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H1B Not picked in the Lottery? Canada FSW or QSW visa is a good option!

9,476 views 17 comments
posted May 18, 2014 in H1B Visa RFEs by dan (25,424 points)
edited Dec 13, 2015 by dan

We understand your frustration when you get the news that your H1B is not picked in the lottery. But there is some hope and that hope may be applying to Canada for a Permanent Residence. 

We all know over 100,000 H1B petitions are being returned by the USCIS. There is still some hope to become a Canadian Permanent Resident. 

If your H1B is not picked in the lottery this year, applying to Canada under the FSW or QSW Program. The FSW Program is same as obtaining permanent residency in Canada. 

What is the difference between FSW and QSW Programs? 

FSW stands for Federal Skilled worker program of Canada and QSW stands for Quebec Skilled worker program, Quebec has a special agreement with the Government of Canada on immigration. The province has its own rules for choosing immigrants who will adapt well to living there.  

What are the Benefits of a Canadian FSW/QSW Visa?

The Canada FSW Visa holders are allowed to work in Canada without the need of an employer or a sponsor, any job offer or Canadian work permit 

  • Unlike a work or job permit, you are free to work anywhere anytime without any boundaries or restrictions
  • On successful completion of 3 years of stay, an FSW Visa holder can apply for Canadian Citizenship
  • Canadian PR or Canada FSW Visa allows migrants to access the social security benefits like government subsidized Healthcare (Medicare) and Education
  • You get unrestricted access to Canadian working sector and associated insurance and pension benefits and claims 

Is there a Quota like H1B for FSW Visa?

Yes, due to the large number of applications Canada gets, as of May 1, 2014, there is an overall cap of 25,500 for new federal skilled worker applications. This includes a cap of 500 applications from PhD students. There are also sub-caps of 1,000 for each of the 50 eligible occupations. The caps do not affect people with a valid job offer. These are the last applications we will accept under the current system before Express Entry launches in January 2015. 

How long does it take to get a Canadian FSW or QSW Visa? 

It takes over 2 years to get Canadian FSW or QSW Visa, its better you start early and take advantage of these programs. 

How is the job market in Canada? 

The job market is picking in Canada, it’s not as good as US job market. 

How can I work for a US based company from Canada?  

You may find remote projects and work on US projects from Canada and get US Pay rates, since Canada is few flight hours away from the United States, you may even visit your Client on a regular basis. Canadian Permanent residents do not require a visa to travel to the United States under NAFTA treaty. However, you can NOT work in the United States.   

How can I leave my spouse/family in the United States and work in Canada?

Hey, if you got an H1B this year; your spouse/family is in CA and the job requires you to work in NY, you would still do that right? It’s almost the same thing. Your spouse can either come to Canada to meet you or you may travel to the US Frequently. Your spouse/family members also gets Canadian Permanent residency as your dependents. 

Are there any possibilities in future to work in the United States without H1B?

Yes, on successful completion of 3 years of stay, an FSW/QSW Visa holder can apply for Canadian Citizenship. Once you become a Canadian Citizen, your Employer may sponsor a TN visa, which is given at the border. Unlike H1B process; a petition is not required to be sent to USCIS. Once you have a job offer in the US, you will simply get a TN visa at the border in a day’s time.

Who is a federal skilled worker and what the eligibility criteria?  

Unlike United States, Canadian FSW Visa is a point based system and the applicant needs to score a minimum of 67 points out of 100 to qualify for this. The points are scored mainly on 6 major factors: Age, Language Proficiency, Educational Qualifications, Employment Experience, Employment Offer Letter and Adaptability.  

Federal skilled workers are chosen as permanent residents based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, and the following Eligibility Criteria

People can apply to immigrate to Canada under "Federal skilled worker" category. Skilled workers apply under this category if they want to live in any Canadian province or territory except Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers. Applicants who intend to go to Quebec are known as Quebec-selected skilled workers.

At least one year of continuous and paid (full-time or an equal amount in part-time) work experience


1.      You have this work experience in one of the eligible occupations,


2.     You have a valid offer of arranged employment,


3.     You are an international student who is enrolled in a PhD program in Canada (or who graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the past 12 months) and meet these criteria.

No matter what category above you apply to, you must meet ALL the minimum requirements below.

B) Minimum requirements

Work experience

If your application is eligible to be processed, we will then assess it to see if your work experience, as described above, is valid. 

Your work experience must be:

  • at least one year (1560 hours), full-time or an equal amount in part-time,
  • paid work (volunteer work, unpaid internships, etc. do not count),
  • in the same occupation, and
  • within the last 10 years,
  • at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the 2011 edition of the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC)

You must show that you did the duties set out in the lead statement of the occupational description in the NOC, including all the essential duties and most of the main duties listed. If you do not show that your experience meets the description in the NOC, we will refuse your application. The eligible occupations are listed below:

You must have one year of continuous, full-time (or an equal amount of part-time) paid work experience, in at least one of these occupations within the last ten years:

  • Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
  • Senior managers - trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c.
  • Financial managers
  • Human resources managers
  • Purchasing managers
  • Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers
  • Managers in health care
  • Construction managers
  • Home building and renovation managers
  • Managers in natural resources production and fishing
  • Manufacturing managers
  • Financial auditors and accountants
  • Financial and investment analysts
  • Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers
  • Other financial officers
  • Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
  • Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers
  • Property administrators
  • Geoscientists and oceanographers
  • Civil engineers
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical and electronics engineers
  • Petroleum engineers
  • Information systems analysts and consultants
  • Database analysts and data administrators
  • Software engineers and designers
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians
  • Construction estimators
  • Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
  • Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
  • Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety
  • Computer network technicians
  • Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • Specialist physicians
  • General practitioners and family physicians
  • Dietitians and nutritionists
  • Audiologists and speech-language pathologists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
  • Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Medical Sonographers
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Paramedical occupations
  • University professors and lecturers
  • Psychologists
  • Early childhood educators and assistants
  • Translators, terminologists and interpreters

Language ability

You must meet minimum language levels and include the results of a language test from an agency approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) when you apply that shows you meet the minimum language requirement of Canadian Language Benchmark.


You must have:

  • a Canadian diploma, certificate, or credential


Where can I get more information about application process? 

You may visit the Official links below to learn more about the application process!

Federal skilled workers

Quebec Skilled workers

Has anyone applied for an FSW or QSW? Please share your experiences by commenting below.

Can we discuss the pros and cons of this program? Please comment below!

If you want to share your detailed experience, you may post it on the blog or email admin@h1bsupport.com

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commented Jun 3, 2015 by Dan
Yes, that's a good idea. Canada also offers work permits like H1B, please check with your Employer.
commented Jun 3, 2015 by sneha
hello den,

I have a question. My h1b is not picked up in lottery and my OPT ends on December 02 , My company do operates in CANADA can I request them to file my visa for Canada till my next h1b filing? and then can I file next year in H1B master's quota ? as I have done my masters from USA ?
commented Jun 3, 2015 by Dan
One of you apply for FSW as other can go as a dependent,  one can continue school in the United States.  Please note that the Canadian FSW process could be 6 months or longer.
commented Jun 3, 2015 by asha
Hello Dan,

My husband(F1) haven't received H1B receipt or return packet till now. He is working as a full time employee and OPT will going to expire on Oct 2014. My status is F2. Please, suggest me best options either we both will join in master degree or canada FSW.
commented Jun 3, 2015 by Joydeep Ghosh
Hi Dan,

Can anyone do this sitting from India? How can one start this process of getting an FSW from India?
Thanks in advance.

commented Jun 3, 2015 by Dan
We have no reports of H1B packages being returned. However, it's a very slim chance at this point to get an H1B Receipt.
commented Jun 3, 2015 by Rafi
Hi Still I have not received my H1b receipt yet and I have not got my application back also. Is there any chances of getting the receipt. Thanks.
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Nikhil
What is the duration of getting a Canadian FSW VISA? I just have a year more in US?
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Dan
It takes up to 1 year.
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Azi
Hi, Could you please help me to calrify the below query regarding my application for FSW-Canada:
I have applied in May,2014 and received the file number from CIO( Centralized Intake Office, Sydney NS,Canada) in Jun-2014.
Unfortulately after sending my application, I noticed that I have made a mistake in the application form while filling up the section regarding the status of Military service for my husband.Although he did two years Mandatory Military service in a university but I choosed " None" in the section related to Military service details.It was due to my misundersatnding from this part as I considered only hired people in Army.

However, I am wondering whether or not there would be any chance to inform Visa office at this step without facing such a serious issue such as rejecting my application. I appreciate if you could give me some advise.
Thank you
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Dan
Please write them a letter with the reference number. Thanks!
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Vasanth
Hi Dan,

My H1B US visa is going to expire in 6 months. Is there is any option to get a Canadian job on a temporary work permit and then apply for a FSW?
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Dan
Yes. You need an Employer. Thanks!
commented Jun 10, 2015 by rugena ann
My name is Rugena Ann.I am really pleased with this service. I am one of those people who said,
commented Jun 10, 2015 by rugena ann
My name is Rugena Ann.I am really pleased with this service. I am one of those people who said,
commented Apr 14, 2018 by anonymous

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