In recent years, U.S. immigration policy has repeatedly ignored the needs of its skilled and professional non-immigrant workforce and has instead burdened them with long waits for a green card, absurdly high query rates, and illogical consular delays. Nowhere is more apparent than in the case of H-1B Professional workers. An Indian-born software engineer currently faces a wait time of eleven (11) years to obtain employment-based third preference (EB-3) green card. In comparison, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill currently under negotiation in DC would provide millions of undocumented workers green cards in ten (10) years.
Just a month and a half after the U.S. turned away tens of thousands of specialized professionals (holding U.S. job offers) by refusing to increase its yearly H-1B quota levels, another nation has moved to reap the benefits of U.S. missteps.
Canada's aggressive new visa program is specifically designed to lure U.S.-based H-1B professional workers to the Great White North. To help spread the word, it recently secured a billboard just outside Silicon Valley which reads:
"H-1B problems? Pivot to Canada. New Start-Up Visa, Low Taxes"
San Jose Mercury News' Matt O'Brien has written an excellent article on point which includes an interview with Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who is quite blunt about the failings of U.S. immigration policy. Mr. O'Brien (who also interviewed me last year on H-1B visas) writes:
"As the U.S. Congress wrestles with a long-sought overhaul of America's immigration system, the Canadian government is trying to poach talented immigrants frustrated by U.S. visa policy. The campaign begins Friday with a four-day visit to the Bay Area by Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. 'I think everyone knows the American system is pretty dysfunctional,' Kenney said Thursday in an interview from Vancouver, B.C. "I'm going to the Bay Area to spread the message that Canada is open for business; we're open for newcomers. If they qualify, we'll give them the Canadian equivalent of a green card as soon as they arrive."
As I have previously stated, our national immigration policy should emphasize our immediate need: to retain and increase our advanced-degree-holding professionals so that the we can continue to compete internationally and maintain our lead in new technologies.