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  • Writer's pictureC&A Insights Team

H-1B Visa Holders: New Open Work Permit Stream in Canada

Updated: May 14

On June 27, 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) opened its doors to skilled workers by launching its first-ever Tech Talent Strategy, which aims to attract and retain top global talents in the technology sector. Its goals are to address the talent gap, foster innovation and growth, and position Canada as a global hub for technology and innovation.


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H-1B Visa Holders: New Open Work Permit Stream in Canada

By attracting and retaining top tech talent, Canada aims to strengthen its economy, drive technological advancements, and enhance its competitiveness in the global market. Not only that, Canada aims to attract digital nomads to the country as well.


With this newly launched strategy, there have been and/or will be drastic changes that are yet to come in Canadian immigration:


A New Stream for H-1B Visa Holders from the US to Apply for a Canadian Open Work Permit Valid for 3 Years

Starting on July 16, 2023, Canada will open a new stream where H-1B visa holders in the US can apply for an open work permit valid for 3 years. Their accompanying families can also apply for a work permit or a study permit. Through this, the goal is to position Canada as a global leader in innovation and create a competitive advantage in the tech industry.

Additional Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program

The International Mobility Program (IMP) is a program in Canada that allows employers to hire foreign workers temporarily without the need for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Now that Canada is aiming to attract highly skilled talents in the technology sector, it considers providing two options for them:


  1. Employer-Specific Work Permit with at least 5 years of validity for workers who are bound to work in identified companies in Canada that contribute to the country’s innovation

  2. Open Work Permit with at least 5 years of validity for high-skilled workers eligible in the selected in-demand occupations


Two-Week Processing of Global Skills Strategy Work Permits

The Global Skills Strategy facilitates the entry of highly skilled foreign workers into the Canadian labor market. It focuses on expedited work permit processing and other measures to streamline the hiring process for employers. The Global Skills Strategy reflects Canada's commitment to attracting and retaining top talent from around the world to contribute to its economic growth and innovation. With that being said, the processing of work permits under this strategy goes back 2 weeks or 14 days.

New Express Entry Category-Based Selection for STEM-Specific Draws

In June 2023, Canada started inviting skilled workers in STEM professions from around the world in its category-based Express Entry draws. The target categories are based on the labor market needs of the provinces and territories of Canada. The first-ever STEM draw was held on July 5, 2023, where 500 invitations were issued under this specific draw.

Improved Start-Up Visa Program

The Start-Up Visa Program attracts and supports innovative entrepreneurs from around the world. Along with the new Tech Talent Strategy, it promotes the growth of innovative businesses in Canada, creates jobs, and contributes to the country's economy. By attracting talented entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, Canada aims to foster innovation, increase competitiveness, and enhance its position as a global hub for entrepreneurship and technology. To make this possible, Canada made improvements to the Start-Up Visa Program, which they:


  1. Provided more spots to Start-Up Visa Program applicants this year and in the coming years

  2. Increased validity of work permits from 1 year to up to 3 years

  3. Applicants may be eligible to apply for an open work permit instead of the one that limits them to working only in their start-ups

  4. Opened the application for an open work permit for all the team members of the start-up instead of only the essential and urgent team members

  5. Prioritizing applications that are supported by venture capital, angel investor groups, and business incubators with committed capital, as well as business incubators that are Canada’s Tech Network members


Are you eager to make your mark in Canada's thriving innovation and technology sector?

Canada is a land of opportunity, known for its vibrant tech ecosystem, forward-thinking policies, and diverse talent pool. Whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a skilled professional, or a digital nomad, Chitra and Associates can provide the expertise and support you need to navigate the complex immigration process. Our team of dedicated Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) understands the intricacies of Canadian immigration laws and regulations. We specialize in assisting individuals like you who are eager to contribute their skills, knowledge, and innovative ideas to Canada's dynamic tech landscape. Don't miss out on the opportunities waiting for you in Canada's innovation and technology sectors. Let Chitra and Associates be your trusted partners on this transformative journey. Book a consultation with us today to take the first step towards a brighter future in Canada.





A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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