Canadian immigration options for tech talent

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A U.S. media report highlights the emergence of Canada as a hot spot for global tech talent.

Canada is open to tech talent.

A recent U.S. media report by CGTN America sheds light on Canada’s emergence as a destination of choice for tech workers from around the world amid immigration restrictions imposed by the U.S. government.

Indeed, Canada has made a concerted effort to attract more workers to its shores to feed the need of its flourishing tech industry. As such, there are over 100 different options for tech workers who either want to obtain permanent residence or a work permit in Canada.

Immigration pathways for tech talent

Canada has over 100 skilled worker pathways for individuals who want to obtain permanent residence.

Express Entry is the main way for such individuals to apply for Canadian immigration. Candidates submit their profile on the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for free. IRCC awards them a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on their human capital criteria. This criteria includes the candidate’s age, education, language skills, and work experience.

Every two weeks, IRCC holds Express Entry draws inviting the candidates with the highest CRS scores to apply for permanent residence. 

Express Entry draws have remained a constant fixture throughout the pandemic as Canada is sticking to its Immigration Levels Plan 2020-2022 despite the coronavirus.

Express Entry draw sizes have increased and IRCC has recently held its second-largest Express Entry draws ever.

Candidates from outside of Canada are still succeeding under Express Entry despite the pandemic as IRCC aims to facilitate their immigration to Canada once the global crisis begins to subside.

Given Canada’s strong need for tech workers, as well as the high CRS scores that tech workers tend to obtain, tech workers are the leading source of successful candidates under Express Entry.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The second biggest option for tech workers who want to immigrate to Canada is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Provinces and territories across Canada have the Constitutional authority to select immigrants that meet their local economic needs.

Individuals can apply to a PNP stream directly, or they can be invited to apply to a PNP by submitting an Express Entry profile to IRCC. Obtaining an invitation from a province guarantees an individual they will get an Express Entry invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Numerous provinces have PNP streams dedicated to tech workers. Saskatchewan recently held a draw inviting tech workers, while the likes of British Columbia and Ontario have held numerous tech draws since the start of the pandemic.

Start-up Visa

IRCC also operates the Start-up Visa program.

The SUV is a pathway for innovative entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Canada. It largely attracts tech talent and has grown in prominence in recent years. Successful candidates need to be endorsed by an angel investor, venture capital firm, or business incubator that has been designated by IRCC. Once an endorsement letter has been obtained, the successful candidate can go ahead and submit their permanent residence application.

Work permit options

Canada also offers dozens of pathways for tech talent who need a work visa.

Temporary foreign workers are exempt from Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions for the most part.

The Global Talent Stream has become a leading option for tech workers in recent years.

It expedites the processing time of obtaining a work permit to about four weeks in total.

Canada makes it considerably easier for Canadian employers to recruit highly skilled talent through the Global Talent Stream.

Since launching in 2017, the Global Talent Stream has helped to facilitate the arrival of an additional 40,000 tech workers to Canada.

One of the benefits of coming to Canada through a work visa pathway is it can help to increase the odds of individuals who eventually want Canadian permanent residence. Obtaining work experience in Canada gives immigration candidates extra points and more options under Express Entry and the PNP.

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