Canadian Immigration: Frustrated US Temporary Workers Lured to Alberta, Canada

July 18, 2008

Canadian Immigration opportunities in Alberta could attract frustrated foreigners living and working in the US under the temporary H-1B visa. This comes as Alberta attempts to lure skilled immigrants up north.

The Unites States is in desperate need for skilled and talented professionals but difficult immigration rules and strict quotas have put people off. And Alberta, Canada aims to capitalise on these immigrants, many living and working in the US on the H-1B visa, by advertising how these workers can qualify for Canadian permanent residency via the Strategic Recruitment Stream pilot programme.

On the H-1B visa programme the holder is bound to their company of sponsorship for as long as the visa is still valid. This can be for up to six years if the one extension is utilised.

Many H-1B holders grow weary of the temporary nature of this visa, but they could end up waiting six years before they receive a "green card". This is as a result of strict quotas, that give just 140 000 people, including their families, visas for employment immigration.

Migrants on the H-1B scheme who want to remain in the US after this visa is complete depend on their employer once again to sponsor them for a permanent visa. This will however not be needed if you move to Alberta and join their 3.4 million population.

Alberta does not have enough workers to fill positions, with the number of shortages expected to reach as much as 110 000 in the next ten years. They therefore are targeting fed up US migrants highlighting Alberta's good schools, low unemployment rates, and a low crime level. They are therefore promising immigrants, streamlined, or fast tracked permanent residency in Canada.

Alberta government representatives at a gathering at the Westin Hotel in Philadelphia, USA told 300 immigrants about moving to Canada on the "immigrant nominee programme" if they have occupations deemed in demand such as medicine and IT. This option was met by great interest by the attendees.

Canada has already attracted skilled workers from the US when Microsoft employees moved to the Vancouver office last year.

US temporary workers are fed up and Canada is profiting from this through a mass recruitment scheme. This worries some who feel that the US will loose skilled workers, while others do not feel the threat and believe that those recruits that are needed will not be lost. This remains to be seen.

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