Canada's Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that the Canadian government is creating an open work-permit stream to allow approximately 10,000 American H-1B visa holders to come and work in the country.
Canada's Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship released an official statement on Tuesday, 27 June, announcing that the programme will also consider provisions for study or work permits for the family members of H-1B visa holders.
The statement reads: "Thousands of workers in high-tech fields are employed with companies that have large operations in both Canada and the US, and those working in the US often hold an H-1B speciality occupation visa. As of 16 July 2023, H-1B speciality occupation visa holders in the US, and their accompanying immediate family members, will be eligible to apply to come to Canada."
H-1B visa holders can temporarily work in the United States in selected specialised occupations, including the technology sector. According to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace survey, nearly 75 per cent of H-1B visa holders were Indian in 2020 and 2021.
Applicants granted approval under this programme will be issued an open work permit that can last for a maximum of three years.
The release stated that these approved applicants "will be able to work for almost any employer anywhere in Canada."
It further clarified that spouses and dependants of the approved applicants would be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa with a work or study permit.
According to a report by Canada-based CBC News, Fraser confirmed that by the end of 2023, the federal government would be on course to create an immigration pathway specifically designed for highly skilled individuals from around the world, which will enable them to come to Canada and work for technology companies, regardless of whether they hold a job offer or not.
The qualification criteria and the number of admissions the stream would allow have yet to be revealed.