To facilitate the acquisition of foreign tech talent, Canada offers a variety of work visa and permanent residency alternatives.
Employers in the IT industry in Canada continue to experience labor shortages, despite the pandemic’s impact. Hiring talent from other countries is one option to fill labor market gaps.
The Council of Canadian Innovators has called on the federal government to test a new visa that would allow IT professionals to come to Canada without a job offer.
Recognizing the value of the technology industry to the economy, the federal and provincial governments provide a variety of choices for firms looking to hire IT expertise. Here are some options for your company to examine.
The Global Talent Stream was created with the goal of processing 80% of applications in two weeks or less. Employers in Canada can utilize it to quickly onboard international workers. Employers must fall into Category A or B to be eligible for this fast-track work visa.
Companies in Category A have received clearance from a referral partner. Local, governmental, or semi-governmental bodies that are mandated to help local economies are frequently the referral partners.
Employers in Category B are seeking for certain qualified people whose jobs are included on the Global Talent Occupations List. Computer engineers, software engineers, and designers, as well as information systems analysts and consultants, are also qualified.
Employers in both groups must abide by rules governing the remuneration of skilled personnel. Foreign employees employed through the GTS are required to be paid at least the prevailing salary.
The prevailing pay is the higher of the following two options:
- per the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, the median pay for the occupation;
- the wage paid to existing employees in the same position, at the same location, with the same skills and experience by a company; or the minimal pay threshold, as determined by the list of Global Talent jobs (if applicable).
There are elements in the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that enable talent mobility between the three nations. Professionals and Intra-Company Transfers are two categories that are significant to IT employees (ICT).
Professionals is a category under which CUSMA classifies 63 occupations. Analysts of computer systems are one of these jobs.
ICTs are personnel who are relocating to a branch in Canada as part of a global corporation. There is no list of vocations that are eligible or not. A person who has worked for the firm for at least one year and has either a managerial function or specialized expertise is considered an intra-company transferee.
Intra-Company Transfer is a type of internal transfer that occurs within a company (non CUSMA)
It is possible to create an ICT from a country other than Mexico or the United States. For example, rules for ICTs are included in the CETA free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, as well as the agreement with the United Kingdom.
Employers do not required to undertake a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for employees arriving to Canada through an ICT. LMIAs are used to demonstrate to the federal government that hiring a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral impact on the labor market. Completing an LMIA takes time and money, which is why companies attempt to avoid them.
Routes to a permanent residence
Foreign employees who get permanent residence status can work in Canada without having to renew their work permits or LMIAs. Some routes to permanent residency involve employment offers, but it is also feasible for IT talent to obtain permanent residency without one.
There are several immigration options available to talented employees, some of which are expressly designed for computer workers.
Express Entry is a skilled worker immigration program. It’s a web-based application management system for a number of Canada’s most popular immigration programs. Two of these programs, in particular, can bring tech employees to Canada: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The Federal Skilled Trades Program is open to trades people (FSTP).
Express Entry is a point-based system in which qualified candidates are assigned a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which assigns points to candidates based on variables such as education, language proficiency, and job experience, among other things. Every two weeks, Canada distributes Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to the top-scoring candidates. ITA recipients are eligible to seek for permanent residency.
Technology vocations predominate among individuals asked to apply for permanent residence, according to the Express Entry Year-End Report 2020.
As a result of the backlog of applications that had built up throughout the outbreak., FSWP and CEC applicants’ Express Entry draws have been temporarily halted. According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, Express Entry draws for these people will resume in July.
Canada has only welcomed these candidates so far this year if they have received a nomination through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Tech employees who qualify for Express Entry may be eligible for a PNP nomination as well.
Immigration to the provinces for IT employees
Immigration petitions for permanent status can be supported by Canadian provinces. Quebec has its own system of immigration. Except for Nunavut, most other provinces and territories have Provincial Nominee Procedures that allow them to nominate candidates through Express Entry or their own base programs.
The programs listed below are only a handful of the many that are accessible to IT employees in their respective provinces. There are about 100 different economic-class immigration streams in the United States. Technology professionals may be qualified for a wider range of non-technical programs.
Accelerated Technology Pathway in Alberta
To qualifying Express Entry candidates, Alberta’s Accelerated Tech Pathway provides an accelerated provincial nomination alternative. This stream was started in January 2022 by the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP).
Candidates must fulfill the Alberta Express Entry Stream eligibility requirements in order to get expedited processing through this channel. They must either be employed in Alberta or have a job offer in one of the 23 vocations listed. Graphic designers and illustrators, mechanical engineers, and user support technicians are just a few examples of these jobs.
Candidates for the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program can apply for this program online (AINP).
British Columbia Institute of Technology
A preferential pathway dubbed the BC Tech stream is offered to select tech employees under the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). Candidates who have employment offers in one of 29 tech vocations are eligible for this PNP.
Candidates must be qualified for one of BC’s immigration programs and have a one-year work offer to be invited to a BC Tech draw.
Weekly tech drawings encourage eligible applicants to seek for a provincial nomination from the BC PNP. Candidates for BC Tech have various perks, including priority processing and a designated processing officer.
Ontario Tech Scores a Win
Tech Draws are held in Ontario for tech employees who qualify for the Human Capital Priorities (HCP) stream.
Candidates must be eligible for either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class in order to be invited. They must also have worked in one of the six tech jobs listed below:
Computer programmers and interactive media developers; computer engineers; software engineers;
web designers and programmers database administrators and analyzers; and Managers of computer and information systems.
Quebec’s Immigration Program for Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, and Visual Effects Workers
In an effort to develop its IT industry, Quebec began this immigration trial in April 2021. There are two streams in the pilot:
AI stands for artificial intelligence (AI)
There are two sub-streams within this stream: one for those who graduated from a Quebec college or university, and another for employees who received their training abroad. Applicants to the Quebec sub-graduate track must have prior work experience and a job offer.In some cases, the sub-stream for foreign employees does not require a job offer. Both require candidates to have relevant education that is at least equivalent to a Quebec bachelor’s degree.
Visual effects in information technology (IT)
Applicants for this program must have worked in one of ten vocations for at least two of the previous five years. Candidates must also have a current employment or a new job offer in their profession, as well as the equivalent of a Quebec technical studies diploma or a bachelor’s degree.
There are two more divisions in both streams. There are two groups: franco phones and non-franco phones. You must demonstrate that you have an advanced intermediate level of French if you apply under the francophone category.. There is no such need in the non-francophone stream.
Saskatchewan’s Technology Talent Pipeline
A new technology pathway for potential Canadian immigrants was been announced by the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP).
Applicants to Saskatchewan’s Tech Talent Pathway must obtain a SINP Job Approval Letter from an employer for a qualified technology sector occupation to be considered. They must have completed at least one year of employment in that occupation in the previous five years, or six months of work experience in the province.
If they work in Saskatchewan, they must additionally have a CLB 5 (Canadian Language Benchmark). If they want to apply for Express Entry, they must have a CLB level of 7.
Candidates must have completed post-secondary education and, if appropriate, be licensed in Saskatchewan.
(Source – CIC News)