August 10, 2023

New route for H-1B Visa Holders to enter Canada

There will soon be another route for H-1B speciality visa holders in the United States to reside and be employed in Canada.

Effective July 16, H-1B holders can apply for a new Canadian Open Work Permit (OWP) in addition to the current permanent and temporary options. With this new work visa, qualifying H-1B workers will be able to find employment in Canada for up to three years, together with their spouses and dependents. Until the program’s quota of 10,000 applications is reached in 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will accept applications for the new OWP for a period of one year.

You might be wondering if you can apply for both a Canadian work permit and permanent residency at the same time if you have an H-1B visa.

In a nutshell, yes, and there are a few strong reasons for this.

Advantages of simultaneously applying for H-1B OWP and Express Entry

While the majority of work permit applications submitted outside of Canada are processed within 60 days, some service standards, like those for the Global Talent Stream, are more lenient.

If you wish to apply for permanent residence in Canada and you already meet the eligibility requirements, you can do so via the Express Entry application management system. The primary method through which the Canadian government handles applications for skilled worker immigration is Express Entry. Candidates in the Express Entry pool are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score after being assessed on a number of human capital parameters. The likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence increases with test score.

If you’ve never lived or worked in Canada, it’s likely that you’ll need to determine your eligibility under the FSWP (Federal Skilled Worker Program) if you want to apply for Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry.

Express Entry has a service standard that requires applications for permanent residence to be processed within six months, which is one of its key benefits.

This implies you can upload your Express Entry profile onto the Canadian government’s website, and use the H1-B OWP as a way of entering Canada to live and work while you are seeking permanent residence.

Additionally it is advantageous to apply for the OWP first and Express Entry after arriving in Canada. A better CRS score may increase your likelihood of receiving an ITA by producing at least 12 months of admissible work experience in Canada.

Another benefit of having at least one year of eligible Canadian work experience is that you can qualify for Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program, which will excuse you from having to show that you have enough settlement funds, as required under the FSWP.

In general, H-1B visa holders are in a good position to use Express Entry to petition for permanent residency since they have high human capital, such as specialized work experience, post secondary education, and proficient English language skills. The IRCC Express Entry year-end report for 2021 demonstrates this by listing the United States as one of the top five places of residence (not necessarily citizenship) for Express Entry ITA holders between 2019 and 2021.

Express Entry for STEM-related professions

Earlier this year, Canada’s immigration minister, Sean Fraser, unveiled a tech talent strategy that aims to strengthen Canada’s standing as a desirable location for highly qualified tech employees. One element is the H-1B OWP, but another important one is the recently implemented category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates with particular, in-demand jobs.

The purpose of category-based Express Entry rounds of invitations is to choose the economic immigration applicants who can best close vital labour shortages in Canada’s economy, as opposed to just granting ITAs based on a high CRS score. Following consultations with provinces, territories, partners, and stakeholders to determine the most urgent job openings and skills shortfalls, the IRCC selected the categories. The six new categories include 82 professions that qualify.

There are 35 occupations that fall under the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) category for Express Entry. On July 5, 500 applicants were invited to the first round of STEM job invitations, which required a minimum CRS score of 486.

According to IRCC’s 2021 Express Entry report, software engineers and designers, information systems analysts and consultants, computer programmers and interactive media developers were continuously rated in the top jobs for ITA recipients between 2019-2021. These occupations are all listed under the eligible occupations for Express Entry STEM candidates.

Know Other routes for Tech Talent

A new innovation stream under the International Mobility Program, promoting Canada as a more desirable location for digital nomads, and making desired changes to current tech immigration programs like the Global Talent Stream and the Start-up Visa Program are all included in Canada’s new tech talent strategy.

Even if they are not in the Express Entry application pool, H-1B holders can still seek nomination through a tech stream of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). A non-Express Entry application is strengthened when it receives a province nomination, which is very advantageous when seeking for permanent residency. Obtaining a provincial nomination might boost your CRS score by 600 points if you are an Express Entry candidate. You are almost certain to get an Express Entry ITA for permanent residence with these 600 CRS points.

With the exception of Quebec and Nunavut, the majority of Canadian provinces and territories are free to submit nominations for the applicants they deem most suitable for their respective labour markets. Additionally, many provinces have PNPs for IT applicants with specialized streams. For instance, Ontario recently staged a draw aimed towards IT candidates in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. British Columbia also often holds draws for tech candidates.

In conclusion, there are numerous routes to obtaining permanent residence in Canada. Eduflyx Immigration and Educational Advisory Services assists everyone no matter from which country you belong to. We make sure to guide you in your dreams come true.