Canada Unveils New Work Permit Program for H-1B Visa Holders Under the New Tech Talent Strategy
Canada kicked off its Tech Talent Strategy by unveiling a new work permit for H-1B visa holders in the US, facilitating their plans to study and work in the Great White North. The new stream of Open Work Permits provides study and work permit options to the applicants and their accompanying spouses and dependents. Beginning July 16, 2023, the new Work Permit will be open for H-1B occupation visa holders in the United States.
The new Open Work Permit will be valid for up to three years, enabling eligible applicants to work for the employer of their choice at their preferred location in Canada. It will also qualify their dependent family members for a study or work permit. The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) plans to implement the new Work Permit program for one year or till it approves 10,000 applications, whichever happens, earlier. The application cut-off will only apply to the number of principal applicants.
Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy
Canada is actively implementing the Tech Talent Strategy to attract new immigrants with the ability to make Canada the world’s top contender in the tech sector of emerging technologies. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada is planning the implementation of category-based Express Entry draws for candidates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) occupations. The successful applicants will receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to become Canadian permanent residents.
High-growth industries in Canada will generate jobs in the tech sector, attracting the world’s top talent to drive innovation. Improving the gamut of existing pathways is a step in this direction. Canada’s tech startup and business communities helped create the Tech Talent Strategy to achieve its objectives through a flexible and swift immigration approach.
Steps to attract the best talent through immigration
Canada aims to target immigrants from the tech sector by launching the Innovation Stream by the end of 2023 under the International Mobility Program. The following are the highlights of the Innovation Stream.
Open Work Permits to boost the immigration of skilled workers in targeted in-demand occupations with a validity of up to five years.
Closed work permits with five-year validity to help eligible immigrants work for companies that are significant contributors to Canada’s industrial innovation objectives.
Measures to improve existing programs
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is implementing appropriate measures to restore the 14-day service standard for processing applications under the Global Skills Strategy. The Tech Talent scheme is considering several improvements to the Start-up Visa Program to welcome more entrepreneurs in the Tech sector.
Increasing the number of spots under the Start-up Visa program each year until 2025
Increasing the validity of a work permit from one year to five years
Start-up visa applicants will get open-work permits to enable them to work for another employer
Each member of the entrepreneurial team will qualify for an open work permit with three years’ validity
Application prioritization plan to expedite processing of applications with support from angel investors and business incubators who are members of Canada’s Tech Network will come into force later this year.
The recent report by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) placed Canada in the top position as the most attractive destination for entrepreneurs immigrating to Canada. It highlighted access to capital, skilled workforce, quality of life, and strength of Canada’s universities, as the main factors.
Between 2016 and 2021, Canada’s information and communication sector accounted for the employment of 720,000 Canadians and contributed 15 percent to Canada’s overall GDP Growth. The new Tech Talent strategy will work as a catalyst to boost Canada’s ranking across engineering technologies.