October 23, 2023

Canada To Introduce New Work Permit For U.S. H-1B Visa Holders

Canada has taken a significant leap forward in attracting global tech talent with the launch of its groundbreaking Tech Talent Strategy. In a recent announcement, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser unveiled a series of measures aimed at facilitating the entry of skilled professionals into the country. Among these initiatives, the introduction of a new 3-year open work permit specifically designed for U.S. H-1B visa holders stands out. In this article, we will explore the details of this exciting development, highlighting Canada's commitment to fostering innovation and its potential impact on the country's thriving tech sector.


Streamlining Work Permits for H-1B Visa Holders

Recognizing the immense value of H-1B visa holders in the United States, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is streamlining the work permit process to make it easier for them to enter Canada. Starting from July 16th, 2023, H-1B visa holders and their immediate family members will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit. Successful applicants will be granted a work permit valid for up to three years, allowing them to work for almost any employer in Canada.

This bold move aims to expand the pool of skilled professionals in Canada's high-tech sector. By providing greater opportunities for talented individuals to pursue rewarding careers, Canada is fostering an environment that promotes economic growth and technological advancement. Furthermore, spouses and dependents of H-1B visa holders can also apply for a temporary resident visa, facilitating family reunification and integration into Canadian society.

The introduction of this work permit for H-1B visa holders reinforces Canada's commitment to attracting top global talent. By leveraging the expertise and innovation these professionals bring, Canada aims to position itself as a leading destination for tech talent and solidify its status as a global innovation hub. The program will be open for one year or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications, emphasizing the urgency and significance of this opportunity.


Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP)

To address ongoing labor shortages in key tech occupations, IRCC is launching an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program. This initiative, set to be introduced by the end of 2023, aims to attract highly skilled individuals who can contribute to Canada's innovation priorities and the growth of its high-tech industries.

The Innovation Stream offers two potential pathways for eligible applicants. The first option entails employer-specific work permits for up to five years, catering to individuals destined to work for companies identified by the Canadian government as contributors to industrial innovation goals. The second option offers open work permits for up to five years, providing highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations with the flexibility to seek employment opportunities across various sectors.

By exempting applicants from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, which typically assesses the impact of foreign workers on the Canadian labor market, IRCC aims to simplify the hiring process for employers and expedite the entry of highly skilled professionals. This streamlined approach aligns with Canada's vision of becoming a global hub for innovation and attracting exceptional talent from around the world.


Attracting Digital Nomads

In recognition of the growing trend of remote work and the rise of digital nomads, IRCC is actively promoting Canada as an appealing destination for these professionals. Digital nomads are individuals who can perform their job remotely from anywhere in the world, offering unique opportunities for countries to tap into their diverse skills and experiences.

Currently, digital nomads can visit Canada as visitors and stay for up to six months while working remotely for foreign employers. However, IRCC is exploring additional policies and collaborating with public and private partners to make Canada even more attractive to digital nomads. It is anticipated that many of these digital nomads who enter Canada may eventually seek employment opportunities with Canadian companies, contributing their skills and expertise to the country's tech sector. This can potentially lead to the issuance of temporary work permits or even permanent residence for those who decide to settle in Canada.


STEM-Specific Draws under Express Entry

To address the skills gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions, IRCC is launching category-based selection draws within the Express Entry system. Express Entry is Canada's flagship program for economic immigration, and these STEM-specific draws will prioritize candidates with strong French language proficiency or work experience in STEM fields.

The selection categories have been carefully chosen based on labor market shortages, projections, and input from various stakeholders across Canada. By giving preference to candidates with expertise in STEM, Canada aims to attract and retain highly skilled professionals who can drive innovation and contribute to the country's technological advancement. This initiative highlights Canada's commitment to cultivating a diverse and talented workforce that can meet the demands of its growing tech sector.


Improvements to Existing Tech Programs

In addition to introducing new measures, IRCC is focused on enhancing existing programs that cater to high-skill tech occupations. Two notable programs in this regard are the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program.

The Global Skills Strategy enables Canadian employers to access highly skilled talent from around the world with expedited processing times. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, IRCC has successfully restored processing times for Global Skills Strategy work permits to the standard two-week timeframe. This swift processing allows Canadian businesses to quickly onboard international talent, fostering innovation and competitiveness.

The Start-Up Visa program offers a pathway to permanent residence for foreign entrepreneurs who secure support from designated Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor organizations, or business incubators. To address lengthy wait times for applicants, IRCC has significantly increased the number of spots available under this program, from 1,000 to 3,500. This expansion reflects Canada's commitment to nurturing entrepreneurship and attracting foreign start-up founders who can contribute to the country's economic growth.

Furthermore, IRCC has made improvements to the temporary work permit option for SUV applicants. Instead of a one-year work permit limited to their own start-up, applicants can now apply for an open work permit valid for up to three years. This change recognizes the financial realities faced by start-up entrepreneurs and provides them with the opportunity to earn additional income outside of their own ventures. The work permit is available to each member of the entrepreneurial team, expanding opportunities for all team members to contribute to Canada's start-up ecosystem.


Migrate to Canada with the Expert Guidance of Pelican Migration Consultants

If you're considering migrating to Canada and exploring the exciting opportunities it offers for tech professionals, we are here to provide you with the right support and guidance throughout the immigration process. At Pelican Migration Consultants, we specialize in assisting individuals and families with their Canadian immigration journey.

Our team of experienced professionals has a deep understanding of Canadian immigration policies and procedures. We can provide valuable assistance in various areas, including:

Canada PR Visa: We will guide you through the process of obtaining a Canada PR Visa. Our experts will help you navigate the complex Express Entry system, identify the most suitable immigration programs for your profile, and ensure that your application meets all the requirements for a successful PR visa.

Canada Study Visa: If you're considering pursuing higher education in Canada, we can assist you in obtaining a Canada study visa. Our consultants will help you choose the right educational institution, prepare your application, and provide guidance on fulfilling the necessary documentation and financial requirements.

Express Entry: We have extensive expertise in the Express Entry system, which is the main pathway for economic immigration to Canada. Our team can assess your eligibility for Express Entry, assist you in creating a competitive profile, and guide you through each stage of the application process, including obtaining the necessary language proficiency scores and completing the comprehensive ranking system (CRS).

By partnering with us, you can benefit from our knowledge, experience, and personalized approach, ensuring a smooth and efficient migration journey. We stay up to date with the latest immigration policies and changes, enabling us to provide accurate and reliable advice tailored to your unique circumstances.

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