Canada introduces 'open work permit' policy for H1B visa holders; Big benefits for family members
Under this new temporary measure, foreign workers can now engage in full-time or part-time studies throughout the validity of their work permits or until the policy expires, without any limitations on the program duration-
Every year, Canada benefits from the contributions of numerous temporary foreign workers who bring their skills and expertise to support the country's economy and fill critical labor market gaps. However, these individuals often encounter obstacles when it comes to pursuing their educational aspirations and exploring new opportunities.
To address this issue, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Honourable Sean Fraser, has introduced a new temporary measure aimed at eliminating the time limit on study programs for temporary foreign workers without a study permit. Effective immediately, foreign workers will have the opportunity to pursue additional training and education to enhance their career prospects. This measure will also broaden their job opportunities in the future and increase their chances of transitioning to permanent residency. Previously, foreign workers were only permitted to study for programs lasting six months or less while working. For longer programs, they were required to apply for a separate study permit. This requirement posed a barrier for those seeking to improve their education, receive further training, or validate their foreign credentials through specific programs.
Under this new temporary measure, foreign workers can now engage in full-time or part-time studies throughout the validity of their work permits or until the policy expires, without any limitations on the program duration. It's important to note that this temporary measure applies to individuals with valid work permits or those who have submitted applications to renew their work permits on or before June 7, 2023, and have been authorized to work. If a foreign worker intends to pursue a study program longer than the duration of their work permit, they will still need to apply for a study permit.
Here's what Canada's 'open-work permit' policy says-
The official release says, "Thousands of workers in high-tech fields are employed with companies that have large operations in both Canada and the US, and those working in the US often hold an H-1B speciality occupation visa. As of July 16, 2023, H-1B speciality occupation visa holders in the US, and their accompanying immediate family members, will be eligible to apply to come to Canada...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."
What is H1B Visa?
For those who are unaware, H-1B visas allow foreign nationals to temporarily work in the US in certain specialized occupations, including the technology sector. America's major companies went on a hiring spree during the COVID pandemic. However, post the pandemic, thousands and lakhs of employees were fired in the mass layoff leaving a lot of H-1B visa holders scrambling to find new jobs.