US Could Lose Talented H-1B Visa Holders to Canada, Study Reveals

Authorities in the United States risk losing talented internationals, especially those married to other skilled professionals to Canada which gives them work authorization to spouses of skilled international workers.

However, giving employment authorisation to spouses of H-1B visa holders would lead more skilled migrants to choose the United States over Canada.

Such conclusions have been reached through a recent study provided by National Foundation for American Policy, VisaGuide.World reports.

“The United States 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 revealed.

It was reported that the number of Indian nationals who became permanent residents in Canada rose by more than 115 per cent for a period between 2016 and 2021.

Back in 2015, the then President of the US Barack Obama permitted the spouses of holders of H-1B visas to work in the United States through the H4 visa dedicated to spouses as well as unmarried children under 21 who accompany H-1B, H-2A and H-2B visa holders.

According to a recent report by Business Standard, the spouses of those who hold the US H-1B visa are more likely to be highly educated, the majority of them in STEM fields, while previously they had careers of their own or worked in order 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,” the author of the study, Madeline Zavodny pointed out in this regard.

She added that about 90 per cent of the spouses of H-1B visa holders have at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as over have a graduate degree, taking into account the American Community Survey data for a period from 2017 and 2019.

“Almost half of the spouses of likely H-1B visa holders who have a bachelor’s degree had a STEM-related major. Among spouses of likely H-1B visa holders who are employed, 42 per cent are working in a STEM field,” she noted.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation published in 2015 permits spouses who hold an H4 visa to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). At present, H4 spouses can apply for an EAD after their H-1B spouses are in the queue for a permanent visa.

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