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.
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:
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:
- USA and Mexico fall under CUSMA FTA, which is the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
- Chile falls under the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA);
- Peru falls under the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA);
- Columbia falls under the Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA);
- South Korea falls under the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement (CKFTA);
- Nationals of EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom fall under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA);
- Panama falls under the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement;
- Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam fall under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); and
- A national of any WTO-member country in specific occupations would fall under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
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.
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 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.
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!