Last month, the Obama administration announced proposed changes that would ease restrictions on foreigners that hold H-1B professional work visas in high tech fields that would allow their spouses to work.
Vikrant Minhas, Microsoft Development Engineer: “We are paying for social security. We are paying for Medicare, but still, we are not part of the system. We are still kind of treated as aliens.”
Minhas holds an H-1B work visa, which means under current U.S. immigration policy, his wife cannot work, despite holding a master’s degree in finance from India.
Immigration policy is just one reason tech companies like Microsoft are expanding operations in Canada, particularly Vancouver. Canada welcomes any high-skilled worker who has a job offer, whereas the U.S. only issues up to 85,000 H1-B visas per year.
Microsoft will add up to 400 jobs in Vancouver, when its new office opens next year.
In the U.S., some estimates show an additional 30-thousand spouses of H-1B work visa holders a year will be eligible to find work, in addition to the current 100-thousand immediately affected.
Immigration attorney Tahmina Watson welcomes the Obama administration’s changes, but believes they don’t go far enough.
CCTV’s Chris Casuejo reports.