As the H-1B visa continues to be a competitive and elusive option for highly skilled international workers in the United States, many employers and employees find themselves seeking alternatives. Canada presents a viable solution with its range of LMIA-exempt work permits, which can serve as an attractive option for retaining global talent.

Key LMIA-Exempt Work Permits in Canada

Canada’s immigration framework includes several strategic options that do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), making them particularly appealing for those not selected in the H-1B lottery:

  1. Intra-Company Transfers (ICT): This category facilitates the movement of employees who hold managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge positions within multinational companies. Employees can transfer to Canadian branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates without the need for an LMIA, ensuring a smoother transition.
  2. C10 Significant Benefits: Individuals who can argue they are going to make a significant economic, social. or cultural benefit to Canada can obtain an LMIA exempt work permit.
  3. C20 Reciprocity Category: Part of the International Mobility Program, this category allows specific foreign workers to contribute to Canada’s economy or culture significantly. These contributions, made through reciprocal agreements, also allow for LMIA exemption.

Accelerating the Process with Global Skills Strategy

One of the hurdles of international relocation can be the lengthy processing times for work permits. However, Canada’s Global Skills Strategy (GSS) addresses this by offering expedited processing, often within two weeks, for eligible skilled workers. This is particularly beneficial for those in the U.S. whose visas may soon expire, as it facilitates a timely and efficient transition to maintain employment continuity.

Benefits for Employers and Employees

Utilizing LMIA-exempt pathways like the ICT or C10 offers significant benefits:

  • Continuity and Efficiency: These options enable the seamless continuation of projects and the retention of specialized skills, which are critical to multinational operations and could be disrupted by U.S. visa limitations.
  • Strategic Expansion: Establishing a more substantial presence in Canada not only helps companies tap into the North American market more effectively but also provides a stable base for future growth.
  • Simplified Administrative Processes: The exemption from the LMIA streamlines many of the legal and bureaucratic challenges associated with international transfers, making it easier for companies to manage their global workforce.

For those highly skilled workers in the U.S. who did not secure an H-1B visa in the FY2025 lottery and are ineligible for other U.S. work visas, relocating to Canada with an LMIA-exempt work permit presents a promising and efficient alternative. These pathways, particularly the intra-company transfers and C10 Significant Benefits program, along with the streamlined processes provided by the GSS LMIA, offer companies a strategic means to retain essential talent and allow individuals to advance their careers without substantial disruption.

U.S. Employers

U.S. Employers can also set up a Canadian branch or subsidiary office and leverage the above-mentioned programs to house talented workers who have been unable to renew their H-1B visas or transition to Green Card status. Employers can relocate foreign workers to Canada, where they remain in North America timezones and can service U.S. clients remotely. Stationing H-1B holders in Canada also allows a U.S. company to re-set the 6-year time clock on H-1B visas, allowing the company to move them back into the U.S. after one year. Alternatively, H-1B workers with Canadian work permits have a faster route to Canadian permanent residence, allowing the U.S. company to maintain it’s workforce without worrying about U.S. visa renewals.

If you would like to discuss setting up an office in Canada to leverage Canadian work permits, please contact Andres Pelenur or Devika Penekelapati.

Borders Law firm

Bhumika Kashyap

My husband and I had great experience working with Border Law Firm from beginning to end. They answered all my questions and mention the best option First, to get my husband spousal open work permit approval and Second, to get my permanent residence. I am very thankful to Devika Ma'am and Jenny they give great and detailed advice on each part of your application. They were very professional and punctual at their response throughout the process.

Neha K

Borders Law firm - Devika OMG where do I start from.... so I got her number from my CA who I have been getting my taxes filed from last ten years. I was not sure what will happen to my mom's files becuase I had already tried four times before and everytime there was something or the other that happened and my application was not accepted... Devika has been my good luck, an angel in my life and a miracle believe it or not. I wish I could give you the details about why it was so so so important for my mom to get this immigration but unfortunately I can't share my personal details but I can tell you all one thing, that Devika and her team not only helped me with my mom's immigration case but also helped me with her super visa extension and all other obstacles we faced. I had no idea that my file can get approved so fast. Today I feel like my dream of having my mom here permanently came true all because of Devika.She is very knowledgeable, super patient, went out of her way to do, spent extra hours assisting me and completing this file. Always understood and heard my issues, with patience. I don't know how many times I cried with her and she always gave me hope and strength to be patient and wait for the approval. Honestly I am very impressed how she adds human touch to her immigration cases and treats the families with so much love and always been very professional as well. Devika is the best, she has an awesome awesome team. I can go on and on and on about her. I always suggest my friends her name and tell them about her services.It feels so good when I give her number to people in need of a good immigration lawyer, because in my heart I know that Devika will be able to help them with their immigration very well.She is the best Thank you Devika for being a great lawyer,a great human being and an angel in my life. Himanshi (Mansi)

Charanjit singh

I and my family want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Devika, John and the team at Borders Law firm for assisting us with the PRTD application for my mother at a time when most processing was closed due to lockdowns. They also worked proactively with us to establish a good strategy with back up plans which gave us sufficient information and assurance. Very responsive and forthcoming with information. Proactive in processing but at the same time they put enough time in the application and the supporting details to have high quality of the application. As a result our application was processed in 1 go at a time when it was critical and sensitive time for the family. Thank you again.

Lalit Kainth

Borders Law Firm did a great job handling my parents H & C application. I definitely recommend to use them!

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