Nearshore Americas

Spooked by H1B Visa Changes, Indian Tech Workers Head for Canada

Indian tech professionals are heading for Canada, as the US tightens the H1B visa program, throwing more hurdles in the path of technology companies looking for high-skilled foreign talent.

Indian IT workers made up more than 35% of the 4,400 professionals seeking a Canadian visa under the country’s Global Skill Strategy program, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

There are also reports that several Indian H1B visa holders already working in the United States are thinking about going north, under fear of becoming victims of hate crimes.

Since coming into office, Trump has been making life harder for skilled foreigners working in the US.

To begin with, he temporarily suspended premium processing of H1B visas, which extended the time gap for obtaining the visa. This preceded a spike in visa processing fees and an increased minimum salary requirement for applicants.

As a result, there was a sharp decrease in Indian students enrolling in US universities in 2017 compared to 2016, and the homecoming of US-based Indians has spiked.

On the other hand, Canada is becoming friendlier for Indian IT professionals.

Last year, the country agreed to speed up visa processing for people with technology skills. Today, an Indian IT professional can obtain a Canadian work visa in just two weeks. By comparison, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes between six and seven months, or longer, to approve the H1B visa.

In addition, Indian IT services firms are expanding operations in Canada. Tech Mahindra, for example, has set aside US$76 million for investing in Canada over the next five years.

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Furthermore, Indian technology startups are increasingly forging alliances with their Canadian counterparts, agreeing to develop solutions in emerging technologies together.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.


  • Well, this year another 85000 H1Bs got in. These guys who are leaving are just losers and failures who just didn’t have what it took to succeed. Pretty soon Canada will see that they are just picking up the dregs from India and close that program too.