Lawyers argue that the United States should heed Canada's immigration policy that attracts tech workers

A Canadian immigration program aimed at attracting American tech workers north of the border has attracted 10,000 applicants within 48 hours. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada opened an application portal for immigrants in the US who hold H1-B visas that allow them to work in the tech industry there. The program was designed to draw these visa holders to Canada on three-year open work permits. It worked, reaching its 10,000-applicant cap within two days. The program was designed to fill in the US economy and available workers who are not being properly used by the US. Up to 600,000 immigrants in the US may hold H1-B visas, which are directly tied to employment and immigration advocates there say they provide poor pathways to permanent residency. An H1-B holder in the US who loses their job would have to leave the country within 60 days unless they find new employment within that time period. Immigration advocates in the US have been asking for reform of the immigration system for years, but lawmakers are stuck in a political deadlock over the issue. Immigration lawyer Ashwin Sharma of the Sharma Law Office in Jacksonville, Fla. believes that the U.S. will start doing the same. However, the open nature of the Canadian work permit and higher salaries generally on offer in U.S. tech industries may mean that not all applicants are looking to move to Canada on a long-term basis. It remains to be seen how many will remain in Canada. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said Canada has other advantages that make up for lower salaries. "Tech workers who are here on a work permit have a unique opportunity to transition to permanent residency," he said. He said his department would follow up on the application process over the next few months before deciding whether it would expand this policy or others. The first applicants are expected to arrive in Canada this summer or fall.


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