There is no shortage of reasons for being concerned as an H-1B holder in the United States these days, especially given the political/immigration landscape. As a Canadian immigration lawyer, I have had a noticeable amount of individuals and companies reach out in the last 12 months wondering about the options for moving or setting up an office in Canada, and after helping many of them, I wanted to highlight 3 of the most promising options for individuals concerned about their H-1B status.
Immigrate through Express Entry
What surprises people in the US the most when talking about immigration options is that Canada has a permanent residency (PR) program that does not require a job, and can be processed in as little as 4-6 months.
The program, called Express Entry, was started in 2015 and allows skilled workers from around the world to apply for PR if they have a high enough score, with the entire process being done online. This is especially promising for those under the age of 32 who have a graduate degree (such as a Master’s or PhD) and strong english skills. Considering it can take 10+ years to get a Green Card in the US, Express Entry is a breath of fresh air for many H-1B holders.
Come to Canada as an international student
For those looking to improve their education history or who struggle to score high enough for Express Entry, consider doing a graduate degree in Canada. As mentioned, Express Entry is a points-based program, and having a Canadian graduate degree is a great way to earn points. Not only that, but completing a degree at a designated university or college in Canada usually makes you eligible for a post-grad work permit, which allows you to stay and work in Canada before you need to apply for PR.
Canada has plenty of world-renowned universities and colleges to choose from, which tend to be more affordable compared to their American counterparts (which are also be paid for in Canadian dollars). If you’re very serious about moving to Canada but don’t have a high enough score through Express Entry, this is a great option.
Find a job with a Canadian company
Of course, Canada also has a very promising option compared to the H-1B, which is to have a Canadian company sponsor you for a work permit. This allows you to come to Canada, work for that specific company and it will earn you bonus points towards PR for every year of Canadian work experience you get.
This process really depends on the type of industry you work in and your citizenship, but in the last few years, Canada has made it even easier for companies to sponsor tech workers through a program called the Global Talent Stream, which allows companies to sponsor tech workers in as little as 4-6 weeks.
If you find yourself with a low score for Express Entry and work in a very in-demand role, especially as a tech worker, this can be a strong option for you.
As you can see, Canada has some amazing opportunities for those in the US on H-1B’s, all of which lead to Canadian PR. Of course, which path to take depends on your situation but my hope is this article has shed some light on what to consider.
If you’d like more help on determining the best option for you, we also have a free immigration portal, Visto at that will guide you through Canadian immigration, including determining your eligibility for PR, how to move to Canada the quickest, and the requirements and documents for each. Best of luck and hope to see you in Canada one day!