H1B Visa effect: Indians opting for Canadian Citizenship after US slams its doors

Mumbai: While United States president Trump is imposing strict regulations on visas and immigration to keep Indians away from the country, Canada has opened its doors to immigrants with nearly 50 percent of migrated Indians applying for Canadian Citizenship after living for a specified duration and obtaining PR.

Canadian authorities have recently shared some statistics on the immigration and Canadian citizenship upon TOI’s request.

According to the data during the 10-month period ending October 2018, nearly 15,000-odd Indians obtained citizenship when compared to 2017 this is a steep rise of 50%.

The Philippines remains the first to claim Citizenship followed by India.

As many as 15,600 Filipinos applied for Canadian citizenship during this ten-month period.

Nearly 1.39 lakh permanent residents became Canadian citizens in the 10 months ended October 30; where Indians share was nearly 11%.

However, these are just preliminary figures and final statistics are estimated to be much higher which are unlikely to cross the 2015 record of 28,000 Indians opting for Canadian Citizenship.

“Since Oct 2017, it has become easier to qualify to apply for Canadian citizenship. In particular, the time period for which a permanent resident must be physically present in Canada before applying for citizenship has reduced. As compared to a 4-year residency requirement out of 6 years, now a permanent resident needs to be physically present in Canada for 3 out of five years,” said Ontario-based Talha Mohani, immigration law specialist and managing director at Migration Bureau Corp.

Citizenship in the country grants PR holders more benefits such as greater mobility, eligibility to work in the government sector, and also the right to vote.

David Nachman, managing attorney at NPZ Law Group, explains the important facet of mobility, “A Canadian passport (citizenship) also facilitates individuals to apply for a Trade National (TN) visa to enter and work in the US.”

While this is similar to the H-1B work visa it is not subject to the annual cap and is easier to obtain he added.

India emerged out to be the top source country for permanent residents with 51,000 Indians being admitted as permanent residents in 2017 alone.

According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the federal department which facilitates the arrival of immigrants to Canada, after the changes in the regulations were made, during the nine-month period from October 2017 to June 2018, it received 2.42 lakh applications for citizenship.

One Canadian PR holder who has to commute from Canada to US on daily basis said “The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, and my daily commute is not regarded as my having abandoned permanent residence in Canada. I will, however, have to prove that I returned to Canada each day and cross-border tax implications have to be dealt with.”

In 2017 alone as many as 51,651 Indians (or 18% of the total) have been admitted as permanent residents (PR) emerging as the topmost source country.