In a new strategy by Canada to boost the entry of talented, high-skilled professionals in the country, they announced that new open work permits and temporary visas are now available to eligible migrants, potentially opening itself up as an opportunity to H-1B visa holders in the United States who were laid off or jobless during the tech layoffs earlier this year. 

The new immigration strategy was presented on June 27, with Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Sean Fraser calling it the country’s “first-ever tech talent strategy.” The most attractive part of the announcement is a proposal for the creation of 10,000 open work permits to be given to “H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the US to apply for a Canadian work permit, and study or work permit options for their accompanying family members.”

The new strategy also offers an “International Mobility Program” where highly-skilled individuals are offered open and employer-specific “work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations” for industries believed to be helpful in ushering in innovations to the country. 

“With Canada’s first-ever immigration Tech Talent Strategy, we’re targeting newcomers that can help enshrine Canada as a world leader in a variety of emerging technologies,” said Fraser during the announcement. “I’m grateful for the collaboration of the tech, startup, and business communities, who have provided valuable insight to develop this strategy. Having a fast and flexible approach, one that is broadly supported by Canadians, is truly Canada’s immigration advantage.”

The new proposed immigration strategy has not released official guidelines as of press time, but many have noted that the new measure has an applications cap of 10,000 — though it remains unclear if this means that only 10,000 applications will be allowed or if only 10,000 applications would be approved. 

Among other parts of the proposal, however, is the measure allowing the approved applicant’s “spouses and dependants [being] eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, as needed,” giving those with the visa the necessary leeway to bring their families over to the country. 

This new announcement comes as members of the United States Congress submit new bills in recent months to clamp down further on H-1B and L-1 Visa Programs in an attempt to reduce the “outsourcing of jobs” in the country. 

Research papers from labor experts like Wharton School of Business assistant professor Britta Glennon have suggested that such programs are ineffective in stopping the outsourcing of jobs from the United States, instead pushing companies to open branches in more labor-friendly countries.

Another analysis from investment firm CBRE Group shows that Toronto and Vancouver has moved up the list of the best places for tech talent around the world at #3 and #8, respectively, showing an increase of viability in its methods to attract top talent to the country. “Firms respond to restrictions on H-1B immigration by increasing foreign affiliate employment at the intensive and extensive margins, particularly in China, India and Canada,” Gelnnon wrote in the paper.

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