US H-1B visas are more popular than ever before. In fact, these employment visas are so renowned for attracting educated and driven applicants that Canada has opened a program specifically to poach H-1B holders.
This program, known as the Tech Talent Strategy, was designed to attract some of the best and brightest H-1B applicants to Canada. It offered applicants with this visa a streamlined work permit application to enter Canada with their families. The application period was initially intended to last for a year or until 10,000 applications had been received.
The Tech Talent Strategy program was timed well. It was announced shortly after the US tech industry went through significant layoffs in early 2023, and registrations opened on July 16th, 2023. As a result, it was extraordinarily popular with H-1B holders. In fact, on July 17th, the Canadian government announced that it would no longer accept applications because all 10,000 spots had been filled on the first and only day it was open.
Why Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy Was So Successful
The Tech Talent program exceeded anyone’s expectations. Even its greatest proponents did not anticipate it reaching the application cap in less than 24 hours. Why was it so successful?
Several factors are at play, but the most important reasons are flexibility, simplicity, and lack of restrictions. First, the Tech Talent initiative offered open work permits rather than portable permits. As such, the recipients can work for any company without worrying about portability requirements like they would in the US.
Second, the initiative’s streamlined application is designed to make it as simple as possible for applicants to enter the country. Much of Canada’s normally intense scrutiny of potential immigrants has been waived because the H-1B visa holders have already faced similar scrutiny to enter the US.
Finally, the program has no restrictions related to country of origin. This is particularly valuable for people from large countries like India approaching their H-1B visas’ expiration date. These people may still have years to wait before being eligible for a green card due to the number of applicants from their countries. Getting a permit to work in Canada allows them to stay in North America instead of returning to their country of origin while they wait.
The Continued Benefits of H-1B Visas
There are many things that businesses and potential H-1B candidates can learn from Canada’s attempt to poach people with these visas. The most important is that an H-1B visa is more valuable than ever before. The program has such a strong international reputation for successful business relationships that other countries are willing to target workers who receive them.
This reputation makes the H-1B program particularly appealing to potential recipients. Suddenly, an H-1B visa is more than just a way to work in the US. Canada will likely offer the Tech Talent program again, so this one visa suddenly provides a path to all of North America.
The program also benefits US and North American businesses. As H-1B visas have become more competitive, some prospective candidates have begun looking elsewhere. However, by making an H-1B visa the key to Canada and the US, the Tech Talent program has made its appeal greater than ever. Employers offering to sponsor workers for the visa will appeal to more talented candidates.
Furthermore, companies with both US and Canadian branches will have more opportunities to maintain current and future H-1B employees. Visa beneficiaries may be able to transfer to Canadian locations upon the expiration of their visa while they wait for their US green card.
Prepare for a More Competitive H-1B Season With Litwin & Smith
Canada’s Tech Talen program could make the H-1B visa more competitive than ever. It certainly makes it more valuable for workers and employers alike. If your business is preparing to sponsor H-1B candidates next year, now is the time to start. You can begin the process by talking to the expert US immigration attorneys at Litwin & Smith. We will help you ensure your company is prepared to sponsor foreign nationals, support your application, and ensure your candidates are eligible for the visa lottery. Learn more about how we can help you by scheduling your consultation today.