BREAKING: Canada to introduce new work permit for US H-1B visa holders

Today, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser 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 referring to as Canada’s first tech talent strategy.

New 3-Year Open Work Permit for H-1B Visa Holders

IRCC will improve labor mobility in North America by creating a streamlined work permit for H-1B special occupation visa holders in the US to apply to immigrate to Canada. Right now, many workers in high-tech sectors are employed by companies with operations in Canada and the US, and those working in the US often have H-1B special business visas.

Beginning July 16, 2023, H-1-B holders in the US and accompanying immediate family members will be eligible to apply to immigrate to Canada. Approved applicants will receive an open work permit for up to three years, which means they can work for almost any employer in Canada. In addition, their spouses and dependents may also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa.

IRCC believes this will expand the opportunities available for skilled workers to pursue careers in the high-tech sector and contribute to economic growth in North America. This measure will be effective for one year or till IRCC receives 10,000 applications.

New Innovation Stream under IMP

IRCC will develop a new innovation stream under the International Mobility Program to attract highly talented individuals. Following consultations with tech industry stakeholders, key tech occupations are still short of workers, and broadening Canada’s talent base should remain a goal.

That’s why the Canadian government will launch a new Innovation Stream by the end of 2023, creating an exemption from the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process to help employers and talented workers support Canada’s innovation priorities and high-tech industries.

Attracting Digital Nomads

IRCC will also promote Canada as a destination for digital nomads. A digital nomad is someone who can work remotely from anywhere in the world. In the coming months, IRCC will collaborate with public and private partners to determine whether additional policies to attract digital nomads to Canada would be desirable.

Under current Canadian immigration rules, a digital nomad can live in Canada as a visitor for up to six months while they work remotely for a foreign employer. IRCC hopes that some of these digital nomads entering Canada will decide to seek opportunities with Canadian employers by bringing their skills to Canada by applying for a temporary work permit or permanent residency.

Improving existing technology programs

Finally, the IRCC will reform existing programs that cater to workers in high-skill tech occupations, including the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-up Visa (SUV) program.

The Global Skills Strategy is designed to support Canadian employers seeking rapid access to highly skilled talent around the world. IRCC processing time for these work permits is back to the standard of two weeks after delays during the pandemic. In addition, Employment and Social Development Canada is meeting the two-week standard for processing Global Talent Stream LMIAs for employers.

The Startup Visa (SUV) program is a pathway to permanent residency for foreign entrepreneurs who receive support from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor organization or business incubator for their startup.

To address long waiting times for applicants, more places were allocated under the programme, increasing from 1,000 to 3,500. That means the target has tripled the number of permanent residents expected in the federal business category for 2023, and that number is expected to grow even more for 2024 and 2025.

In addition, IRCC will change the temporary work permit option for SUV applicants and allow them to apply for an open work permit of up to three years, instead of a one-year work permit that restricts them to work only for their startups. does.

This is in response to feedback from stakeholders who have made it clear that start-up entrepreneurs may not have the capacity to earn a full salary and that being given the opportunity to earn additional income elsewhere will put financial strain on these individuals and their families. may be less.

Work permits will be available to each member of the entrepreneurial team. Prior to this announcement, only those members of the entrepreneurial team who were identified as essential and in urgent need in Canada could apply for a work permit.

IRCC will also give priority to applications that are backed by committed capital or backed by a business incubator that is also a member of the Canadian Tech Network to move to the front of the processing line.

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