Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy Attracts H-1B Visa Holders: 10,000 Application Limit Reached in 48 Hours

Canada's Tech Talent Strategy: 10,000 Application Limit for H-1B Visa Holders Reached Quickly

On June 27, 2023, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser launched Canada’s innovative proposal, the ‘Tech Talent Strategy,’ bringing a glimpse of hope to H-1B visa holders who have long encountered obstacles in the United States. The strategy featured an innovative scheme to give open work licenses for up to 10,000 H-1B visa holders, and after an incredible 48 hours, this limit was surpassed. This huge reaction serves as a poignant warning flag to US officials that highly desired foreign-born scientists and engineers are seeking alternate choices owing to discontent with the US immigration system.

As of July 16, 2023, H-1B speciality occupation visa holders in the US, together with their immediate family members, become able to apply for Canada’s work permit program. Unlike the restricted regulations in the US, Canada’s program allowed not just the primary visa holders but also their spouses and children aged 16 or older, making it an intriguing proposition for families seeking a fresh start.

The Canadian government’s Backgrounder disclosed that successful applicants would receive an open work permit, valid for up to three years, providing them the opportunity to work with nearly any firm across Canada. This flexibility and inclusion created an appealing prospect for many qualified immigrants who had long struggled with the constraints and uncertainties of the US immigration system.

The online application process began on July 16th, and to the amazement of many, the cap of 10,000 applications was met on July 17th, showing an unprecedented degree of interest in the program. Legal professionals and observers alike see this speedy achievement of the application limit as a strong sign of the dissatisfaction among H-1B visa holders in the US.

Despite exceeding the cap, there may still be hope for individuals who missed the initial opportunity. Lawyers acquainted with the situation think that Canada may reopen the application process to fill any remaining vacancies. To establish the amount of individuals who legitimately wish to relocate to Canada for employment, the government is likely to review the applications that did not result in the issuance of work permits.

According to Peter Rekai, a senior partner of Rekai LLP in Toronto, the process will comprise a review of those who submitted their passports for visa stamping and work permit permission. Only individuals who cross the Canadian border with the authorization will activate their work permits, providing clarity on how many positions have been utilized.

David Crawford, a partner with Fragomen in Toronto, shares Rekai’s concerns, predicting that Canadian officials will painstakingly study the existing petitions before deciding on their next course of action. It is expected that some submissions may be incomplete or ineligible, further opening the door for potential applicants who missed the first round.

While the surge of applications has been remarkable, identifying the precise number of successful participants may take several months. Similar scenarios have occurred in other Canadian immigration programs, where additional slots were opened up after reviewing eligibility.

Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy has sent a loud statement to the globe that it is aggressively embracing and attracting qualified immigrants. As the US grapples with its immigration policy, Canada’s progressive approach offers as a beacon of hope for individuals wanting an inclusive and thriving work environment.


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