Two Months After Canada's H1B Work Permit Program Launch:

A Quick Recap

September 17, 2023

On June 27, 2023, Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honorable Sean Fraser, introduced a groundbreaking initiative - an open Canadian work and study permit for H1B specialty occupation visa holders in the USA and their spouses and dependents. This program is introduced to attract highly skilled foreign workers to help address labor market gaps in Canada.

Now, it has been two months since the unveiling of Canada's much-anticipated H1B work permit program, a move that made waves in the global workforce. In this article, we will explore the significant developments and outcomes that have emerged in the two months since its launch.


“We are in a global race for the same pool of talent, with competitors from around the world.” 

“I think Canada is winning that race, but we can win it by an even larger margin.”

– The Honorable Sean Fraser at Collision 2023

The key highlights of the program include:

Expedited Processing: Applicants receive priority processing, ensuring quicker entry into the Canadian workforce.

Temporary to Permanent Transition: Successful candidates are offered a pathway to permanent residency, making Canada an attractive long-term destination.

In-Demand Professions: The program targets professionals in sectors with significant job vacancies, such as technology, healthcare, and engineering.

A Quick Recap

Application Closed Within 2 Days:

The new H1B specialty occupation visa holder work permit application opened on July 16, 2023. Initially, this policy was in effect for one year or until the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) received 10,000 applications. The IRCC portal swiftly announced, "The temporary public policy for H-1B visa holders is now closed. The intake cap of 10,000 primary applicants was reached, and no additional applications are being accepted."

Appointment Of New Minister:

The new Immigration Minister, the Honorable Marc Miller, assumed office on July 26, just a few days after the Canada H1B open work permit program was closed. The most recent data from the IRCC shows that the backlog is decreasing compared to previous months, indicating that the change in leadership did not significantly impact the administration process.

Processing Time For Approval:

The Canada Immigration portal originally stated a processing time of 0-2 months, but the status now reads as CLOSED without any specific timeline. While the majority of our community members received automated emails to submit biometrics, some who had already submitted them for visitor visas received Canada H1B work permit approvals with a request for passport submission within a few weeks. The uncertainty in the approval process, including background verification and significant processing delays, has caused frustration for some candidates.

Opportunities In Canada:

H1B visa holders and their spouses who applied for this program are granted an open work and study permit lasting up to three years, allowing them to work or study anywhere in Canada. As only a few candidates have traveled to Canada through the new Canada H1B work permit program, it is too early to assess its overall outcome. Employers seeking to hire candidates with North American experience are hopeful that the government will reopen the program to address labor shortages.


Two months after its launch, Canada's H1B work permit program appears to be delivering on its promise of attracting skilled professionals and addressing labor shortages. However, challenges persist, and it is essential for all stakeholders to collaborate to ensure the program's sustained success. As we move forward, the program's impact on Canada's economy and society will be closely monitored, with optimism that it will continue to serve as a magnet for global talent.

Blog by - A Community For Connecting H1B Buddies. We bring together members obtaining or seeking H1B visas in the USA and Canada to support and empower each other to navigate the challenges and celebrate successful outcomes together. Join Now