If you are an H-1B visa holder in the United States and have been contemplating the possibility of moving to Canada for work, you might have wondered if you can pursue a Canadian Open Work Permit and Express Entry at the same time. Both avenues offer exciting opportunities for foreign workers, but understanding the eligibility requirements and processes is essential to make an informed decision. In this article, we will delve into the details of these two options, clarifying doubts and providing valuable insights for prospective applicants.
I’m an H-1B Visa Holder: Can I Pursue a Canadian Open Work Permit and Express Entry at the Same Time?
As an H-1B visa holder, you can indeed pursue a Canadian Open Work Permit and Express Entry simultaneously. However, it’s crucial to comprehend the nuances of each program and adhere to the eligibility criteria for a smooth application process. Let’s explore both options in detail:
Understanding the Canadian Open Work Permit
A Canadian Open Work Permit allows foreign workers to work for any employer in Canada without the need for a specific job offer. This type of permit is not job-restricted and grants individuals the flexibility to switch employers or roles during their stay in Canada.
Eligibility for a Canadian Open Work Permit
To be eligible for a Canadian Open Work Permit, you must fall into one of the following categories:
- Spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- Applicant under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class.
- Applicant under the humanitarian and compassionate grounds class.
- Refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or their family member.
Exploring the Express Entry System
The Express Entry system is Canada’s flagship immigration pathway for skilled foreign workers who wish to become permanent residents. It operates through three main economic immigration streams:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
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Eligibility for Express Entry
To be eligible for Express Entry, you must:
- Meet the minimum criteria for one of the three economic immigration streams.
- Obtain a minimum score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability.
Can I Apply for Both Simultaneously?
Yes, as an H-1B visa holder, you can apply for both a Canadian Open Work Permit and Express Entry at the same time. However, it’s essential to understand the implications and limitations of dual applications:
The Canadian Open Work Permit can be applied for separately, and its approval does not guarantee approval for Express Entry.
If you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency through Express Entry, you must choose either to accept it and proceed with the PR process or decline it and continue with the Open Work Permit.
It’s advisable to seek guidance from immigration experts to navigate this process effectively.
Applying for the Canadian Open Work Permit
To apply for a Canadian Open Work Permit, follow these steps:
- Determine your eligibility: Check if you fall under any of the eligible categories for the Open Work Permit.
- Gather the required documents: Prepare all necessary documents, including identification, relationship proof (if applicable), and other supporting papers.
- Submit your application: Apply online or through the nearest Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Canadian consulate/embassy in your country.
- Pay the processing fee: Ensure you pay the correct fee as per the official Canadian government website.
Applying for Express Entry
To apply for Express Entry, follow these steps:
Determine eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements for one of the three economic immigration streams.
Create an Express Entry profile: Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your education, work experience, language proficiency, and other factors.
Calculate your CRS score: Use the Comprehensive Ranking System tool to evaluate your CRS score.
Enter the Express Entry pool: If your CRS score meets the minimum requirement, you’ll enter the pool of candidates for selection.
Wait for an ITA: Candidates with the highest CRS scores receive ITAs during regular Express Entry draws.
Complete the PR application: After receiving an ITA, submit your permanent residency application within the specified time frame.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I work in Canada while waiting for my Express Entry application to be processed?
A: Yes, if you have a valid work permit, such as the Canadian Open Work Permit, you can legally work in Canada while your Express Entry application is being processed.
Q: Is there a deadline to submit my Express Entry application after receiving an ITA?
A: Yes, candidates usually have 60 days to submit their complete Express Entry application after receiving an ITA.
Q: Can I apply for permanent residency through Express Entry without a job offer in Canada?
A: Yes, Express Entry is a points-based system that does not require a job offer to be eligible for permanent residency.
Q: Can my spouse and children accompany me to Canada on an Open Work Permit?
A: Yes, if you are eligible for an Open Work Permit, your spouse or common-law partner, as well as dependent children, can accompany you to Canada.
Q: Can I extend my Canadian Open Work Permit if it expires while my Express Entry application is in progress?
A: Yes, you can apply to extend your Open Work Permit while your Express Entry application is in progress, provided you remain eligible.
Q: Can I change my immigration stream in Express Entry after submitting my profile?
A: No, once you submit your Express Entry profile, you cannot change the immigration stream. You can create a new profile if you meet the criteria for a different stream.