Canada's new government initiative to hire more tech workers to fill labour shortages in Canada and spur innovation - and the Canadian economy - is succeeding. On July 16, Canada launched its fast-track work-permit program with the goal to recruit 10,000 foreign tech workers in the U.S. who want to move to Canada. Those who applied and met eligibility requirements would be granted permanent Canadian resident status on an expedited basis, within six months. While the program was scheduled to be open for 1 year, that goal was reached in less than 48 hours. Now Canadian tech employers have asked Canada’s immigration ministry to extend the program.
Canadian tech employers have asked Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to expand a fast-track work permit program that quickly filled its cap of 10,000 permanent residence applications from non-citizen U.S. H-1B tech workers, according to the Toronto Star. IRCC has not yet responded to the request from tech employers, but it is likely that they will consider expanding the program. The government has been clear that it is committed to attracting and retaining skilled tech workers, and this program is a key part of that strategy.
Why Are U.S. H-1B Tech Workers Choosing To Move To Canada?
Foreign tech workers can wait years to be approved for a 3-year U. S. H-1B visa, and decades for approval for a green card, or permanent residency. With the recent tech layoffs by big brands such as Google and Apple, many H-1B visa holders faced the loss of their visa and return to their home country if they didn't find another job just in just a few months.
- Canadian tech workers can get an Express Entry approval in 6 months or less, and even faster under other immigration programs.
- Foreign tech workers can qualify for permanent residence.
- If they are laid off, they have more time to find a new job.
- Canadian programs for entrepreneurs and start-ups support foreign talent who want to launch a business in Canada.
- Spouses can get a work visa and apply for a Canadian job or higher education studies.
Canada's Foreign Tech Talent Strategy
Canada is committed to becoming a top destination for global tech talent. To achieve this goal, Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy was launched on June 27, 2023, to fill in-demand jobs, address the labour shortage, and to "attract highly talented individuals":
- Innovation Stream:
This new stream under the International Mobility Program will exempt high-growth employers and talented workers in the tech sector from the labour market impact assessment process. This will make it easier for these businesses to attract and retain the talent they need to grow and innovate.
- Positioning Canada as a Hub for Digital Nomads:
Canada recognizes the growing number of digital nomads, who are professionals who can work remotely from anywhere in the world. The government plans to explore additional policies to make Canada an attractive destination for these individuals.
- Streamlined Work Permit Application Process for H-1B Visa Holders:
H-1B visa holders in the United States will now be able to apply for a work permit in Canada through a streamlined process. This will make it easier for these skilled workers to contribute to Canada's tech sector.
- Improvements to Existing Programs:
The government will also make improvements to existing immigration programs to make it easier for tech talent to come to Canada. This includes reducing processing times and increasing the number of spots available in certain programs.
- Dedicated Pathway for STEM Workers
Canada has launched a dedicated Express Entry pathway for permanent residency for STEM sector employees. The first STEM round for category-based selection was held in July.
- Expansion of the Start-Up Visa Program
The Start-up Visa Program will increase from 1000 to 3500 applicants per year; applicants and their families will be issued open work permits for three years, allowing them to reside in Canada while awaiting application processing.
These measures are part of Canada's plan to become a global leader in the tech sector. By attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent from around the world, Canada plans to build a strong and innovative economy for the future.
Are You A Tech Worker Who Wants To Move To Canada?
Ackah Business Immigration Law and Evelyn Ackah, an award-winning immigration lawyer recognized for her exceptional skill in preemptively resolving immigration issues, has established a strong reputation for its commitment to assisting clients in realizing their aspirations of living and working in Canada.
Ackah Business Immigration Law has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to help clients move to new opportunities in Canada. To get in touch with Ackah Law, contact us at (403) 452-9515 or send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.