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Canada recently announced a new temporary public policy relating to the H-1B Open Work Permit. To refresh your memory, the H-1B program is a temporary pathway that allowed workers that held a U.S. H-1B visa to apply for an open work permit in Canada without a job offer. Canada capped the pathway to 10,000 applications, and the cap was reached within 48 after the program opened in July 2023.

The new temporary public policy announced on March 18, 2024 clarifies a number of internal processing procedures, which will allow Canada to streamline its processing of the existing applications. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Family members of H-1B open work permit applicants will be able to have their work permit applications processed under the new temporary public policy. 
  • Study permit processing fees will be waived for minor children (17 and under) of H-1B open work permit holders who have arrived in Canada.
  • IRCC will not automatically reject the small number of applications submitted in excess of the 10,000 application cap. 
  • Canada is not accepting new applications for the H-1B open work permit pathway at this time. 

Read more: How foreign workers in the USA can move to Canada


Since closing the H-1B open work permit pathway in July 2023, Canada has made several announcements regarding the program. 

The most recent announcement came on March 18, 2024, where the government clarified its existing policies to allow for some of the original applications received in excess of the 10,000 application cap or that were submitted by immigration representatives through the Authorized Paid Representatives Portal before the application cap was reached. 

The new temporary public policy also clarified the rules around the processing of work permit applications for family members of H-1B open work permit applicants, outlining that family members are eligible. It is important to note that, under a previous temporary policy announced on September 27, 2023, family members of H-1B open work permit holders who wish to apply for an open work permit must do this by September 27, 2024

The March 18 announcement also outlined that minor children (17 and under) of applicants under this pathway are exempt from processing fees for their child(ren)’s study permit until September 27, 2024. 

Finally, the recent public policy revealed that Canada may process just over 10,000 applications for the H-1B pathway because there were a small number of applications that were submitted at the same time the cap was reached. IRCC is not automatically rejecting those applications that were submitted in excess of the cap. So this is good news for applicants who successfully submitted their applications. 

If you currently hold a H-1B visa in the U.S. and you are considering moving to Canada, you may be eligible for other immigration pathways. We suggest taking our immigration quiz as a starting point, or you can review our guide to moving to Canada from the USA.

About the author

Stephanie Ford profile picture

Stephanie Ford

Finance, Law and Immigration Writer
Stephanie is a content marketer who has written for law firms (with a focus on immigration and privacy), legal tech companies, and finance professionals for more than 9 years. She earned a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning in Australia. Stephanie is now a permanent resident of Canada and a full-time writer at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Stephanie Ford
Citation "H-1B Open Work Permit Applications in Canada: New Temporary Public Policy." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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