In an official announcement, Canada's Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship revealed plans to establish a program allowing American H-1B visa holders to work in the country. The Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, stated that an open work-permit stream would be created, welcoming 10,000 H-1B visa holders to Canada. Additionally, the program will provide study or work permits for family members of H-1B visa holders.
According to CBC News, Fraser stated that the federal government aims to develop an immigration stream by the end of this year, attracting highly skilled individuals from around the world to work in Canada's tech industry, regardless of having a job offer.
The specifics of eligibility criteria and the number of individuals to be admitted to the stream were not disclosed by the Immigration Minister.
Canada's Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship emphasized the significance of the program, stating, "Thousands of workers in high-tech fields are employed with companies that have large operations in both Canada and the US, and those working in the US often hold an H-1B specialty occupation visa. As of July 16, 2023, H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the US, and their accompanying immediate family members, will be eligible to apply to come to Canada."
Under this new initiative, approved applicants will be granted an open work permit valid for up to three years. The permit will allow them to work for any employer throughout Canada. Furthermore, spouses and dependents of H-1B visa holders will have the opportunity to apply for a temporary resident visa, along with a work or study permit, as required.
H-1B visas are temporary work permits granted to foreign nationals employed in specialized occupations in the United States, particularly within the technology sector. Although tech companies experienced a surge in hiring during the pandemic, many have since laid off numerous employees. Consequently, several H-1B visa holders have been faced with the challenge of finding new job opportunities.