Canada Offers 10,000 Visas to U.S. H-1B Holders

By David North on June 30, 2023

In a new move, the Canadian government has offered 10,000 visas to foreign workers in the U.S. who have H-1B visas, according to Indian website Money/Control, which reported:

By July 16, the Canadian government will create an open work-permit stream to allow 10,000 American H-1B visa holders to come and work in Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser said on Tuesday.

Approved applicants for the new programme will receive an open work permit of up to three years in duration, which means they will be able to work for almost any employer anywhere in Canada. Their spouses and dependants will also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, as needed.

It is not immediately clear whether the program’s limit is 10,000 for workers per se or for both workers and family members, but the other provisions appear more generous than those of the American H-1B program. For example, the worker’s ability to “work for just about any employer in Canada” is a broader grant than that available to H-1Bs working in the U.S.

Further, the concept that all spouses in the Canadian program may “apply for a work ... permit as needed” appears to be more sweeping than the U.S. program, which applies only to a subset of the more senior H-1B workers’ spouses.

Finally, it appears that conversion from nonimmigrant to immigrant status in Canada will be easier than in the U.S. in which country-of-origin ceilings slow the process to many years, if not decades, for those H-1Bs from India and China.

It will be interesting to see how quickly this quota of 10,000, no matter how defined, is filled.

This program is in addition to other, on-going parts of the Canadian immigration system which can be, and has been, used by H-1B workers to get jobs in Canada.