Update: All About Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy Open Work Permit for H1B Visa Holders

Published on: June 28th, 2023
Last updated: July 18th, 2023

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, announced Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy to attract and retain highly qualified individuals in the tech industry. As of July 17th, 2023, this program closed after accepting the maximum number of applications.

Explore other options for H1B visa holders

Among the announced provisions are a new Canadian open work permit for certain H1-B specialty occupation visa holders which will allow successful applicants to work in Canada for up to 3 years for almost any employer, anywhere in Canada. This new program opened on July 16th, 2023. After accepting 10,000 applications, this pathway is closed as of July 18th for further applications for the time being. So far there hasn’t been an announcement of whether or not it will open again in the future for more applicants.

Who qualifies for the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit?

This program is designed to attract highly skilled applicants who hold a USA H1-B specialty occupation visa. To qualify for this open work permit, you need to

  • have a valid H-1B specialty occupation visa and
  • currently live in the US.

How do I apply for the Tech Talent Strategy for H1B visa holders’ 3-year open work permit?

The IRCC are accepting applications for this open work permit through the IRCC portal.

What documents do I need to apply for the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit?

Applicants will need to provide the following documents as part of their application:

  • Copy of H1B specialty occupation visa and I-797 Notice of Action;
  • Copy of passport and civil status documents;
  • Proof of USA residence;
  • Proof of financial stability;
  • Digital photo.

Some applicants may need a medical examination.

Applicants must also be prepared to provide details on their education, employment and travel history.

How much does the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit cost?

Like all open work permit applications, the applicant will need to pay processing fees of $ 155 CAD. If you have not already given biometrics to enter Canada, you will also need to pay the biometrics fee of $ 85 CAD.

Do I need a job offer to get the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit?

As this is an application for an open work permit, it is not necessary to have a job offer from a Canadian company to apply. Successful applicants will receive an open work permit which means they can work for any employer in any occupation across Canada with a few exceptions.

How long will the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit be valid?

This program allows for the open work permit to be issued for up to 3 years. However, like all Canadian permits, if your passport expires before the 3-year period, the open work permit will be valid up until the expiry of your passport.

For example, if your passport is valid for 6 months, then you will be issued an open work permit for 6 months.

To get the most out of this program, before applying under this program, make sure your passport is valid for at least 4 years to account for processing delays.

Can my spouse and dependent children also get work or study permit?

This new initiative also allows for eligible spouses or common-law partners, as well as dependent children, to apply for a study or work permit to come to Canada for the duration of your open work permit. Applicants whose open work permit is limited due to passport duration will not be able to extend their visa.

How long will it take to process the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit application?

The current processing time for these applications is 6 weeks from the date of the applicant’s biometrics examination.

What do I do after I apply for the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit application?

Within 72 hours of submission, applicants will receive confirmation of submission and a request for biometrics. To expedite the processing of your application, applicants should arrange to give their biometrics as soon as possible.

What do I do if my application is approved?

Once your application is approved, you will receive an approval letter (port of entry letter) stating you are allowed to work in Canada. You should bring this letter along with a copy of the supporting documents submitted in your application to the Canadian border to be issued your work permit.

What options do I have to apply for Canadian permanent residence?

In addition to the open work permit initiative, the government of Canada has announced the creation of STEM-specific draws under the Express Entry system therefore applicants who gain work experience in Canada under the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit will likely fair very well in the express entry system

Is there a quota on the number of people that can apply for the Tech Talent Strategy 3-year open work permit?

Yes, IRCC currently plans to receive only 10,000 applications under this program.

How long will this program be available?

In their announcement, IRCC confirmed this program will remain open for 1 year or until 10,000 applications have been received.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can apply for this open work permit, complete our Tech Talent Strategy contact us form and a member of our team will reach out to discuss your options.


Free assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options. Get your free assessment now!