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Canada opens a pathway to an open work permit for Americans with H-1B visas

Canada opens a pathway to an open work permit for Americans

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Open Work Permit for Americans: As of right now, those with an H-1B specialty occupation visa from the United States may be able to apply to work and live in Canada.

The initiative, which aims to increase labour mobility in North America, was unveiled by Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, on June 27. It might have an effect on thousands of workers in high-tech companies in both Canada and the US, as well as their close relatives.

A three-year open work visa will be given to those who are accepted. With an open work permit, people can work for nearly any Canadian firm. They can also apply for employment or study permits for their spouses and dependents as necessary.

The policy, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), will remain in effect for a year or until a maximum of 10,000 applicants have been processed. This cap only applies to major applicants; family members are not included.

Qualifications for the open work permit for H-1B visa holders in Canada

In order to be eligible for Canada’s open work permit for H-1B visa holders:

  • You must currently reside in the United States and 
  • have a valid H-1B specialized occupation visa 

You’ll need the following to apply for an open work permit:

  • A copy of your current H-1B visa
  • Form I-797/I797B, Notice of Action, which serves as confirmation that the U.S. government accepted your H-1B application.
  • Evidence showing you are a resident of the United States, such as a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, a recent utility bill, an income tax return, or another similar document.

IRCC focuses on STEM occupations

The inaugural Express Entry draw for candidates with experience in STEM fields was scheduled to take place, according to IRCC’s announcement on June 28. The draw is a component of the category-based selection standards that the Minister made public on May 31.

On July 5, the department followed through and extended invitations to 500 applicants with STEM job experience, many of whom would also be qualified for the new H-1B open work permit. Those who received invitations had already submitted applications through Express Entry.

For persons having work experience in particular vocational domains, there are five new Express Entry categories. For those having a command of the French language, the sixth category is appropriate. Following research and consultation with IRCC partners, stakeholders, and provincial and territory governments—which are perhaps more aware of local workforce shortages—the categories were chosen.

According to the IRCC, inviting applicants through the Express Entry STEM category was a significant step in Canada’s commitment to luring top international talent and maintaining its leadership position in global R&D and innovation.

For instance, the Canadian government said in Budget 2023 that it will invest $20 billion to promote the construction of significant clean electricity and infrastructure projects for economic growth. A significant portion of this progress will need on the expertise of STEM specialists.

Canada’s plan for enticing IT talent

In addition to creating a new Innovation Stream for the International Mobility Program (IMP) in addition to the 3-year open work visa for H-1B holders, IRCC is also working on this project. By the end of this year, according to Minister Fraser, the Innovation Stream will be introduced.

The feedback provided by stakeholders over numerous recent consultations is being used to build and inform the stream’s possibilities.

There are two possibilities being thought about.

  • Worker-specific work permits for up to five years for those going to companies that the Canadian government has selected as supporting its goal of industrial innovation
  • Highly qualified workers in several in-demand occupations may be given open work permits for up to five years.

The minister also disclosed that the Global Skills Strategy would reinstate the 14-day service requirement for work permits, promote Canada as a destination for digital nomads, and make improvements to the Start-up Visa Program, such as allocating more spots and extending the work permit’s duration from one to three years.

Job openings in STEM in Canada

In April, there were 42,900 positions open in professional, scientific, and technical services, down from 73,600 at its peak in April 2022 by 7,700 (-15.2%) and 30,600 (-41.6%) respectively. These figures are from Statistics Canada’s most recent data on job vacancies.

The most open positions are still to be found in Ontario and Quebec. Ontario recently eliminated the requirement for Canadian work experience for immigrants pursuing engineering licensing in order to assist in filling these vacancies, particularly in the STEM field.

On June 30, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development of Ontario also declared that regulated professions in Ontario would have six months to decide whether to register newcomers with foreign training and to communicate their choice. This legislation intends to make it simpler for skilled newcomers to fill job openings and bridge the skills gap, especially in licensed professions like several in the STEM fields.

Summary on Open Work Permit for Americans:

  1. Allowed to live and work.
  2. Labour Mobility Benefits.
  3. Three-Year Open Work Visa.
  4. Family permits.
  5. Limited Duration.
  6. STEM Professionals Invited.

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