Employment Options in Canada If you Hold an H-1B Visa

Last updated: 6 May 2022

Employment Options in Canada If you Hold an H 1 B Visa v2

This comprehensive CanadaVisa page provides you with an overview of your Canadian work permit options if you hold an H-1B visa in the US.

The H-1B visa allows US employers to hire foreign workers in certain specialty occupations. It is widely utilized by foreign IT professionals, as many of the specialty occupations commonly associated with the H-1B are related to IT. However, challenges with the visa and Canada's open immigration system are resulting in more H-1B holders moving to Canada.

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While providing a promising avenue through which skilled foreign nationals can come work in the United States, the H-1B program is plagued with issues, making the US a less viable option for foreign workers. The time limitation on H-1B visas, for example, is a frequent problem; these types of visas can be granted for three years and then can be extended for three additional years, after which point the foreign national must remain outside of the U.S. for at least one full year.

Given these and other problems frequently encountered with H-1B visas, many foreign nationals are turning their sights to Canada in terms of their next employment opportunity. Canada offers several options with respect to work authorization that either have similar eligibility criteria to the H1-B visas, or that present the possibility of the foreign national continuing their career in North America:

Global Talent Stream

Global Talent Stream: This is a facilitated work permit option that targets foreign nationals working in the IT sector. Many of the occupations eligible for this work permit constitute “specialty occupation” as defined in the H-1B program, making the transition to a Canadian work permit easier;

Intra-Company Transfers

Intra-Company Transfer: Many of the foreign national on H-1B visas work for multinational companies that have a presence in Canada. Certain categories of workers on H-1B visas can be eligible for a facilitated Canadian work permit through an Intra-Company Transfer;

Intra-Company Transfer Start Up: Foreign nationals working for U.S. companies looking to establish a presence in Canada can be eligible for facilitated work permits that will allow them to work in Canada in order to begin operations of a Canadian branch, subsidiary, or affiliate;

CUSMA (Formerly NAFTA)

CUSMA: Mexican citizens on an H-1B visa in Canada can be eligible for a facilitated work permit through the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement if they are qualified to work in a given occupation and are coming to working Canada in this capacity. A complete list of eligible occupations can be found here;

Business Visitors

Business Visitors: H-1B visa holders needing to come to Canada for work-related reasons can qualify as business visitors in certain scenarios and are therefore exempt from the requirement for a work permit.

Contact the Cohen Immigration Law for Assistance 

The Cohen Immigration Law offers over 45 years of expertise. We are experts in helping individuals, companies, and TV and film productions obtain work permits in Canada. We are here to assist you.

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