US H-1B visa holders, family members can now apply for Canada work permit

In light of increasing difficulties faced by H1B visa workers, particularly those from countries like India, China, Mexico, and the Philippines, in acquiring permanent residence status in the United States, Canada has emerged as a potential sanctuary. The Canadian government, led by Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, has recently introduced four key pillars targeting the attraction of high-skilled foreign workers, promising them enhanced security and promising future prospects.

Key Takeaways for H1B Holders, Especially from India and China:

  • Canada aims to attract highly skilled individuals currently working in the U.S. under H1B visas, offering them improved job security and long-term prospects.
  • Canada’s new policy offers these workers open work permits for up to three years, providing an opportunity to explore a wide range of employment opportunities across Canada.
  • The introduction of the Innovation Stream will exempt certain highly skilled workers from the labour market impact assessment process, streamlining the hiring process for high-growth employers.
  • Canada aims to position itself as an attractive destination for skilled professionals and their families, offering potential pathways to permanent residence.
  • Canada’s existing immigration programs, such as the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-Up Visa Program, provide quick access to highly skilled talent from around the world and a pathway to permanent residence for foreign entrepreneurs.

Analyzing Canada’s Move:

This development comes as a sigh of relief for H1B visa holders from India and China, who face an extensive waiting period for Green Cards in the U.S. The new Canadian immigration policies provide an alternative path for these skilled workers, promising quicker processing times, temporary work permits, pathways to permanent residence, and a more stable environment for themselves and their families.

Although the United States offers its own unique advantages such as Ivy League universities, a warm climate, and a robust economy, its current H1B visa program often fails to provide long-term stability, career growth, and a family-supportive environment.

The U.S. could potentially learn from Canada’s immigration innovations, reconsidering its policies to ensure it remains competitive, retains global talent, and continues to lead in technological and industrial spheres. Therefore, while H1B visa holders mull over their future, it is equally critical for the U.S. to revisit its immigration policies, addressing the concerns of these workers to maintain its position on the global stage.

Canada Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on Tuesday announced. The official release by Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship also announced that the program will also allow family members to obtain study or work permits.

“Thousands of workers in high-tech fields are employed with companies that have large operations in both Canada and the US, and those working in the US often hold an H-1B speciality occupation visa. As of July 16, 2023, H-1B speciality occupation visa holders in the US, and their accompanying immediate family members, will be eligible to apply to come to Canada,” the release read.

“They will be able to work for almost any employer anywhere in Canada. Their spouses and dependants will also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, as needed,” said the release.

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