Canadian CitizenshipStudy in CanadaVisit CanadaJune 30, 2023by Lalith Kumar GhantaCanada to introduce new work permit for U.S. H-1B visa holders

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, has announced additional measures aimed at attracting more global tech talent to Canada. These measures include the launch of what Fraser and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are calling Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy.

One of the measures is the introduction of a new 3-year open work permit for H-1B visa holders in the United States. The IRCC will streamline the process for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders to apply and work in Canada. Starting from July 16th, 2023, H-1B holders and their immediate family members will be eligible to apply for an open work permit in Canada, allowing them to work for any employer. Spouses and dependents may also apply for a temporary resident visa.

The purpose of this measure is to expand opportunities for skilled workers in the high-tech sector and contribute to economic growth in North America. This measure will be in effect for one year or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications.

Additionally, the IRCC will develop an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP) to attract highly talented individuals. This stream will create an exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, aiming to address labor shortages in key tech occupations. The Innovation Stream will provide employer-specific work permits or open work permits for up to five years.

To attract digital nomads, individuals who can work remotely from anywhere in the world, the IRCC will promote Canada as a destination and collaborate with partners to explore additional policies. Currently, digital nomads can stay in Canada for up to six months as visitors while working for a foreign employer. The expectation is that some digital nomads will seek opportunities with Canadian employers and apply for temporary work permits or permanent residence.

Furthermore, the IRCC will launch category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates, with a preference for those with strong French language proficiency or work experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. These categories were chosen based on labor market shortages and projections.

Lastly, the IRCC will make improvements to existing tech programs such as the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program, which cater to high-skill tech occupations.

Overall, these measures aim to attract and retain skilled tech workers, enhance Canada’s innovation capabilities, and address labor market needs in the tech sector.

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