Canada Remains A Major Lure For US Workers

Canada’s Employers Must Meet New Temporary Foreign Worker Wage Requirements
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Canada’s immigration measures such as increasing targets and changing the current system to make room for more newcomers to help with the labour shortage are attracting US workers.

A testament to this trend was Canada’s opening of a pilot program for 10,000 H-1B visa holders in July, as per a Yahoo! Finance report, which allowed them to apply for a three-year open work permit to find jobs north of the border.

The program’s popularity led it to reach its designated cap within 48 hours – an unprecedented billing for US policymakers. Since then, 6,000 US foreign workers have come to Canada.

The reason for this can be traced to the immigration-related grievances faced by employer-sponsored H-1B visa holders, one of them being that the spouses and other family members of H-1B holders have severe restrictions in pursuing their own employment and educational opportunities in the United States. covered this story in August, reporting on how H-1B visa holders also face hurdles in launching new businesses, and – while they were especially sought after during COVID-19’s peak – they are since being laid off in droves from leading American multinationals such as Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, and Twitter.

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Of the nearly 600,000 H-1B visa holders in the US (who are skilled workers in specialized professions such as tech, and have a temporary work permit for three years), 50,000 were laid off in what was termed the “US Tech Wreck.”

They thus had only 60 days to find a new employer to sponsor them or else they faced deportation.

Canada, however, offers them a safe haven for immigration. The former Canada Immigration Minister Sean Fraser called the grievances faced by US workers an “opportunity” for Canada to fill its STEM shortage, respondent to which he launched the Tech Talent Strategy at Collision 2023.

Yahoo! Finance furthers this point by explaining the two types of workers permits available to those looking to migrate to Canada, namely the “employer-specific work permit” and the “open work permit.”

“If you’re planning to apply for a Canadian work visa, you will want to speak with an immigration lawyer to see which option is better for you,” it writes.

The report also cites Canada’s immigration plan’s bolstered aggressiveness as a reason for US workers looking northward of the border.

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In 2022, Ottawa announced that Canada will aim to bring nearly 1.5 million immigrants by 2025 to help with its labour shortage. Newer visa rules to ease transition to permanent residence may soon thus be introduced.

For US citizens, the process to obtain a Canada work permit is already streamlined; they are eligible to apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit due to the United States-Canada-Mexico-Agreement (USMCA). They have more flexibility with working under the work permit if their current employer offers them a job or if they are entering Canada to make substantial investments or trade in the country.

Americans can also transfer within their current company to a branch based in Canada with an intra-company transfer temporary permit.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.