Canada Extends Invitation to 10,000 H-1B Visa Holders Through Open Work-Permit Stream

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, recently announced that the Canadian government will be creating a new work-permit pathway specifically for 10,000 American H-1B visa holders. The objective of this initiative is to attract talented individuals from the United States and provide them with job opportunities in Canada. Additionally, the program will also enable family members of H-1B visa holders to obtain study or work permits.

The announcement comes as many individuals employed in high-tech fields work for companies with significant operations in both Canada and the US, often holding an H-1B specialty occupation visa. Starting from July 16, 2023, H-1B visa holders and their immediate family members will be eligible to apply to come to Canada.

Successful applicants under this new policy will be granted an open work permit that is valid for up to three years, allowing them to work anywhere in Canada. The spouses and dependents of H-1B visa holders will also have the opportunity to apply for a temporary resident visa, along with a work or study permit if required.

Minister Fraser highlighted that the Canadian federal government aims to establish an immigration stream specifically tailored for highly skilled individuals worldwide by the end of this year. The stream will enable them to work for technology companies in Canada, regardless of whether they have a job offer or not. However, specific details regarding the qualifications and admission numbers for this stream were not provided at this time.

The H-1B visa program in the US grants temporary work permits to foreign nationals in specialized occupations, particularly in the technology and skilled sectors. With the increase in hiring by tech companies during the pandemic followed by subsequent layoffs, many H-1B visa holders found themselves seeking new job opportunities.

Canada’s introduction of the open work-permit stream to welcome American H-1B visa holders reflects the country’s intention to attract skilled professionals and foster economic growth. This program not only benefits visa holders by offering them new avenues for employment, but it also provides opportunities for their families to study or work in Canada. The move reinforces Canada’s commitment to welcoming highly skilled individuals from around the world and positioning itself as a global destination for talent.

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