Using Your U.S. H-1B Visa in Canada: The Ultimate Guide

Recently, U.S. tech giants have announced layoffs, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of foreign workers working in U.S. companies. In these testing times, Canada has announced a new immigration policy which is a relief for high-skilled individuals. According to the Tech Talent Strategy policy announced by the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, Canada will allow work permits for U.S. H-1B visa holders.

If you are a U.S. H-1B visa holder and are willing to move to Canada, you have come to the right place. This article will provide an ultimate guide about Canadian Policy, the rules, employment opportunities in Canada and the timelines to apply for this opportunity. 

What is Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy?

Canada has been introducing new measures to attract a highly skilled workforce, to move into the country and has been successful in attracting skilled professionals. In continuation of this policy, on June 27, 2023, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Sean Fraser announced the Tech Talent Strategy.

The policy aims to positively contribute to the economic development of the country by attracting a highly skilled workforce and to provide incentives to foreigners and making Canada a tech hub. 

In order to achieve this goal, the government has announced reforms in the immigration policy, and the most important change is the announcement of open work permit for H-1B visa holders. 

Open work permits to individuals with a US H-1B visa

According to this policy, Canada will provide open work permits to individuals with a US H-1B visa to move to Canada. The government has announced that the policy is temporary and only 10,000 individuals can benefit from this opportunity in 2023. However, there are possibilities that the government will expand the program and increase the number with each passing year.

Canada's Tech Talent Strategy

Who can Apply for the Open Work Permit?

In order to apply for the Open Work Permit, it is mandatory to have a valid U.S. H-1B visa. So, if you are a H-1B visa holder and finding it difficult to live in the USA, or want to explore new employment, you can apply for this opportunity. 

Individuals in fields including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) will be given preference as the objective is to make Canada a tech hub.

Why should I apply for an Open Work Permit?

Here’s why:

  1. If your application is accepted, you can move to Canada with your family. The U.S. also allows family members to stay in the country but it does not allow work permit. Only the spouses of H-1B visa holders with pending green card applications are eligible for employment authorization. Whereas, in Canada, not only you, but also your family members will be entitled to job permits.
  1. If your application is approved, you will receive an open work permit of up to three years. It means you can move to Canada without any employment contract in Canada and after moving you can apply for a job. You do not need any employer to apply for this opportunity.
  1. If your application is approved, you can work for almost any employer anywhere in Canada and you are not dependent on your employer to stay in the country.
  1. The U.S. has imposed limits on applications from each country, due to which highly skilled nationals from countries like India are negatively affected. If you are from such a country, you don’t have to worry, because Canada has not imposed any limitations based on the nationality of the highly skilled workforce.

Who is likely to benefit from Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy?

Three categories of H-1B visa holders are most likely to benefit from the Canadian policy. These include:

  1. Individuals who are experiencing layoff in the United States and they are unable to find a new job within 60 days can move to Canada on an open work permit, if they are not willing to return to their country of origin.
  1. The percentage of permanent residence based on employment-based immigrant visas is very low due to the country wise limit and other restrictions. Due to which, professionals have to wait for decades to obtain permanent residence. Whereas, the immigration policy of Canada is comparatively better and individuals who are looking for permanent residence can move to Canada on an open work permit and within a few years, they will be able to obtain permanent residence in Canada.
  1. H-1B visa is temporary and once the visa expires, individuals have to apply for an extension. Although, in the majority of cases, an extension is granted. But there have been cases of denial. For example, under the Trump administration, denial rates of H-1B petitions for continuing employment reached 12 per cent. Therefore, individuals whose request for extension has been denied can avail the open work permit opportunity offered by Canada.
  1. This policy is also viable for U.S. companies that want to retain foreign employees but are unable to do so due to the immigration restrictions imposed by the government.

If you fall in any of the above categories, you should definitely explore the open work permit opportunity in Canada.

What is the Deadline to apply for an Open Work Permit?

The Canadian government has announced to open registration on 16th July 2023, and the applications will remain open for a year. However, the government has imposed limits on the number of visas; therefore, although the opportunity is valid for one year, it will remain valid until 10,000 applications are received.

Once the government receives the 10,000 applications, it will automatically close. As the number of willing candidates is very high, it is likely that the government will receive the targeted applications within a short span of time.

US H1B Visa holders open work permit deadline in Canada

If you are a US H-1B visa holder and you are willing to move to Canada, you should start exploring your options. As time is short and competition is high, it is best to consult professionals who have expertise in Canadian immigration law. These professionals will provide expert advice to make sure that you are among the 10,000 lucky individuals who will get a chance of an open work permit in Canada.

Reach out to Juriscorp Law

We, at Juriscorp Law, have a team of legal professionals who can help with your immigration, employment related questions in Canada. Our team can review your profile, ensure compliance with the requirements and can advise you on the best direction.

Get in touch with us for a free consultation.

3 replies on “Using Your U.S. H-1B Visa in Canada: The Ultimate Guide”


Can I apply for this Canada work permit if my H1b has not been stamped yet but is approved? I only have the visa application number but not the visa number itself to put in the application?

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