What are the options for tech workers looking to work in Canada?
Posted on March 5, 2021
Canada requires skilled tech workers and has multiple immigration programs and work permits to help international tech workers to migrate to Canada.
Generally, tech workers have the skills and experience that makes it easy to qualify for economic immigration pathways both federal and regional.
economic immigration pathways, both at the federal and provincial or territorial levels.
Specific immigration programs such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or the provincial program like the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) target tech workers. The other immigration programs include:
- Federal programs
- Global Talent Stream
- CUSMA Professionals
- Intra-Company Transfer
Express Entry programs give importance to tech workers especially certain Express Entry linked provincial streams. The recent Express Entry annual report lists tech workers as one of the three most popular occupations that received an ITA.
Global Talent Stream
In 2017 Canada launched the Global Talent Stream (GTS), which is part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program. Under the GTS work permits are processed within two weeks for temporary high-skilled workers.
There are two categories under the GTS.
Category A:Category A is for high-growth businesses that can show a need for highly-skilled international talent. Employers in this group must be referred to by the Global Talent Stream by a designated referral partner, which is typically a governmental or quasi-governmental agency focused on incubating or expanding businesses in a specific region.
These companies must give the reasons for the need to recruit unique specialized talent from abroad.
Category B: Employers in Category B are those seeking to recruit such highly qualified foreign workers for occupations on the Global Talent Occupations List that have been determined to be in-demand and for which domestic labor supply is inadequate. This can change from time to time, but it is currently made up of workers that fall into 12 National Occupation Classification (NOC) Codes, all of which are technological occupations.
In both cases, the employer must pay the employee a wage that is equal to the national average for the job. Employers in Category A must either directly or indirectly create employment for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Employers in Category B must commit to growing their investments in professional development and training for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Once an individual is in Canada, they can either extend their temporary status or apply for permanent residency. Many permanent immigration programs require Canadian work experience. Arriving in Canada as a tech worker is an excellent way to prepare for permanent residency.
Under the Canada-United-States-Mexico Agreement, citizens of the United States or Mexico with job offers in some professions may be eligible for a work permit (CUSMA). This is a special program for Canadian employers who recruit foreign workers and no Labour Market Impact Assessment is needed (LMIA).
There are 63 occupations that come under the CUSMA Professional work permit. Among them are technology occupations such ascomputer engineers, graphic designers, computer systems analysts, and technical publications writers.
Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) is for employees who work for a company with a qualifying relationship with a Canadian firm, such as a subsidiary, affiliate, parent, or branch. Employers in Canada do not need an LMIA to hire employees through this scheme.
The foreign worker must have worked for the company for a minimum of one year. He must have either worked in a managerial role or show that they have advanced and proprietary knowledge of the business or its products. This may involve programmers and developers who created a company’s software products, as well as computer engineers who developed specific computer programs for the company.
Provincial Nominee Programs
British Columbia:British Columbia launched its Tech Pilot in May 2017. The BC PNP Tech Pilot is not intended to be a stand-alone program. Rather, it’s a streamlined framework for handling applications submitted across existing channels that also meets the pilot’s unique specifications.
Two of the five BC immigration streams eligible for the Tech Pilot are aligned with Express Entry while the other three are not.
The BC Tech Pilot recognizes 29 technology occupations that meet the criteria. The program sends out invites to qualified applicants once a week.
An applicant must apply for one of the five aligned programs and have a work offer in one of the 29 listed fields (for at least one year, with at least 120 days remaining at the time of application). Priority processing over other immigration applications, weekly draws, and a dedicated concierge program to assist employers are among the advantages of this pilot.
Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan does not have a specific visa program for tech workers. The province, like others, can restrict a round of invitations to let candidates apply for provincial candidacy to a particular occupation or group of occupations.
Ontario:Ontario has a unique technology-based talent management system that works in conjunction with existing immigration streams. Work experience in specialized technology occupations has been reported as being qualified for periodic tech-only draws by the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). The applications chosen in this technology benefit from faster processing and better service.
Quebec:A thriving technology industry already exists in the province. As a result, Quebec has announced a new immigration route for jobs in the fields of artificial intelligence, information technology, and visual effects. The total number of applicants for this pilot is set at 550 per year.
Tech workers wishing to work in Canada have numerous options to migrate to Canada. The country too is modifying its existing immigration programs to welcome more tech workers to meet the increasing demand.