In the global hunt for talent, Canada is making an attractive offer to H-1B visa holders in the US. The aim is to retain highly skilled workers within North America by providing an accessible route to the Canadian job market. The new initiative allows H-1B visa holders to apply for an open work permit, valid for up to three years. Here’s a detailed look at the policy.
Eligibility: Who Can Apply for the H-1B Visa Holder Work Permit
To qualify for this program, you must have:
- a valid H-1B specialty occupation visa, and
- currently live in the United States.
A unique feature of this policy is its provision for family members. Those living in the US and eligible to accompany you to Canada include:
- Your spouse
- Your common-law partner
- Your dependent children
These family members can apply to join you as visitors, students, or workers.
How to apply: The Application Process for the Work Permit
The application process begins by gathering the necessary documents. You need to apply online through the IRCC Portal. These include:
- A copy of your current H-1B visa
- Form I-797/I797B, Notice of Action, which confirms that your H-1B application was approved by the US government.
Proof of residence in the US, which could be:
- Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record),
- a recent utility bill,
- an income tax report, or
- any document that validates your US residence
Depending on your situation, you might also need a medical exam.
What Happens After Submitting Your Application
Once you’ve submitted your application, the processing time is typically around six weeks. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will check that your application is complete and that you meet the necessary requirements. If your application is incomplete, it will be refused without being processed.
Once your application is approved, you’ll receive an approval letter stating your eligibility to work in Canada. This is referred to as the ‘port of entry letter of introduction.’ You should bring this letter with you when you travel to Canada.
However, this letter is not your work permit. You will receive your actual work permit at the Canadian port of entry on your arrival day. The work permit will stipulate the duration and conditions under which you can work.
Understanding the Processing Fees
The processing fee for this work permit is CA $155. Additionally, a biometrics fee of $85 may apply.
Validity of the Policy
This temporary policy will remain in effect for one year or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications, whichever occurs first.
This initiative is a great opportunity for H-1B visa holders seeking to expand their horizons and experience working in Canada. It’s also a reminder of the value that skilled professionals bring to North America’s economy.
Please note that this article is intended to provide general information. Always consult the IRCC official website or CICC’s licenced immigration consultants or lawyers for advice specific to your circumstances.
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