I missed the Canadian H1-B holder open work permit application window. What are my options?

On July 16, Canada introduced a new Open Work Permit (OWP) for H-1B visa holders as part of Canada’s new Tech Talent Strategy.

The OWP gives candidates in specific occupations the ability to work for almost any employer in Canada, is valid for up to three years, and holders are allowed to bring their immediate families with them to Canada.

This proved to be an extremely popular option and within two days the limit of 10,000 applications was met, leading some to wonder what other options are available to H-1B holders to immigrate to Canada.

There are still many ways for an H-1B visa holder to potentially enter Canada, many of which do not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA is a document that Canadian companies or employers must submit to prove that they will not have a negative impact (or at least have only a neutral impact) on the Canadian economy or labor force by hiring foreign nationals.

Here is an overview of some of the major temporary worker routes into Canada for H-1B visa holders.

Global Talent Stream

Canada’s Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a popular option for foreign nationals working in the IT sector, making them eligible under the definition of “specialized occupation” for H-1B visa holders. Employers who wish to hire using this program must submit an LMIA.

There are two categories under this section.

The first, Category A, is for expanding companies that can demonstrate a need to hire specialized talent from overseas. These companies need to be referred to the Global Talent Stream by a designated referral partner, which is usually a local or provincial trade association.

Category B is for companies that need to hire some skilled foreign workers for any occupation on the Global Talent Occupations list. These occupations are considered to be in demand with insufficient domestic labor supply.

Candidates who have applied under GTS can expect their application to be processed within two weeks as per Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processing standard.

intra-company transfer

The intra-company transfer work permit (ICT) is another type of special work permit that does not require employers to obtain an LMIA. It is geared towards companies having branches in multiple countries to facilitate the movement of employees.

This works for employers in two circumstances.

  • Enterprises outside and inside Canada that have a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate relationship.
  • Both the enterprises are doing business. It means that they are providing goods and services on a continuous basis. The company must be operational in Canada; They cannot have a physical location in Canada.

If an employee wishes to obtain an ICT work permit, he must:

  • Currently employed by a multinational company and seeking entry to Canada to work in that company’s parent company, subsidiary, branch or affiliate.
  • Transfer to a company that has a qualifying relationship with the company in which they are currently employed and will employ in a valid and continuing establishment of the company in Canada.
  • Have been continuously employed (through salary or contract) by the company that plans to relocate them to Canada in a similar full-time position for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of the initial application.
  • Coming to Canada only for a temporary period.
  • Comply with all immigration to Canada requirements for temporary entry

In addition, he must be a senior or executive manager, a functional manager or have specialized knowledge.


The Canada United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) is an option for Mexican citizens who are employees of multinational companies with branches in Canada. Like Global Talent Stream and Intra-Company Transfer, this work permit does not require an LMIA.

In addition, US and Mexican citizens do not require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada, so applications for a CUSMA work permit can be made either online, at a port of entry (such as a border crossing or airport), or at a visa office. or by paper.

CUSMA participants fall into four categories of temporary work:

Professionals must work in one of approximately 60 target occupations and have pre-arranged employment in Canada. Self-employed professionals are not eligible.

CUSMA ICTs are issued to employees who are temporarily in Canada to work for a branch of their US or Mexican employer. They are only eligible if they have worked continuously for their employer in a position similar to the work they are doing in Canada for at least one of the past three years.

CUSMA Traders is an option for those who can show that they intend to conduct 50% of their trade in goods or services between Canada and their country of citizenship. It can be based on the volume or value of the trade.

CUSMA investors must demonstrate that they have made a significant investment in a new or existing Canadian business. They need to demonstrate that they are seeking entry to Canada to develop and direct a Canadian business.

business visitor

A foreign national may be able to enter Canada without an LMIA for a number of reasons, such as attending business meetings, purchasing Canadian goods, providing after-sales service, receiving training by a Canadian parent company, or training other employees. .

To be eligible, business visitors must show

  • they plan to stay for less than six months,
  • they have no plans to enter the Canadian labor market,
  • The principal place of business, source of income and profits is outside Canada,
  • they have documents that support their application and
  • They meet Canada’s basic entry requirements


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