H1B & Canada visas can be connected to enter Canada. Navigating the complexities of work permits and visas can be challenging, especially for H-1B visa holders looking to transition from the United States to Canada. Recently, Canada introduced temporary public policies to facilitate this process, making it easier for H-1B visa holders and their families to obtain work permits. This blog post will delve into these new public policies, highlighting key dates and measures implemented to assist H-1B visa holders.


Overview of the Initial Public Policy


On July 16, 2023, a temporary public policy came into effect, exempting holders of certain American H-1B work visas from the requirement of obtaining a separate work permit to work in Canada. This policy aimed to provide open work permits for H-1B visa holders and their families residing in the US at the time of their application, further connecting H1B & Canada visas for qualified applicants.


However, this public policy was short-lived, expiring on July 17, 2023, once the cap of 10,000 applications from principal applicants was reached. Consequently, the intake of new applications under this initial public policy is now closed.


Additional Measures Under New Public Policies


Despite the closure of the initial public policy, two additional public policies came into effect on September 27, 2023, and December 16, 2023. These new policies introduced several important measures


Processing Applications Beyond the Cap


One of the significant changes includes the authority to process applications received in excess of the initial 10,000 cap. This applies to applications submitted after the expiration of the initial public policy on July 17, 2023, but before the closure of the online portal.


Open Work Permits for Family Members


Another crucial measure allows family members to continue applying for H-1B open work permits following the expiry of the initial public policy. This provision remains in effect until September 28, 2024, ensuring that families can stay together while transitioning to Canada.


Fee Exemptions for Minor Children


The new policies also offer financial relief by exempting minor children (age 17 and under) of H-1B visa holders from the $150 study permit processing fee. This exemption is valid for those who were issued an H-1B open work permit and applied for their study permit before September 28, 2024.


Work Permit Renewals


To further support H-1B visa holders, the policies facilitate work permit renewals for foreign nationals in Canada with H-1B open work permits that were initially issued for less than three years. This measure ensures that these individuals can benefit from the full three-year maximum of this work permit category, provided their extension application is received before December 16, 2024.


How to Apply


Instructions for clients on how to apply under these new measures were made available on March 18, 2024. It is crucial for applicants to follow these guidelines carefully to ensure a smooth application process.




The recent public policies introduced by Canada significantly ease the transition for H-1B visa holders and their families looking to move from the United States. By understanding these measures and their respective timelines, applicants can better navigate the process of obtaining work permits in Canada. Stay informed and ensure you meet the application deadlines to take full advantage of these new policies.

If you have a question about working in Canada or transitioning to permanent residence in Canada, please contact us.

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