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Going back to USA - giving up Canadian PR

I absolutely understand the OP’s painful situation. Not being able to land a (desired) job can have a substantial effect on a professional’s psyche in today’s hyper-competitive world. And to the point of life in USA being much better than in Canada, it is, in many comparable walks of life but not entirely.

For most of the people looking to move north, it is the uncertainty of having a H1B knife hanging over your head for the foreseeable future that’s making them even look at Canada. But the OP is mostly right about life in Canada too, if you’re used to earning very well as experienced professionals in the US, Canada will absolutely be a step down. Canadian economy never did, nor it ever will, have as many opportunities as the US, but if you did your due diligence, you would know that well before making the move. It may also not work out for people in certain stages of their careers as it will be hard for folks in certain career trajectories to recalibrate their expectations to the realities of the Canadian workforce and industry. For eg., if you move from Bay Area to Toronto (Canada’s biggest city) as a 37 yo techie, there’s a close-to-zero probability of you landing a 200k-250k (not even in CAD) opportunity any time in the near future, which would be a reasonably plausible scenario if you were still in the Bay Area. Not saying it just won’t happen, Canada is a capitalistic country after all, but the chances are much much lower. And on top of it, things are expensive here, from groceries to car insurance, from housing to gas, utilities etc.

But, the peace of mind you get being a permanent resident is incomparable. The ability to have a social safety net at the end of your career as well as some of the biggest incentives to raising kids are also major merits in my book.

To wrap it off, I would like to emphasize a few pain points from a completely Desi perspective. For me, the US to Canada trade-off was well worth it for a few reasons:

  • I only ever worked on OPT in the Midwest of US, and my pay as a new professional wasn’t that high to begin with. Adjusting to Canadian salary was easier.

  • I’m a single guy in his mid-20’s; no additional pressure to provide for dependents when I moved here without a job.

  • I absolutely despised the lottery system as well as the highly arbitrary approval process you have to go through every time you apply for extension. Never even having to worry about work authorization is a great luxury for me.

  • Like I mentioned earlier, having a social safety net at the end of my career was important. I have yet to see what happens with the social security of the generation of my cousins and acquaintances who have been living in the US for more than a decade or longer, and waiting for a green card. So maybe this is not a major factor in many people’s decision.

  • The ability to travel home whenever I wanted was also a major pro for me.

I hope you didn’t read the above as a rebuttal (because it’s not at all the intention), but rather a timely reminder of the harsh realities of moving to a new place with very little professional connections. Nor do I wanna look like I’m preaching from my high horse. I want to provide as much perspective as possible and for folks to realize the importance of doing your research BEFORE moving here. There will be setbacks but I can assure you, having work experience from the US is easily the most favorable thing working for you.

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@siddEE You are a Pro!!

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@angularguy Thanks for sharing your experience and wishing you the very best with the move back down south.

Naturally this forum contains (myself included) people who got fed up of the American system and like it here in Canada. But it’s very important to also understand and get a diverse perspective, that is different from ours.

America is a truly great country and the opportunities there are like no other. It is due to this reason that it attracts immigrants from throughout the world in unprecedented numbers.

The Canadian system unfortunately isn’t very friendly towards new immigrants in some respects. Primarily towards finding employment, there is systemic racism which is masked under the guise of Canadian work experience. Recruiters use that blatantly to low-ball potential employees. There’s also a crap ton of regulation and legislation which helps already established parties.

We met a really talented and sweet Indian lady who’d moved from Pune. She had an established psychology practice there but was working as an associate in Staples. She told us how beuracratic and tiresome the process for getting her skills accredited here was, basically it seemed like she’d have to redo a portion of education at a local University to have a short at establishing her practice.

We in Tech are rather fortunate that skills are mostly transferrable and the employment market is really hot. In terms of salaries in Canada, most Canadian companies pay extremely low wages when you compare it to the cost of living in the bigger cities here. It’s extremely important for anyone looking to making the move to research and hopefully have employment lined up beforehand.

With a good job in hand, your Canadian immigration experience is likely going to be very pleasant and without a good one it’s going to be rather rough.

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Thanks guys for productive discussion - I just started the thread to spread the awareness that don’t get mad about moving to Canada. For immigration stability - Australia is far much better than Canada if USA immigration provides anxiety for someone. Wages are decent in Australia and they value US experience as well as US education a lot as compared to Canada.

Ahem, at this point I’m not sure if you’re trolling here or if Australia is just a tangent.

I don’t know extensively about Australia but have a close friend who works IT at a bank, the salaries seemed more in line with Canada than US. The weather is undoubtedly better if you prefer a warmer climate.

I’m happy to learn more about Australia and other countries, but I’d prefer to hear personal examples and concrete numbers.

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One of my closest friend was post doc at top tier university in USA - she moved to U of Melbourne and pay is double even after currency conversion PLUS 17% superannuation. You can check the pay there - most of job openings have salary range on it.

I think it might be a good idea to keep your US job and work remotely for your US employer. You can even travel back to US a few months every year to work on site. This way, you can keep your PR, keep you H1B and US Green Card queue, get Canadian citizenship after 5 years of landing, and travel back to US on your H1B.

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@angularguy

Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope this discussion provides anyone looking to move, different aspects / opinions of moving form the US to Canada and back.

I know a few who were in similar situations (lived in US, moved to Canada, then moved back to the US). And most often the reason for the move back to the US are one or all of these:

  • High qualification (PhD or Postdoc)
  • Research oriented jobs
  • Highly specialized to a particular industry which is not really present in Canada
  • Jobs in the field are highly regulated (anything that requires credentials, certification, license etc)
  • Cannot wait for ~4 years to complete the citizenship process in Canada and move to the US on a TN visa (or such jobs are not available in the US for TN visa)

Moving to Canada is not a path filled with roses. It has many advantages, and has its own shortcomings too. Depending on what your preferences are, moving to Canada/US/Australia may be the best option.

Even now, I’d say Canada may not be the best bet, if one is based in US and :

  1. has no issues with working as an employee for ever (as in, no plans of side hustles or entrepreneurship),
  2. is not bothered by the uncertainties of immigration (H1b, H4EAD, GC process etc),
  3. have great health insurance from employers (until the time when one is eligible for medicare/medicaid).

For me, 1 and 2 were not fine, and 3 at some point I knew would be a pain (especially if I choose not to work at big corporations), hence Canada was and is still a better choice.

I know many talented people stuck being unable to work in the US because spouse has H1, but H4 EAD is either not available or stuck in some process, or stuck on an cap-exempt h1b because spouse has postdoc work available only in US. Now that doesn’t mean moving to US is a waste of time for everyone.

Anyway, it’s great that you and your wife don’t have to bother about H1b related uncertainties for the next 6 years, and hopefully things settle down for you and the move works well in the short term and in the long term.

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A lot of good comparison between Canada and the US are already mentioned for anyone considering making the move.

For someone who would be living on a work visa for the foreseeable future in the US, it would be better to compare Canada as a whole to what one can do on H1B in the US rather than comparing the countries in their entirety. I think that would paint a more realistic picture and the most relevant one.
The US may have the best opportunities but H1B is designed to keep those opportunities as walled off as possible from you. And now the COVID situation has made things more complicated, with new regulations adding more restrictions. Also the new era of remote work has dawned on us, it would really beg the question that if work can be done remotely then is there really a need for work visas at all. This is not really a far fetched thought as recently there was a move against F1 students in the US who would take classes entirely online, were asked to leave the country.

Just wanted to add a couple of points for critical thinking.

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Play the long game OP. Life / careers last over 30 years. 3 years here or there won’t hurt you. Get a solid back up in a Canadian passport and move back to the US to accelerate your earnings

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Good point here.You need to do a bit of soul searching to know about your priorities. If you are fine moving back to to your country of birth ( I am guessing its India) incase of H1B rejections, then I feel you can continue living in US on a temp visa. If moving back to India is not an option for you, consider other developed nations like Canada.

If moving back to US after getting Canadian citizenship is your ultimate goal, please remember that US immigration laws can always change.A more conservative administration can always make even TN visas more restrictive.A TN visa is not a dual intent visa and is issues at the discretion of the border patrol agents.So it is extremely risky to keep renewing it indefinitely.

So my advise would to to figure out your overall plan and talk to an immigration lawyer about possible options for you. So far having an approved I140 in US allows you to be cap exempt for future H1B filings .

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