Open Now: Canada’s New Work Permit for H1B Visa Holders Offers Exciting Opportunities

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Published on July 16, 2023

Canada has taken a significant step towards attracting highly skilled tech professionals by launching a new work permit program exclusively for H1B visa holders from the United States. This program, unveiled by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, aims to tap into the vast pool of talent in the tech industry. It offers an open work permit that can be obtained for up to three years, allowing H1B visa holders and their families to explore exciting career opportunities and experience the vibrant Canadian tech ecosystem.

Opening Doors for Tech Talent

The recently introduced work permit program serves as a gateway for H1B visa holders looking to broaden their horizons and contribute to Canada’s thriving tech landscape. By providing an open work permit, the Canadian government aims to foster innovation and strengthen the country’s position as a global hub for technology and innovation. This initiative reflects Canada’s commitment to attracting top-tier talent from around the world and creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Key Program Details

Under the new work permit program, eligible H1B visa holders can apply for a work permit that remains valid for up to three years. The program also extends benefits to family members, allowing spouses and children to accompany the primary applicants and pursue their own educational and employment opportunities in Canada. With a cap of 10,000 principal applicants, interested individuals are encouraged to submit their applications promptly to secure a place in this program.

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Eligibility Criteria and Application Process

To be eligible for the work permit program, H1B visa holders must meet certain requirements. The primary applicant must

  • hold a valid passport,
  • provide proof of their H-1B visa status, and
  • demonstrate residency in the United States.

Spouses or dependents accompanying the primary applicant must also possess a valid passport and provide evidence of their relationship. The application process involves creating an account on GCKey, receiving an invite code, and submitting the application through the IRCC portal.

Advantages of Canadian Experience

While the new work permit program does not provide a direct path to permanent residency for H1B visa holders, gaining Canadian work experience can significantly enhance their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. This score is crucial for eligibility in various immigration programs, including the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). By working in Canada, H1B visa holders can increase their chances of qualifying for permanent residency and enjoying the benefits of Canadian citizenship.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

In addition to the potential pathways through the CEC, H1B visa holders can explore opportunities offered by provincial nominee programs (PNPs). These programs target specific occupations and are designed to address labor market needs in various provinces. By leveraging their Canadian work experience, H1B visa holders can increase their chances of obtaining permanent residency through PNPs, further solidifying their integration into Canadian society.


Canada’s new work permit program for H1B visa holders marks a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to attract global tech talent. The introduction of an open work permit, along with the inclusion of family members, reflects Canada’s commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for skilled professionals. By leveraging Canadian work experience, H1B visa holders can enhance their eligibility for permanent residency and contribute to Canada’s ever-evolving tech industry.

For H1B visa holders seeking new avenues for professional growth, the work permit program opens doors to exciting opportunities in one of the world’s leading tech ecosystems. As Canada continues to prioritize innovation, diversity, and global talent, this program provides a valuable platform for H1B visa holders to thrive and contribute to the growth and success of Canada’s tech sector.

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