While President Trump’s aggressive move against illegal immigration which is clearly written all over his administration’s policies may be welcomed on many fronts, moves affecting the ability of skilled immigrants and fresh international graduates to work legally in the United States are of significant concern to stakeholders in the country.
Recent tough policies surrounding work visa and student visa are making a significant number of students, and skilled immigrants seek much easier destinations like Canada, according to immigration lawyers.
Over the past two years, reports have shown a decline in international student applications, and enrollment to U.S. institutions – the first ever year-on-year decline – and this could be as a result of the changes in student visa. Shah Peerally, president and managing attorney of a law group in San Francisco, said the changes have made student visa a nightmare. An example is an F-1 visa.
F-1 visa, which is clearly the most popular student visa, allows the student to work while they study as well as after study. In 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) were mandated to seek additional information or clarification before the declining request, but in July 2018, USCIS was given permission to decline request without seeking additional information. Now, mistakes that happen while filling the forms can lead to deportation.
An associate attorney of a firm that handles immigration cases of any kind, Sarah Pitney, said it has now become a common thing to see client pursue their luck in Canada.
Buy American, Hire American
Canada has become a really attractive destination for students, Peerally said. It is easier for students to get work visas and permanent residence via Canada’s Express Entry, he added.
Henry Chang, a Toronto based Canadian immigration lawyer, attributed the anti-immigrant policies in the US to Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.
As far as Trump remains US president, no guarantees can be given regarding anti-immigration policies in the country; hence it is more likely to see more immigrants favor a move to countries like Canada.
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