Canada has an increasing demand for highly skilled tech workers due to its expanding Information Technology (IT) industry. Foreign nationals working in tech occupations generally have greater success in several federal and provincial immigration programs.
The Canadian government has introduced various specific immigration streams to retain and encourage tech workers to immigrate to Canada. These programs include the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and a host of immigration streams offered by each province and territory with their own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Overview of Immigration Programs Available for Tech Workers:
The federal Express Entry system manages applications for 3 federal economic immigration programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
These programs encourage the economic immigration of highly skilled foreign workers. They do not target or prioritize foreign workers from specific occupations. However, it has been observed that the occupations most likely to succeed through the Express Entry system are tech occupations. Therefore, tech workers may find it easier to obtain permanent residency if they apply through the Express Entry system.
If you are working in a multinational company that has a subsidiary, affiliate, parent company or branch in Canada, you can apply for a work permit through the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT). You must be employed with that organization for at least 1 year and demonstrate that you have specialized knowledge about the operations of that organization.
This is especially beneficial for tech workers in occupations such as programmers and developers who have designed company software products, or computer engineers who have designed specific programs for the company’s internal use.
Global Talent Stream:
The government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched the Global Talent Stream (GTS) in 2017 to help temporary foreign workers attain a work permit through expediting processing. The GTS is a part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and allows foreign workers to get a work permit in 2 weeks.
The GTS has 2 categories. Category A is for high-growth companies referred by a designated referral partner who wants to hire highly skilled workers with specialized talent from abroad.
Category B is for individual employers who want to hire highly-skilled foreign workers in specific occupations listed on the Global Talent Occupation List. These occupations are considered in high demand and aim to fill local labor market shortages. This program is favorable for tech workers as they are highly skilled and are often hired by expanding tech companies that value specialized talent.
British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP):
The BC PNP launched the Tech Pilot in May 2017 to target tech workers in its existing provincial streams. The Tech Pilot is not a stand-alone program. It is a system to nominate eligible tech workers from eligible applicants to different immigration streams under the BC PNP.
The Tech Pilot targets 29 specific tech occupations that are in-demand in the province. Applicants must qualify for one of the existing immigration streams and have a valid job offer from an employer based in British Columbia.
The BC PNP conducts regular PNP draws and often prioritizes foreign workers in the targeted tech occupations for provincial nomination.