Canada Visa

Canada Welcomes U.S. H-1B Visa Holders with Open Arms: The New Work Permit Program Explained

Canada is continuing to add to its competitive immigration approach for economic talent with the introduction of a new open work permit for H1-B visa holders. Immigration minister Sean Fraser announced on June 27th, Canada will be targeting H1-B visa holders in the United States with a new open work permit, which will allow permit holders to both work and study in Canada for up to three years.

This permit will be part of Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy. Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy is a forward-thinking initiative aimed at boosting the country’s position in the global tech sector. By attracting top-tier talent from around the world and nurturing domestic talent, the strategy seeks to fill existing tech roles and foster innovation for future job creation.

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Understanding the H-1B Visa

The H-1B is a visa category in the United States that allows employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. These include, but are not limited to, fields like IT, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and science. H-1B visa holders are often highly skilled professionals who contribute significantly to the U.S. economy and tech industry. Their expertise and knowledge make them a valuable workforce asset.


The H-1B visa program in the United States has an annual limit or ‘cap’ of 65,000 visas for applicants with a bachelor’s degree, and an additional 20,000 visas for those with a master’s degree or higher from U.S. institutions. These caps often hit countries like India and China the hardest, as they are the largest sources of H-1B applicants, with tech professionals from these countries often facing high demand and fierce competition for these limited spots.

Overview of the New Work Permit Program

Express Entry


The new visa holder permit will start being issued on July 16th, 2023. The work permit will be an open work permit, which means the holder will be able work for any employer in the country. In comparison, the H1-B  is tied to the sponsored job placement in the United States. According to the Canadian government, the visa will also provide spouses and dependents eligibility to apply for temporary residency visa with work and study permits if needed. This initiative is set to last for one year, or until Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) receives a total of 10,000 applications. It’s important to note that the application cap will only consider principal applicants, excluding any accompanying family members from the count.


The specific qualifications and admission figures for this program haven’t been clearly detailed yet. Once the IRCC provides more information, we will update this blog.


The announcement of this work permit is great news for many H1-B holders who may have been affected by recent layoffs in the tech industry. During the pandemic the tech sector saw a boom in hiring. However, subsequent layoffs left many H-1B visa holders searching for new employment opportunities. This is also great news for those, who are coming up on their renewal of their H1-B and are looking for alternative options


In the same announcement, Minister Sean Fraser shared that the Canadian government is creating a special immigration program aimed at attracting top talent globally. Uniquely, this program will allow skilled individuals to work in Canada’s tech industry, regardless of whether they have a job offer beforehand. This program is set to launch by the end of 2023.

Express Entry

Securing Permanent Residency through Canada’s New Program

While this program is a temporary work visa similar to the H1-B, Canada does offer pathways for permanent residency for economic workers with the Express Entry System. Having Canadian work experience in Canada or receiving a permanent job offer, can help increase your applications Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) and make you a more competitive candidate in the Express Entry Pool.


Holders of the new work permit who are interested in applying through the express entry will be able to do so with the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This is an immigration program that allows individuals who have gained professional work experience in Canada to apply for permanent residency. This is the most popular option for temporary workers in Canada. Under the CEC the requirement is at least 2 years of Canadian work experience or have completed post-secondary education in Canada and have 1 year of full time work experience in Canada.

How Canada By Choice Can Help


At Canada By Choice, we’re committed to assisting potential applicants navigate the intricacies of this new program. Our experienced team can provide the guidance and support you need for your Canadian immigration journey. We invite you to reach out for more information or assistance with your application. Your Canadian dream might be just a call or email away.

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The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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