As the tech sector of Canada keeps growing despite the pandemic, the demand for tech workers is surging in the country. One of the ways through which Canada is finding a solution to this crisis is by admitting talented tech workers from abroad. The Council of Canadian Innovators had recently urged the federal government to pilot a new visa which would allow tech workers to come to the country even without a job offer.
Those who have required level of educational qualifications and work experience in the tech sector have a number of federal and provincial pathways to live and work in Canada.
The most important among them are as follows:
Global Talent Stream
Global Talent Stream allows Canadian employers to hire foreign tech workers. Under this Stream, application processing would take only around two weeks. However, the employers need to meet certain conditions with regard to payment for those workers. Especially, the employees hired under this stream must be paid prevailing wage or higher.
In 2020, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada(IRCC) issued the highest number of Express Entry invitations to candidates with experience in technology-related occupations. Though Express Entry invitations to Federal Skilled Worker Program and Canadian Experience Class program are temporarily paused at present, Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has informed that they would be resumed in July this year. So far this year, IRCC has invited only Provincial Nominee Program(PNP) through Express Entry.
Provincial Nomination for Tech Workers
Many provinces have nomination pathways which are exclusive for tech workers. Some of them are as follows:
Accelerated Tech Pathway of Alberta
Alberta Advantage Immigration Program launched Accelarated Tech Pathway of Alberta in January 2022. To be eligible for expedited processing under this pathway, the candidates need to prove their eligibility under the Alberta Express Entry stream. They must also be living in Alberta at the time of submitting the application or have a job offer in one of the 23 eligible occupations of Alberta. Some of these occupations are graphic designers and illustrators, mechanical engineers, and user support technicians.
British Columbia Tech Stream
British Columbia Tech stream is a priority pathway for tech workers. Candidates who have a job offer in one of the 29 tech occupations would be eligible under this pathway. The candidates must also prove their eligibility for one of the immigration programs of British Columbia and their job offer must be valid at least for one year. British Columbia conducts tech-specific draws every week and the BC Tech candidates are eligible for a lot of perks including priority processing and a special processing officer.
Ontario Tech Draws
Ontario conducts Tech-specific draws under the Human Capital Priorities(HCP) Stream. However, it is mandatory for the candidates to be eligible under either Federal Skilled Worker Program or Canadian Experience Class. They must also have work experience in one of the six tech-specific occupations:
- Software engineers and designers
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers
- Computer engineers
- Web designers and developers
- Database analysts and data administrators
- Computer and information systems managers
Quebec immigration pilot stream for tech workers
The immigration pilot program launched by Quebec for tech workers in April 2021 has two streams under it: Artificial Intelligence and Information Technology and Visual Effects.
Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway
The Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway, launched recently by Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) targets foreign tech workers who have an employer-specific SINP Job Approval Letter for an eligible occupation in the technology sector. The candidate must have at least one year of work experience in the same occupation acquired within the past five years or work experience of six months in Saskatchewan. The language proficiency requirement is minimum 5 in Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) if they are already working in Saskatchewan, and CLB 7 if they are applying for Express Entry. They must also have post-secondary level education and in some cases, professional licensing.