Gama Times

From July 16 onwards, individuals holding H1-B visas, along with their families, will have the chance to pursue employment prospects in Canada. With an estimated count of 400,000 H1-B visa holders in the United States, the Canadian government has imposed a cap of 10,000 on the new influx of visa holders. This initiative, introduced by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, aims to attract digital talents to Canada. It includes the implementation of a digital nomad program, allowing more foreigners to live and work in the country.

H1B visa

A Unique Opportunity in Canada

“As of July 16, Canada will establish a dedicated channel to accommodate the 10,000 H1-B visa holders currently residing in the United States. This channel will grant them the opportunity to explore work opportunities in the great land of Canada.”

To regulate the influx of H1-B visa holders, the Canadian government has set a cap of 10,000 individuals. Successful applicants will receive an unrestricted work permit, valid for up to three years. This permit allows them the freedom to pursue employment opportunities with almost any Canadian employer. Additionally, the spouses of approved applicants can apply for a temporary resident visa, providing a well-rounded experience for the entire family.

It’s important to note that this measure will be in effect for one year or until the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has received 10,000 applications. The application cap only applies to principal applicants and does not include accompanying family members.

H1-B Visa and the Thriving Tech Sector

The H1-B visa serves as a temporary work permit for foreign nationals, specifically targeting individuals specializing in certain occupational domains, particularly the thriving tech sector. Canada aims to position itself as an attractive destination for digital nomads—individuals who can carry out their professional responsibilities remotely, free from geographical limitations. These digital nomads do not require conventional work permits but can rely on their visitor status.

Under existing Canadian immigration regulations, digital nomads can relocate to Canada for up to six months at a time while fulfilling their work obligations for foreign employers. With the introduction of the digital nomad strategy, individuals associated with foreign employers can now work within Canada’s borders for up to six months. If they receive a compelling job offer during their stay, they have the option to extend their presence in Canada and continue their professional endeavors.

“We anticipate that several digital nomads who initially arrive in Canada to engage in remote work will eventually be enticed by opportunities offered by Canadian enterprises. Upon receiving a job offer from a domestic company, these individuals would have the privilege of transferring their skills to a Canadian employer by means of applying for either a temporary work permit or even permanent residency,” stated a government release.

Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy

This initiative is a crucial part of Canada’s pioneering Tech Talent Strategy, aimed at attracting exceptional talents from around the world. Canada is actively working to enhance its existing immigration programs, benefiting individuals engaged in high-skilled tech occupations. Notable programs include the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-up Visa Program.

The Global Skills Strategy, introduced in 2017, encompasses four policies that support Canadian employers in accessing highly skilled talents quickly. Processing times for Global Skills Strategy work permit applications have returned to normalcy after experiencing delays during the pandemic. Employment and Social Development Canada is meeting the two-week standard for processing Global Talent Stream labor market impact assessments, while the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is fulfilling the two-week standard for processing work permit applications.

The Start-up Visa Program provides a pathway to permanent residence for foreign entrepreneurs who secure backing from designated Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor organizations, or business incubators for their innovative start-up ventures. To address long wait times faced by applicants, Canada has increased the number of spots for the Start-up Visa Program in 2023, with further increases planned for 2024 and 2025. Changes have also been made to the temporary work permit option, allowing applicants to apply for an open work permit valid for up to three years, rather than a one-year permit restricted to their own start-ups. These modifications aim to provide greater convenience and appeal to founders establishing themselves in Canada while awaiting the processing of their permanent residence applications.

The revised work permit will be available to all members of the entrepreneurial team, expanding the scope beyond essential personnel required in Canada as per previous stipulations. Applications supported by venture capital, angel investor groups, and business incubators with committed capital will receive priority, along with applications supported by business incubators that are members of Canada’s Tech Network. These changes to the temporary work permit option and the implementation of a new application prioritization plan are expected to be in effect later this year.

Additionally, Canada plans to introduce the International Mobility Program (IMP), enabling Canadian employers to hire foreign workers without the requirement of a labor market impact assessment (LMIA). The Innovation Stream, set to be launched soon, offers a new avenue to attract skilled workers to Canada for building innovative businesses. It will include employer-specific work permits for up to five years for workers joining companies identified by the Canadian government as contributors to industrial innovation goals. Open work permits, valid for up to five years, will also be available for highly skilled individuals in select occupations.

Canada’s Position as an Attractive Destination

In a 2023 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada claimed the top spot as the most attractive destination for immigrant entrepreneurs. The rankings considered factors such as access to capital, corporate tax rates, workforce skills, quality of universities, quality of life, and immigration policies governing entrepreneurs and their families.

“We are enthusiastic about the ambitious immigration goals we have set, as they transcend mere numerical targets and are strategically designed to position Canada as a global leader in emerging technologies. The development of Canada’s first-ever immigration Tech Talent Strategy is the result of valuable input from the tech, start-up, and business communities. Having a fast and flexible approach, one that is widely supported by Canadians, truly embodies Canada’s advantage in the realm of immigration,” expressed Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Canada’s efforts to attract global talent and foster innovation in the technological landscape reaffirm its position as a desirable destination for skilled workers and entrepreneurs. The country offers opportunities for personal and professional growth, making it an appealing choice for individuals seeking new horizons in their careers.


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