Indian job-seekers are increasingly looking to Canada — and it’s likely due to tightening U.S. work visa requirements. That’s according to a new report from job search engine Indeed.
The report found that in August 2016, six per cent of all searches originating in India for jobs outside the country were for jobs in Canada. By July 2018, that number had more than doubled to 13 per cent.
“At the same time, the U.S. has lost a sizable share of outbound searches from the world’s second-most populous country,” the report said.
Indeed economist Brendon Bernard explained to Global News that America’s changing tone on immigration and work visas is likely why it has seen a 10 per cent drop in searches from India in the same time period.
He noted that the US H-1B visa program typically attracts high-skills workers from India, specifically in fields such as science, engineering and information technology. In 2017, three-quarters of H-1B visa applicants were from India.
However, since U.S. President Donald Trump has taken office, the process for applying has become longer and requires more paperwork.
“That’s why [it’s] not surprising that India would see the greatest shift in job searches,” Bernard explained, adding similar changes have been seen in other countries but not to the same extent.
He noted workers from India are searching on Indeed for high-skilled jobs in Canada — ones that fall under the American H-1B visa.
Some of the most commonly searched jobs included business analyst, mechanical engineer, software developer and project manager.
Even with these changes, the U.S. still attracts many more job seekers from India, Bernard said.
Bernard explained that changing visa policies is likely the main reason Indian workers are looking to Canada instead of the U.S. But there are other reasons Canada is becoming a more attractive prospect to international workers.
“Canada has a booming tech sector in general, so it’s a natural next step if finding work in the U.S. is becoming more difficult,” he said.
Canada’s tech sector has been attracting attention recently, with several industry giants announcing new jobs and offices in the country.
Most recently, Microsoft announced a new Canadian headquarters set to open in Toronto in September 2020.
“Increasingly, Canada is being recognized as a global leader in technology and the investments we are making today and into the future will help ensure Canada continues to be a hotbed of innovation,” Microsoft Canada president Kevin Peesker said in the announcement.
Joe Greenwood, who works with Toronto-based innovation hub MaRS Discovery District, explained that the Canadian “tech ecosystem” is growing and gaining attention globally.
He noted that workers looking abroad for work consider more than just one job, but also whether there will be growth and future opportunities.
“Then there are other considerations like what’s my quality of life going to be?” he said.
“They are looking for places that are going to be welcoming to them on the basis of religion, value, beliefs,” he said.
All of those factors make Canada a “natural next step” for workers that are no longer interested in the U.S.
Greenwood added that many international workers who moved to tech hubs such as California’s Silicon Valley have gone on to become leaders in their field.
“This could really be an opportunity for the Canadian industry to broaden,” he said.