The US has always been where Indian techies wanted to be, given the work opportunity and a better quality of life.
Until a few years ago, immigrating to the US and getting the Green Card was a dream for Indian techies. However, the dream is becoming difficult to realise, thanks to the recent visa regulations.
Hard enough, that some of them are willing to move from one end of the world to the other — that is from Far West in Canada to the Far East (Japan) and everything in between.
Here’s what is happening. The US has always been where Indian techies wanted to be, given the work opportunity and a better quality of life. So, they have been the biggest beneficiaries of the H1-B route since the IT boom, with lakhs of techies living in the US.
But since 2017, the Trump administration has been making it tougher for Indians to get the H1-B visa, with rising rejections and request for more documentation during renewals. Adding to that is the long queue for the Green Card to go through.
So what can Indian techies, who are looking for better opportunities, do especially when some countries are rolling out a red carpet?
Take for instance Canada. Lot of Indian techies have been moving to Canada in the last couple of years, going as far as taking a pay cut. This is, in part, due to the Canadian government’s Global Skill Strategy (GSS) programme launched in 2017. The objective of the programme is to attract highly skilled workers from across the world and Indian techies have been among the biggest beneficiaries.
One such person is Vijay Raghavan, a techie and a startup founder, who recently got Canadian permanent residency and moved to Toronto with his family. He often travels to the US for work.
“I have a lot of clients in the US. But getting a Green Card there for my family is going to take ages. So I took the Canada route. This way I can be close to my clients and at the same time I am not worried about whether I will be able to stay another year here or not,” he added.
David S Lesparance, an immigration expert, explained that the Canadian option is attractive given that after a three-year naturalization period, the family can then apply for Canadian citizenship. “Once the Canadian citizenship (generally a one year process) is granted then they can move directly into the US under a TN Visa, which can be renewed endlessly,” he added.
Apart from Canada, Lesparance said that techies are also looking at other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, UK and European countries such as Germany, which are now opening up as the demand for tech workers increase.
An IT professional working in Belgium, pointed out that there are more openings for IT workers in the country as compared to couple of years back. This is resulting in lot of firms in the country recruiting outside Belgium, which was not the case earlier, as there is not enough local talent available in the country.
Interestingly, Ireland too is attracting a lot of Indians. In fact, as of August 2019, close to 2,000 Indians had applied for work visas in Ireland -- a 37 percent increase compared to 2018. Indians were granted the highest number of work visas by Ireland, in the last two years across the world.
On the other end of the spectrum is Japan. In recent times, Japan has slowly emerging as a favoured onsite destination for Indian engineers and IT companies. IT firms are favouring Japan enough to step up investments there and are even going as far as investing in Japanese language training and etiquette for their employees. Companies such as Wipro have invested in Japanese language to its employees.
First Published: IST