Canada will launch the open work permit stream for US H-1B visa holders today.

H1-B visa holders may now be eligible to live and work in Canada under a new open work permit.

Starting today, those who have a United States H-1B Special Occupation Visa you may be eligible to apply to work and live in Canada.

Note: This is a developing story. CIC News will update you as more information is released by the Canadian government.

The measure was announced by Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on June 27 and is aimed at improving labor mobility in North America. It can affect thousands of workers in high-tech industries in both Canada and the United States, as well as their immediate families.

Those who are approved will receive a open work permit valid for up to three years. An open work permit means they can work for almost any employer in Canada. This also applies to their spouses and dependents who can apply for work or study permits as needed.

Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) says the measure will last for a year or until the limit of 10,000 applicants is reached. This limit applies to primary applicants and does not include family members.

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IRCC Targeted at STEM Occupations

On June 28, IRCC announced that it would hold the first Express Entry draw for those with work experience in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) occupations. The draw is part of the selection criteria by categories announced by the Minister on May 31st.

The department went ahead on July 5 and invited 500 candidates with STEM work experience, many of whom may also be eligible for the new H-1B open work permit. Those who were invited were already in the Express Entry application pool.

There are five new Express Entry categories for those with work experience in specific occupational fields. The sixth category is for those with great ability in the French language. The categories were chosen after research and discussion with IRCC partners and stakeholders, as well as provincial and territorial governments likely to be most attuned to local labor shortages.

The IRCC said inviting candidates through the Express Entry STEM category was a milestone in Canada’s commitment to attract the best global talent and remain at the forefront of global research, development and innovation.

For example, in Budget 2023, the government of Canada announced that it would invest $20 billion to support the construction of major clean electricity and growth infrastructure projects. Much of this development will require the skills and knowledge of STEM professionals.

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Canada’s technology talent attraction strategy

In addition to the 3-year open work permit for H-1B holders, IRCC is also working on developing a new innovation stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP). Minister Fraser said the Innovation Stream will launch at the end of this year.

Options for the stream are being developed and informed by stakeholder feedback received through various consultations over the past few months.

There are two options under consideration

  • Employer-specific work permits for up to five years for workers intended to work for a company identified by the Government of Canada as contributing to our goal of industrial innovation
  • Work permits open for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select occupations in demand

In addition, the minister announced the return to the 14-day service standard for work permits under the Global Skills Strategythe promotion of Canada as a destination for digital nomads and improvements in the Startup Visa Program such as more assigned places and extending the duration of the work permit from one to three years.

STEM job offers in Canada

The latest job vacancy data from Statistics Canada shows that there were 42,900 job openings in professional, scientific and technical services in April, down 7,700 (-15.2%) from March and 30,600 (-41.6%) since its launch. maximum of 73,600. in April 2022.

Ontario and Quebec continue to have the highest number of job openings in the country. To help fill these vacancies, especially in the STEM sector, Ontario recently eliminated the Canadian work experience requirement for newcomers seeking an engineering license.

On June 30, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development also announced that regulated professions in Ontario will be required to make and communicate registration decisions on internationally trained newcomer applications within six months. This measure is intended to make it easier for qualified newcomers, especially in licensed professions such as some STEM professions, to fill job openings and close the skills gap.

Are you an H-1B visa holder? Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm


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