Canada’s tech sector is booming and needs labour to sustain its growth; for this reason, the Canadian government offers ample immigration options for tech workers that want to come to Canada.
Due to the high demand in the tech industry, Canada offers special work permits to tech workers. That said, there are ways for tech workers to immigrate permanently without ever having worked in Canada.
Here are some of the most popular ways for tech workers to immigrate to Canada in 2022:
Express Entry is a popular option for tech workers that want to settle permanently in Canada. Canada’s Express Entry system is responsible for welcoming about 110,000 newcomers each year.
Canada operates three main economic programs through the Express Entry system: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades (FST). The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is ideal for tech workers with no previous work experience in Canada.
The Express Entry system requires submitting an online profile that is scored by Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates with CRS scores above the cut-off are invited to apply for permanent residence.
While the Express Entry system does not currently consider occupation when determining a candidate’s CRS score, the immigration minister recently hinted at moving toward occupation-based Express Entry draws. This would allow the federal government to select candidates based on specific labour market needs. Since there is a high demand for many tech occupations, this would be good news for tech professionals in the Express Entry pool.
In the meantime, provinces continue to invite tech workers directly from the Express Entry pool through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
Provincial Nominee Programs for Tech Workers
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) have become an increasingly popular way for tech workers to immigrate to Canada. Many Canadian provinces offer nominee programs specific to those with experience in the tech industry. Some programs even invite candidates directly from the Express Entry pool to apply for nomination.
Here are three popular PNPs for tech workers overseas that want to settle permanently in Canada:
1. Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream
Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream is a great immigration option for overseas tech workers that don’t have a Canadian job offer. The stream regularly holds targeted tech draws, where they invite tech workers directly from the Express Entry pool.
The challenge of this stream is that tech workers can’t apply without first being invited by the province. In each tech draw, Ontario selects a targeted CRS range to determine which candidates will receive a Notification of Interest (NOI). Those who receive an NOI may apply for nomination within 45 days of receiving the notification.
2. British Columbia PNP Tech
British Columbia’s PNP Tech program provides expedited application processing for candidates with a BC job offer in one of 27 prioritized tech occupations. To qualify, tech workers must be eligible under one of BC’s Skills Immigration streams. The benefit of this program is that it doesn’t require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Instead, the province of BC may issue a “letter of support” to successful nominees, which can be used to apply for a Canadian work permit. BC’s 27 prioritized tech occupations include,
3. Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) offers an accelerated pathway to permanent residence for certain tech professionals with Alberta job offers. To be eligible under this program, candidates must have a job offer in one of 37 tech occupations, or with an employer in one of Alberta’s identified tech sectors.
This program operates through Alberta’s Express Entry stream. That means that candidates must be eligible for AINP’s Express Entry stream to apply under this pathway.
Like BC, Alberta’s Accelerated Tech Pathway offers letters of support to successful nominees that can be used to apply for a work permit in lieu of the lengthy LMIA process.
IT Professional Requirements in Canada
For most IT-related occupations, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree but some employers prefer a master’s degree in computer science, information science, or a related field. Most Canadian employers also want to see at least 3 years of IT experience, with 5 to 10 years of experience for higher-level positions.
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