A study says that the US economy can significantly benefit if it attracts more workers in the global competition.
How the US can benefit
The study noted, “Research has shown that the H-1B visa category boosts US economic growth, creates jobs for American workers, and slows offshoring of high-paid jobs.
Extending work eligibility to the spouses of H-1B visa holders would help the United States garner more of the economic benefits that skilled foreign workers create.”
Risk of losing talent to Canada
It should also begin expanding the current rules on work eligibility for the spouses of H-1B visa holders.
According to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), US’ H-1B visa rules are more restrictive than Canada.
Under the current circumstances the US might start losing talented foreigners to Canada if changes in policies are not made.
The study put forward estimates of the number and characteristics of the spouses of skilled temporary foreign workers in the United States.
Most H-1B visa holders are married to another skilled professional.
However, only a fraction of their spouses are eligible to work.
“While this regulation has benefited many spouses, their families, and the US economy, it is much more restrictive than Canada’s rule, which grants work authorization to all spouses of skilled workers,” the NFAP added.
Under the current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation, the spouses of H1-B visa holders who are in the queue or on a permanent visa can apply to work while they wait for their green card.
What change is needed?
A change in this policy to allow all spouses of H-1B visa holders to work would have significant economic potential.
It typically takes 6-8 months for employment authorization to actually be granted after an application is submitted
This long and uncertain wait leads some H-4 spouses to find a job with an employer who will sponsor them for their own work visa, it added.
It’s simple: Let the spouse work
Canada has made itself an attractive destination for dual-professional couples by allowing spouses of skilled temporary work visa holders to work.
The US risks losing talented foreigners, particularly those married to other skilled professionals, to Canada.
This might already be happening.
Indians flocking to Canada more than ever
The number of Indians who became permanent residents in Canada increased by over 115% between 2016 and 2020 and 2021.
Further, the number of Indian students studying in Canada increased by 182% between 2016 and 2019.
During the same period there has been a decline in graduate-level programs in science and engineering at US universities.