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Canada Announces Open Work Permit for H-1B Visa Holders

Canada Announces Open Work Permit for H-1B Visa Holders

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The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will start a new open work permit pathway from July 16 to invite approximately 10,000 H-1B visa holders, currently in the USA to Canada. Experts believe that it will surely benefit many Indian tech professionals working in the USA. If selected, the H-1B visa holders will receive Canada open work permit for the duration of maximum three years. The spouses and dependants of the primary applicant will also be qualified to apply for temporary resident visa in Canada, with authorisation to work or study.

The Canada open work permit will help H-1B visa holders to explore job opportunities in the tech sector in any Canadian organisation and in the province of individual choice. Hence, it helps candidates to gain diverse work experience in the domain of advanced technology. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa in the USA. It allows tech companies based in the USA to hire foreign tech workers in certain occupations that demand technical skills and expertise.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for H-1B Visa Holders to Secure Canada Open Work Permit?

Interested candidates with H1-B visa status must meet basic eligibility criteria which are listed below -

  • Must have valid passport for more than three years
  • Must have valid H-1B authorization documents or proof of H-1B status
  • Must be in the USA along with H-1B visa

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Candidates should have a set of relevant documents, including digital photograph of applicant, birth and marriage certificates, academic transcripts and degree certificates, US PCC and PCC (where the applicant has lived for more than six months in the last ten years, are not required at the time of application), updated CV of the candidate, address history of applicant (without time lapse or gaps) in the last ten years, official and personal email IDs, current address of parents and siblings and so on.

On May 31, the IRCC announced category-specific selection through Express Entry draws in 2023. This category also includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations, as per National Occupational Classification (NOC). It shows that the tech industry in Canada requires efficient and skilled foreign workers to reduce shortage of manpower.

Inviting H-1B visa holders to Canada for three years will benefit thousands of tech workers, who are facing challenges in the evolving ecosystem in the USA. Many tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Amazon are expanding in Canada and require efficient workers to strengthen their roots and reach here. This will be an ideal opportunity for H-1B visa holders to migrate to a developed economy of Canada from the USA. The Canada open work permit is an ideal opportunity that can be availed till the 10,000 allocated seats are filled by the IRCC.

Every year 65,000 H-1B visas are issued by the USA having validity of three years and can be extended for next three years. In 2022, 72.6% of H1-B visa holders had Indian connection, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 2021, approximately 74.1% of H-1B visa holders had Indian connection.

Processing Time and Fees for H-1B Visa Holders to Secure Canada Open Work Permit?

For H-1B visa holders, the processing time for Canada open work permit is two months.

Processing Fees to Secure Work Permit

Category Amount (in CAD)
Application Fees $155
Biometrics $85
Spouse Application Fees $100
Spouse Biometrics $85
Dependant Children $150

Comparison Between Open Work Visa Canada and H-1B Visa

Factor Canada USA
Way Forward PR status not fixed
Duration open work permit can be transitioned to PR six years (max)
Requirements mandatory 67 points in Canada grid point system employer sonsorship with valid job offer
Nature of Visa free to work anywhere in Canada work with specific employer
Family Status qualified for PR status receive H-4 visa
Citizenship can secure after three years takes long time
Healthcare and Benefits available to family as well family can avail
Fee cost $2000-2300 CAD $7000-9000 CAD

Benefits of Canada Open Work Permit for H-1B Visa Holders

  • Ample job opportunities – The STEM occupations in Canada require efficient and talented tech professionals.
  • Better opportunities for family members and dependents – The spouse of primary applicant are eligible to take up regular full-time skilled occupation without any limitation or family class sponsorship.
  • Access to quality education – The dependent children of primary applicants can be enrolled in schools to get basic education which is free of cost.
  • Stability and sense of security – The developed Canadian economy and industries give rise to stability in career and opportunities for professional growth.


Canada's decision to offer an open work permit to H-1B visa holders is a game-changer for skilled professionals seeking new opportunities and a better work-life balance. This progressive policy not only benefits individual visa holders but also contributes to the growth and diversity of Canada's workforce. With the chance to work anywhere in Canada and without the need for an LMIA, H-1B visa holders can now explore exciting career possibilities in a country known for its welcoming and inclusive environment.


1. Can H-1B visa holders apply for permanent residency in Canada through the open work permit?

A - While the open work permit itself does not directly lead to permanent residency, it can provide valuable work experience that may strengthen an individual's application for permanent residency through other immigration programs.

2. Will the new policy affect the number of H-1B visas available in the U.S.?

A - No, the new Canadian policy does not impact the number of H-1B visas available in the United States. The H-1B visa program remains under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government.

3. Are there any restrictions on the type of jobs that open work permit holders can take in Canada?

A - No, open work permit holders are not job-restricted and can work in any occupation or industry in Canada.

4. Can H-1B visa holders bring their family members to Canada on the open work permit?

A - Yes, open work permit holders can apply for work permits for their spouses or common-law partners, allowing them to work in Canada as well.

5. Is there an annual quota for the open work permit for H-1B visa holders in Canada?

A - As of now, there is no specific annual quota for the open work permit. However, the policy may be subject to future changes based on the country's economic and labor market needs.

By: Pawan
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