Canada Immigration Guide for H1B Visa Holders

Published on: November 8th, 2023
Last updated: December 11th, 2023

If you currently hold an H1B visa, whether residing in the United States or another country, you stand as a robust candidate for Canada’s immigration pathway. This route often proves to be a more efficient and expeditious alternative compared to pursuing a Green Card in the United States.

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If you are considering moving to Canada, it’s important to learn about the various immigration options and their specific requirements. Explore the different pathways through which H1B visa holders can establish themselves in Canada as skilled foreign workers.

 

Immigration Options for H1B Visa Holders

1. Express Entry Canada

Under the Express Entry Program, if you are a highly skilled worker with experience in sectors such as healthcare, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Trade, Transport or Agriculture and agri-food occupations, there are three major federal Canadian economic immigration programs that you can apply to:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

 

If you meet the eligibility requirements for one of the programs managed by Express Entry, you can submit a profile to the Express Entry pool.

Once in the pool, your profile will receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on things like your age, level of education, and work experience. The highest-ranking candidates are issued invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in periodic Express Entry draws.

As a skilled worker in the United States, you are most likely to meet the requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker program.

However, most Canadian provinces also offer pathways to permanent residence for skilled workers. While eligibility requirements and application procedures vary between provinces, there may be an option for you. If you are eligible for a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), you can apply to the province for a provincial nomination.

If you are successful, you can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

 

 

2. Provincial Nominee Programs (For Different Profiles)

Each of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories operates its own immigration programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs. As the provinces have different populations and economies, their immigration programs are unique and built to fit their economic and demographic needs.

PNPs are a popular option because they can be the fastest pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

If you are nominated through a PNP which is aligned with Express Entry, you will receive an additional 600 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. This means you are essentially guaranteed to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in the next Express Entry draw.

Don’t know what your CRS score is?  Find out now using our CRS Score Calculator! 

There are several Provincial Nominee Programs available for individuals with experience in various sectors. Some of these provincial programs include the Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream, the Regular Skilled Worker Program (RSWP) of Quebec, , as well as the Alberta Opportunity Stream. Your eligibility for these programs depends on your education level and the sector in which you have experience.

Tech workers can discover specialized immigration pathways to Canada through various Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), each uniquely catering to the needs of specific provinces. These programs offer harmonious routes for skilled professionals in the technology sector, ensuring a seamless integration into the Canadian workforce.

Some notable programs, such as the British Columbia PNP Tech and the Quebec Permanent Immigration Pilot Program, specifically target tech workers, focusing on areas like artificial intelligence, information technologies, and visual effects. These initiatives not only facilitate a smoother immigration process but also present opportunities for tech professionals to contribute their expertise to Canada’s thriving technological landscape.

If you are interested in receiving a personalized assessment of your options based on your profile, please complete our online assessment form.

 

Working in Canada as an H1B visa Holder

1. Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) – Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a component of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) designed by the Canadian government to streamline the work permit process for certain Canadian employers, allowing them to compete globally.

Launched in 2017, the GTS operates through two categories: Category A, where employers must be referred by designated partners to hire unique and specialized talent, and Category B, which allows employers to hire highly-skilled foreign talent for specific occupations.

Common requirements for both categories include a $1000 CAD application fee, business legitimacy documentation, and a Labour Market Benefits Plan showcasing the impact on the Canadian labour market.

Successful applicants must obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before applying for a work permit. The application process involves securing a positive LMIA, followed by the employee’s application for a Canadian work permit.

2. International Mobility Program – Intra-Company Transfers

Canada’s International Mobility Program extends provisions for highly skilled foreign workers, to temporarily work in Canada as intra-company transferees. This opportunity allows employees of multinational companies in the U.S. to obtain an LMIA-exempt work permit and transfer to one of the company’s Canadian locations. To qualify, both the employee and the multinational company must meet some specific requirements:

For the Employee:

  • Employment with a multinational company.
  • The Canadian enterprise must have a qualifying relationship (parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate).
  • Position at the executive level, senior managerial level, or requiring specialized knowledge.
  • At least 1 year of full-time employment with the company in the previous 3 years.

For the Multinational Company:

  • The enterprise outside Canada and the one inside must have a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate relationship.
  • Both enterprises must be actively engaged in providing goods and services regularly and continuously.

Furthermore, individuals working in the United States benefit from the CUSMA trade agreement, which offers additional Intra-Company Transfer options, creating valuable opportunities for qualified professionals.

 

In conclusion, exploring the various pathways for an H1B visa holder to Work or Immigrate to Canada can be a complex task. Whether you’re considering Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs, International Mobility Program or Study in Canada, it’s essential to make informed decisions that align with your unique circumstances.

We understand that this process can be daunting, which is why we encourage you to reach out to the experts at Canadim. Our team of dedicated professionals can guide you in evaluating your options, tailoring them to your profile, experience, and the province you aspire to call home.

 

Don’t hesitate to take that first step towards your Canadian dream – contact us today, and let us help turn your immigration aspirations into reality. Take our free immigration assessment to get started!

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