Most Indian migrants prefer to settle either with a US H1B Visa or a Canadian PR. Read on to know all the key differences and similarities between these most popular migrant visas.
What is an H1B Visa?
H1B is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers in the USA. Features of this visa are :
- H1B is an employer-sponsored visa. Therefore, an employer must offer a job and petition for your H1B visa.
- H1B is basically a work permit to get a visa stamp and clearance to work in the US for the employer.
What is a Canadian PR Visa?
A Canadian permanent residency gives someone PR status and a better chance to immigrate to Canada Permanent residents are citizens of other countries. A person moving to Canada temporarily is not a permanent resident.
Comparing H1B Visa and Canada PR Visa
If you are struggling hard to choose between a USA H1B visa and Canadian PR, then this comparative analysis will help you to pick the right category.
Although the H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa, this visa category comes with “dual intent.” The H1B visa holder can apply for and get the Green Card while in the USA. If you are on an H1B visa and wish to live and work in the US for more than 6 years, you can apply for permanent residency and receive a Green Card. If your H1B visa expires before receiving your Green Card, then you must live outside the USA for at least one year to reapply for another H or L visa.
There are several options to get Canadian PR visa. Here are the main 5 immigration categories to secure PR status :
- Federal Economic Class through Express Entry specially designed for skilled foreign workers
- Business Immigration
- Family Class Immigration
- Canadian Experience Class
- Provincial Nominee Program
The USA features the biggest economy in the world. Therefore, getting a job in the USA is much easier for migrant workers. As the USA job market promotes innovation, there is always a demand for highly skilled workers.
The Canadian economy is strong, and it is the 10th largest economy in the world. The Canadian job market offers fewer options compared to the USA. Due to severe competition, highly skilled immigrants got a better chance.
Average Work Hours
As per data revealed by the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the USA employees worked for about 34.4 hours per week in 2019.
When it comes to Canada, the federal employees' standard work hours are 8 hours per day. It sums up to 40 hours a week.
The USA keeps changing the H1B criteria. So, working conditions for immigrants in the USA can change at any time.
On the contrary, the employee retention rate is way better in Canada. Their visa requirements are more stable.
The United States’ tax rate is comparatively low at 18%. US employees can take home about $52,000 per annum on average.
Canada has a higher average practical tax rate of 28%. The survey revealed that a Canadian employee’s take-home salary is approximately $35,500 per annum on average.
Cost of Living
The salary structure is much more attractive in the USA job market than it is in Canada. The living costs are lower.
But Canada offers more generous government benefits in terms of food security and health benefits. The cost of living is a little higher in Canada than in the USA. Still, the Canadian government compensates it with the help of a hoard of social facilities.
Health care is tied to insurance coverage in the USA. Usually, your employer will provide you with some sort of insurance plan. No treatment is free in the USA. You must pay for the deductible. Medicaid/Medicare covers only certain categories, not all.
On the other hand, basic health care is free in Canada. Health care costs are also lower here. The Canadian healthcare system is more humane. You don’t have to go bankrupt to receive treatment even if you lose your insurance.
Cost of Education
The United States allows every child access to their free public schools. Apart from public schools, there are lots of paid private schools in the country. In the USA, the average schooling cost in a private elementary school is $10,000 per year. It is about $15,000 per year for private high schools.
Canada allows children (until the age of 16 or 18) of documented immigrants to free public schools in the country. You can also send your wards to private Canadian schools that charge international students with a tuition fee of CAD 8,000 to CAD 14,000 a year.
Scope of getting citizenship
A US H1B visa is not reliable as your entire existence in the USA depends on the job. You will have minimal time to find a new job in the USA if the present employer lays you off. It is also a very time-consuming affair to secure citizenship in the USA. You have to complete at least 5 years of stay on Green Card before applying for US citizenship.
Canada’s Immigration Program aims to attract more and more people to settle in the country. Canada PR doesn’t restrict you to switch between jobs. Even if you lose your employment in Canada, you can still access the medical benefits and social security. You can apply for citizenship after completing 3 years as a PR in the country. Canada is definitely a better place to head for if you are looking for permanent residency.
Eligibility, documentation and process of H1B Visa
Specialty Occupation Eligibility Criteria for H1B Visa
The H1B visa is curated for the staff involved in specialty occupations. The job profile must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation :
- Entry requirement of a Bachelor's or higher degree
- The degree requirement for the occupation is common to the industry
- The job must be so complex or unique that it can’t be done by anyone than a degree holder
- The employer requires a specialized degree holder or its equivalent
- The nature of the job profile is so specialized and complex that it requires someone with a bachelor's degree or higher degree
Employee Qualification Eligibility Criteria for H1B Visa
To accept a job offer in a specialty occupation, you must meet any of the following criteria :
- Having a US bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college or university
- Holding a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree
- An unrestricted state license, registration, or certification holder which allows you to accept a specialty occupation
- Having education, training, or practical work experience in the specialty occupation that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree
- Having recognition of expertise in the specialty occupation through responsible positions related to the specialty
Following is a typical list of documents required for an H1B petition :
- Copy of the passport
- Copy of educational degrees / certificates / transcripts
- Letter of current employment
- Copy of previous employment/experience proof
- Copy of any certifications/achievements received during employment
- Step 1: You must meet the H1B eligibility criteria
- Step 2: The employer secures the Labour Condition Application (LCA) approval from the Department of Labour in the USA
- Step 3: Your USA employer should file the H1B petition with USCIS and get the approval
- Step 4: Foreign worker must apply for the Visa
- Step 5: You must have a valid passport and duly fill the Visa application form. Then pay the fee
- Step 6: Appear for the visa interview at the nearest US consulate in your home country
- Step 7: Get stamped at the specified US consulate in his/her home country.
- Step 8: After getting the H1B visa approval, you can enter the USA and work for this sponsoring employer.
H1B Visa Cost
The standard H1B Filing Fee is presently $460. This fee is for the 1-129 petition. The H1B visa base filing fee will be $555 from 2nd October 2020.
H1B application processing time ranges from 3 months to 1 year to get approval. H1B premium filing receives approval within 1 - 15 days.
Eligibility, documentation and process of Canada PR
To be eligible for a Canada PR Card, you must :
- be a permanent resident of Canada
- be present physically in Canada at the time of PR application
- satisfy the residency requirement
- not be facing an effective removal order
- not be convicted of any offense related to the misuse of a PR Card
- not be a Canadian citizen
Here are the primary documents needed at the time of the PR application. You may need to submit additional documents depending on your case.
- Valid passport
- Official identity proof
- Birth certificate or proof of age
- Educational qualification certificates
- IELTS test score-card with a valid score
- Medical fitness certificate
- Police clearance certificate
We are mentioning the generalized steps involved with the PR process :
- Step 1: Check the eligibility criteria to understand if you are fit to apply for the PR or not.
- Step 2: Complete your language ability tests before the application process. Sit for the IELTS exam and get the required scores. Check if you need to take a French-language test or not.
- Step 3: Submit the application based on the Canada immigration program you chose.
- Step 4: Submit all required documents.
- Step 5: Arrange for the proof of funds to support your stay in Canada.
- Step 6: You will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) card if your application is accepted.
- Step 7: Apply for the PR Card.
Here is a table to explain the PR fees in Canada.
Cost in CAD
Right to Permanent Resident Fee
To include spouse/ common-law partner
To include spouse/common-law partner with Right to Permanent Resident Fee
550 + 490
To include a dependent child
It is very hard to specify processing times for Canadian PR applications as it is highly variable. Processing time highly depends on the following factors :
- Time taken at the Canadian immigration department
- Time taken to verify your documents
- Your response time to answer any query or offer additional information (if asked)
Benefits of the USA H1B visa
H1B is a very popular non-immigrant US visa category. This is primarily because of the following benefits it comes with :
- Standard educational requirement: The H1B applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree or a job offer from a USA company for a specialty position.
- Duration of stay: Initial approval is for 3 years. It can be extended for another up to 3 years. The total duration is up to 6 years.
- Portability: H1B gives you the freedom to shift from one employer to another during the stay.
- Multiple employers: It allows you to work part-time and for multiple employers at the same time.
- Spouse and dependents: You can bring your spouse and children as dependents under the H4 visa. Their stay will be as long as the H1B holder.
- Dual Intent: Temporary workers on H1B visas are eligible to seek legal permanent residency in the USA. This is one of the most significant benefits of being an H1B visa holder.
- Easy re-stamping: A new visa stamping can be done in any other country at any US consulate, depending on the H1B extension approval.
- Travel: H1B is a multiple entry visa. It allows you to travel to and from the USA for any number of times during the visa validity.
- Switching the employer: H1B visa is transferable to a new employer. You can start working for a new Employer as soon as you get the H1 transfer case receipt.
- Buying property in the USA: H1B workers can buy or sell property in the USA.
Benefits of Canada PR
Being a Canadian permanent resident, you can enjoy the following benefits :
- Access to most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive like health care coverage
- Right to study, work or live anywhere in Canada
- Eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship
- Receiving protection under Canadian Laws
- Pay taxes equal to Canadian citizen
- Eligible to become a Canadian citizen after 3 years of stay
Canadian permanent residents are not allowed to :
- vote or run for political office
- take jobs that need a high-level security clearance
The bottom line is that the United States is an ideal immigration destination to get better-paid jobs and quickly secure the Green Card. But Canada is better if you are looking for a stable professional life. You can also switch the job or start entrepreneurship in Canada easily. We have tried our best to offer a lucid comparison between H1B Visa and Canadian PR.
Are you still in a dilemma? Just give us a call or shoot an email. Our team is exceptionally capable of taking care of all sorts of immigration needs. Our immigration experts make your journey to Canada and the USA quick and straightforward. For any kind of inquiry or assistance on immigration, we are here to help you.
How long can I live in the USA on an H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is initially granted for up to 3 years. But it can be extended up to another 3 years. Total stay on an H1B visa cannot exceed a total of 6 years.
What are a few factors to remember?
- Canada scores an average of 7.6 on the Average Life Satisfaction Ranking scale. The USA’s score is 7.0. It’s evident that Canada's people are a little more satisfied with their life than the people of America.
- As per the World Happiness Index, Canada ranks 9th on the list, and the United States managed to secure the 19th position. This means Canada is considered to be a better place to lead a happy and prosperous life.
- Best Cities to Live in Canada includes Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa. If we take the best cities to live in the USA, you have Denver, Charlotte, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Boston, Portland, and many more. But surprisingly, many world-famous US cities couldn’t make it to the list.
- As per the report, Population Density in the United States is 84 residents per square mile, and Canada’s population density is about 3 people per square kilometre.
- Canada scored 79.59 points on a scale of 100 as per the Global Economic Competitiveness report. But the USA beat Canada with an 83.7 points score.
- The unemployment rate in Canada was 5.67% in 2019. In July 2020, the USA recorded an unemployment rate of 10.2. Certainly, the Canadian job market is more stable.
- Canada is a preferable immigration destination in terms of wages, Racial Discrimination, and Safety.
- Weather Changes for Indians is a serious struggle to face in both countries. Most of the year, these countries experience gloomy weather and heavy snowfall. Summer months are the only relief.
What is H1B Approval Notice?
H1B Approval Notice, issued by USCIS, confirms your H-1B status validity for the dates mentioned on the form.
Can I go to Canada with H1B?
Yes, you can. But you must have a valid H-1B visa in your passport to return to the U.S. from all countries except for brief trips of less than 30 days to Canada and Mexico.
Can I work in the USA with a Canadian PR?
You cannot work in the USA with a Canadian PR. You must obtain an H1 visa to work in the USA.
How do I keep my PR and H1B in Canada?
You can maintain the US H1B work visa and Canadian PR simultaneously. To keep the PR, you must live for 2 years out of 5 years in Canada.
What is a TN visa?
The TN visa status allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals.