

Besides this, the US has also been criticized for the massive backlog of green cards for Indians. Immigration and policy experts have testified before a panel of US lawmakers that the per-country quota on issuing green cards is driving Indian talent away from the United States.


Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee-Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, National Foundation for American Policy Stuart Anderson said the backlog is increasing and, within a decade, more than 20 lakh people will be waiting in line for the green cards and they might have to wait for years and decades.


Without Congressional action, the total backlog for all three employment-based categories (EB 1, EB 2, EB 3) for Indians would increase from an estimated 9,15,497 individuals currently to an estimated 21,95,795 individuals by fiscal 2030.


The Canadian government’s new call to aspirant immigrants, many hope to move soon. In 2019, Indians were the largest group by ‘country of origin’ to be granted express entry and other categories of skilled immigrant visas for Canada.


The Canadian government has set a target of welcoming a record 4,01,000 immigrants to the country this year, despite travel restrictions across the world due to the pandemic.


This has opened up new possibilities for a large number of Indians who wish to leave India and a large number are applying with hopes of immigrating to Canada.


Additionally, Canada is committed to increasing efficiencies in migration processing structures and systems, according to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).