New work permits will be open in Canada to Americans with H-1B: Today, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser unveiled new initiatives to draw in more foreign IT talent. These steps constitute the introduction of the “first-ever Tech Talent Strategy” in Canada, according to Fraser and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
New H-1B open-work permit valid for three years
By establishing a streamlined work permit application process for US citizens with H-1B specialized occupation visas who want to move to Canada, IRCC will increase labour mobility in North America. At the moment, a lot of people working in high-tech industries are hired by businesses that have operations in both the US and Canada, and those who work in the US frequently have an H-1B speciality occupation visa.
H1-B visa holders in the US and their accompanying immediate family members will be able to seek to move to Canada starting on July 16th, 2023. The applicants who are accepted will be given an open work permit that is valid for three years and allows them to work for nearly any employer in Canada. In addition, they may be able to petition for a temporary resident visa on behalf of their spouses and dependents.
According to IRCC, this will increase the opportunity for qualified workers to continue pursuing jobs in high-tech industries and support economic expansion in North America. This policy will be in place for a year or until the IRCC receives 10,000 applications, whichever comes first.
The IMP’s New Innovation Stream
To draw in extremely bright people, IRCC will create a new Innovation Stream within the International Mobility Program. There are still labour shortages in critical tech occupations, according to stakeholder interviews with the industry, thus increasing Canada’s talent pool should remain a priority.
As a result, by the end of 2023, the Canadian government will introduce a new Innovation Stream that will exempt firms and skilled employees from the LMIA procedure in order to promote the country’s innovation priorities and high-tech industries.
IRCC is weighing two possibilities:
- Employer-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
- For highly trained employees in certain in-demand professions, open work permits may be granted for up to five years.
Attracting digital nomads
Additionally, the IRCC will advertise Canada as a location for digital nomads. A digital nomad is someone who can work remotely from any location on Earth. In the next months, IRCC will work with public and commercial partners to assess whether more regulations to entice digital nomads to Canada are necessary.
A digital nomad who works remotely for a foreign employer is permitted to stay in Canada for up to six months as a guest under current immigration laws. IRCC anticipates that some of these digital nomads may choose to seek employment with Canadian businesses once they arrive in the country, taking their abilities with them by requesting a temporary work permit or permanent residence.
STEM-specific Express Entry draw under category-based draws
For Express Entry applicants, IRCC is also starting category-based selection drawings. Candidates for Express Entry who have a solid command of the French language or employment experience in a variety of sectors, such as the STEM fields, will be given preference by IRCC.
The categories were selected in light of projected and actual labour market shortages, as well as feedback from IRCC partners, provinces, territories, and other stakeholders across the nation. At the end of 2022, Statistics Canada published a report that identified a skills gap in Canada’s STEM labour force.
Upgrades to current tech programs
Finally, IRCC will enhance current initiatives like the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-Up Visa (SUV) program that support workers in high-skill IT jobs.
The goal of the Global Skills Strategy is to assist Canadian firms who are looking for quick access to highly qualified personnel worldwide. After delays throughout the epidemic, IRCC processing times for these work permits have returned to the two-week norm. Additionally, Employment and Social Development Canada is processing LMIAs for firms under the Global Talent Stream in less than the required two weeks.
For foreign business owners who get funding from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor organization, or business incubator for their startup, the Start Up Visa (SUV) program offers a route to permanent residence.
More spaces were made available under this program, going from 1,000 to 3,500, to meet the long applicant waitlists. This means that the number of permanent residents anticipated in the Federal Business category for 2023 has tripled, and it is anticipated that this number will rise even further in 2024 and 2025.
The temporary work permit option for SUV applicants will also be changed by the IRCC so that they can now apply for an open work permit of up to three years rather than a one-year work permit that only allows them to work for their own start-up.
This is in response to comments from stakeholders who have made it apparent that start-up business owners might not be able to make a full wage and that giving them the chance to generate additional income elsewhere might reduce the stress of money on these people and their families.
The work permit will be made available to all members of the company team. Before this revelation, work permits could only be applied for by members of the entrepreneurial team who were deemed to be crucial and urgently required in Canada.
Applications that are backed by committed funding or approved by a business incubator that is a part of Canada’s Tech network will also be given priority by IRCC and moved to the front of the processing queue.