Employer’s 2023 Techimmigration Guide: Canada Tech Visa

Employer’s 2023 Techimmigration Guide: Canada Tech Visa

Canadian companies attract many international tech talents every year due to the increasing demand for tech workers. For many companies, techimmigration is something completely unknown, and the thought of securing Canadian tech visas for their workers seems daunting. This guide will outline everything about Canadian techimmigration to make the international hiring process easier for Canadian and foreign companies planning to open a tech office in the country!

What is TechImmigration?

Techimmigration is an immigration practice that involves bringing foreign tech workers to work for companies in Canada. Canada-based companies interested in hiring from abroad use techimmigration to reinforce their operations. Besides, foreign tech companies can also benefit from techimmigration by establishing Canadian offices and placing foreign tech workers there.

Canadian companies usually hire international workers for several reasons:

  • They struggle to find suitable candidates in the domestic tech talent pool;
  • They want to increase diversity and inclusion with qualified candidates;
  • They are looking to expand the expertise of their teams; and
  • Much much more.

Techimmigration is also used to bring in existing staff from your company’s operations in another country to work for your company in Canada – intra-company transfers.

Immigration Options

A graphic image that reviews Canada's Tech Talent Immigration

The Canadian immigration framework is well developed to support Canadian companies hiring from abroad. Employers benefit from several immigration programs that allow international employees to secure work permits and work for them in Canada in a relatively short time. These programs are listed below:

Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a program that was specifically designed to streamline the hiring process of international talent for Canadian employers. Depending on the type of workers you are hiring, your company can benefit from a 2-week processing time, which is one of the fastest in the world. This immigration option is used very frequently by Canadian tech companies that want to quickly employ highly-skilled international workers. Processing times: from 2 weeks to 4 weeks.
Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) is a program that allows multinational companies to bring workers from their business operations in another country to work in Canada. This option is ideal for transferring teams or experts from one country to another promptly. Processing times: from 2 to 4 months depending on the processing times at the relevant Canadian embassy or consulate.
Reciprocal employment (C20 work permit) allows foreign talent to work in Canada if Canadians have similar opportunities abroad in the same company or an affiliate. The employer must show evidence of reciprocal agreement which can be in the form of HR policy, company directives, or inter-company agreements. Processing times: from 1 month to 2 months depending on the processing times at the relevant Canadian embassy or consulate.
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a form of assessment used by the government to analyze whether your hiring of a foreigner will have negative effects on the domestic employment market. If you can receive LMIA approval then you will be able to hire foreign workers. Not all foreign workers are subject to LMIA and many tech workers are exempt from it. Processing times: from 10 days to 2 months.

Easily Hire Foreign Talent: International Agreements

Canada is a signatory to various Free Trade Agreements (FTA) that allow faster processing times and softened immigration requirements. If you are planning on employing or transferring staff from one of the countries below, you are likely to benefit from an FTA:

Processing Times for Techimmigration

The processing times differ depending on the chosen immigration pathway and range from 10 days to 2 months. It is important to check Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processing times for the most up-to-date information.

A graphic that allows people to learn more about tech immigration to Canada

Permanent Residency Through Canada Tech Visa

One of the most important reasons that some talented foreign professionals choose to work for Canadian employers is the possibility of gaining permanent resident status. It can also be an additional selling point to attract highly valued foreign talent as a Canadian company. After at least one year of employment in Canada in the tech industry, the worker can become eligible for the application for permanent residency. To do so, the worker would need to apply to one of the permanent residence programs.

Express Entry 

Express Entry is a Federal application portal that foreign tech workers can use to express their interest in permanent residency. If accepted, they will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

The Canadian government uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank eligible applicants. CRS is a points-based system that considers an applicant’s age, education, foreign and Canadian work experience, language skills, and many other facts.

There are three economic streams under the Express Entry system: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades (FST). In our experience, the most suitable ones for foreign tech workers are FSW and the CEC.

Provincial Nominee Programs for Foreign Tech Workers

Each Canadian province has a Provincial Nominee Program that foreign tech workers can use to apply for permanent residence. In some cases, provinces directly invite applicants from the Express Entry pool to apply for their PNP program. The below programs allow applicants to avoid the lengthy LMIA process by providing letters of support instead of an LMIA. The applicants can then use these letters of support to apply for a work permit, which then can lead to permanent residence.

The province of Alberta offers the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program (AINP). It allows foreign tech workers to secure permanent residency if they fall under the outlined tech occupations. AINP is part of Alberta’s Express Entry stream and candidates must be eligible for both in order to apply.
The western province of British Columbia created a PNP BC Tech program to attract foreign tech workers. If you are intending to apply under this program you also must be eligible to apply Skills Immigration or Express Entry BC stream of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program. Eligible candidates will receive a nomination to apply for permanent residence.
Ontario operates a provincial Express Entry stream through which foreign tech workers can gain permanent residency. Candidates must first apply to the federal Express Entry program and then receive a Notification of Interest from Ontario. Only after that, applicants can be nominated for permanent residence by Ontario.
This program is part of the province’s Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) which allows eligible tech talent to secure permanent residence. In order to apply for the Tech Talent Pathway, you must also be qualified to apply for SINP.
The province launched an immigration program aimed at foreign tech workers in artificial intelligence, information technology, and visual effects. If you fall under the outlined occupations you can be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

High-Tech Immigration 

There are many immigrants in tech, in Canada and worldwide. Some might say that Canada underwent a techimmigration reform with the introduction of the GTS, which allows for fast processing of immigrants in the tech industry. However, Canada’s immigration of tech workers is not limited to one program, and employers have an array of options to suit their business needs. A Canadian company can easily employ international professionals and STEM degree graduates.

On the tech immigrant’s side, Canada’s tech jobs market is constantly expanding! Many new start-ups emerge every year and establish themselves as strong players in their industries. Canada offers some of the best immigration options for IT professionals. Comparing the Canadian immigration process to the United State’s tech sector work visas and green cards, Canada has a more accommodating immigration system. It has never been easier to immigrate to Canada as a tech worker.

Tech jobs that are in high demand in Canada:

  • Software Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • App Developer
  • System Administrator
  • Data Analyst
  • Hardware Tester
  • Software Tester
  • Network Specialist
  • Back-end Developer
  • Front-end Developer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • and a lot more!