H-1B Visa

Canada Announces Clarifications for H-1B Visa Holders: What You Need to Know

On June 5, 2024, the Canadian government provided new details about its policies for American H-1B visa holders. These clarifications are significant for those looking to live and work in Canada. This article will break down the key points of these policies, ensuring you understand the opportunities available.

Background of the Policy Changes

On July 16, 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched a temporary public policy. This policy allowed certain H-1B visa holders from the United States to work in Canada without the need for a work permit. The aim was to make it easier for these skilled workers and their families to move to Canada.

However, the initial policy had a cap of 10,000 applications and expired on July 17, 2023, after reaching this limit. The policy is no longer accepting new applications. Despite this, Canada has introduced additional measures to further assist H-1B visa holders and their families.

New Measures Introduced

In response to the high demand, two new public policies were enacted on September 27, 2023, and December 16, 2023. These policies introduce several new measures:

  • Processing Additional Applications: Applications that were submitted after the initial policy’s expiration but before the closure of the online portal are now being processed, even if they exceed the original 10,000 cap.
  • Extended Application Period for Families: Family members of H-1B visa holders can continue to apply for open work permits until September 28, 2024. This extension provides more flexibility for families planning their move to Canada.
  • Fee Exemption for Minor Children: Minor children (aged 17 and under) of H-1B visa holders are exempt from the $150 study permit processing fee. To qualify, these children must have an open work permit and must apply for their study permit before September 28, 2024. This measure aims to ease the financial burden on families.
  • Work Permit Renewals: H-1B visa holders already in Canada with work permits valid for less than three years can extend their permits up to the full three-year maximum. The extension application must be received before December 16, 2024. This measure ensures that workers can stay in Canada longer, contributing their skills to the Canadian economy.
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How to Apply

Instructions for applying under these new measures were released on March 18, 2024. It’s important to follow these guidelines carefully to ensure your application is processed smoothly. The detailed instructions cover all necessary steps and documentation required for a successful application.

Benefits of the New Policies

These new policies are beneficial for several reasons. They provide greater flexibility and security for H-1B visa holders and their families. By allowing additional applications and extending deadlines, Canada is showing its commitment to attracting skilled workers. The fee exemptions for minor children and the ability to extend work permits further enhance the appeal of moving to Canada.

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Moreover, these measures align with Canada’s broader immigration goals. By welcoming skilled workers, Canada aims to boost its economy and address labor shortages in various sectors. The policies also reflect Canada’s inclusive approach, making it an attractive destination for families looking to settle in a new country.

The recent clarifications by the Canadian government provide significant opportunities for H-1B visa holders and their families. With the new measures in place, moving to Canada has become more accessible and appealing. If you are an H-1B visa holder or a family member, it’s crucial to stay informed and take advantage of these policies before the deadlines.

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Canada’s commitment to attracting skilled workers is clear. By offering these benefits and extensions, Canada continues to position itself as a top destination for talent from around the world. Make sure to follow the application instructions and deadlines to benefit from these opportunities.

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