Canada Announces New Strategy to Attract Top Tech Talent, Including H-1B Holders

On Tuesday, June 27, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced new programs and improvements to attract high skilled workers.

  • New! A Streamlined Work Permit for H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa Holders in the US to Apply to Come to Canada
    • As of July 16, 2023, H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the US, and their accompanying immediate family members, will be eligible to apply to come to Canada.
    • Approved applicants will receive an open work permit of up to three years in duration, which means they will be able to work for almost any employer anywhere in Canada.
    • Their spouses and dependants will also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, as needed.
    • This measure will remain in effect for one year, or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications. Only principal applicants, and not their accompanying family members, will count toward the application cap.
    • Expected required documents to have at the ready for consular application preparation:
      • Valid passport for principal worker + all dependents, ideally valid for at least 3 years
      • 1-94, I797 Approval Notice + visa counterfoil copy to show current H1B status of principal worker in US
      • Copies of any past Canadian status documents, if applicable
      • Current resume/CV for principal worker
      • Copies of educational documents
      • Proof of recent/US work experience (W2s, pay stubs, contracts/reference letters where possible)
      • If any accompanying dependents:
        • Marriage Certificate
        • Birth certificates for children, naming both parents
      • Digital photo for each applicant
      • Family Information Form for each adult applicant
      • Confirmation that neither the principal worker nor their dependents have any admissibility concerns (e.g. past criminal charges or convictions of any kind, serious medical conditions, past visa refusals)
  • New! The IRCC will launch an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program by the end of 2023 to attract highly talented individuals in key technology occupations.
    • The IRCC will create a new exemption from the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) process to help high-growth employers recruit and hire talented workers.
    • The IRCC will consider the following, which are not mutually exclusive:
      • Employer-specific work permits for up to five years for workers employed by a company identified by the Government of Canada as contributing to its industrial innovation goals.
      • Open work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations.


  • Updated! Digital nomads who come to Canada and receive job offers from Canadian employers will be able to apply inside of Canada for work permits to begin working for the Canadian company.
Erickson Insights & Analysis

The new Streamlined Work Permit for US H-1B Specialty Occupation Visa holders and the new Innovation Stream are in line with the government of Canada’s recent efforts to be globally competitive for the world’s top talent and highly skilled workers.

Based on our initial review of the information available as of today,

  • H-1B visa holders may not need a job offer in order to apply for a work permit
  • the work permits will be granted on a first come first serve basis

Additional details regarding implementation of these new streams can be found here.

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney. Updated July 1, 2023.