On June 27, 2023, at the Collision Conference, the Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser of Canada recently announced that new initiatives will be implemented to attract tech talent around the globe to Canada.
Tech Talent Strategy of Canada
This new Tech Talent Strategy is made up of some key measures and enhancements to existing measures to aid businesses that are in Canada to flourish in a competitive landscape.
Speaking about the new strategy, Minister Fraser stated that “We’re enthusiastic about the ambitious goals we have set in immigration because they aren’t just about numbers they are strategic. With Canada’s first-ever immigration Tech Talent Strategy, we’re targeting newcomers that can help enshrine Canada as a world leader in a variety of emerging technologies.”
Canada’s Tech Talent Recruitment Plan
Canada intends to draw tech talent around the world through its Tech Talent Strategy, which includes measures such as a New innovation stream under the following:
- International Mobility Programme (IMP)
- Work permits for H1-B visa holders
- Digital nomads
- The enhancement of programs such as the Start-up Visa and the Global Skills Strategy
- A new pathway for permanent residency (PR) specific for employees available in the(STEM) sector.
These measures are known as Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy and include:
Canada New Visa Work Permit
As a part of the new strategy, the federal government has decided to open a work permit stream for American H-1B visa holders to work in Canada. The H-1B visa program would enable U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations.
The H-B Visa would act more like a powerful magnet for tech professionals, that are interested in the opportunity available and salaries offered by the U.S. tech industry. This part of the strategy prompts a critical question: is Canada capable of competing with the United States when it comes to the tech world?
The U.S. tech industry is quite popular for its high salaries, making the financial aspect a significant consideration for H-1B recipients who are thinking about a move to Canada.
New Innovation Track within the International Mobility Programme
IRCC intends to create a new innovation stream under IMP to attract technologically gifted individuals. This is intended to address labor shortages in critical tech occupations and expand Canada’s talent pool.
This program is anticipated to be launched by the end of 2023. The exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) procedure will assist employers and workers in supporting Canada’s tech industry priorities.
IRCC is currently contemplating two options:
Up to five-year employer-specific work permits for employees destined to work for a company identified by the Canadian government.
Open work permits for up to five years to highly skilled workers in select occupations with high demand. Click here
Canada intends to become a destination for digital nomads by working with private and public partners to determine if additional policies to attract digital nomads would be advantageous for Canada.
Currently, a digital nomad working remotely for a foreign employer is limited to six months in Canada. IRCC desires that visa holders choose to remain in Canada and pursue employment opportunities with Canadian employers. Click here
Work Permit for H1-B Visa Holders
Canada decided in a recent announcement that those with legitimate H1-B visas can bring their families to the country. They will be eligible for a three-year work permit and will be able to work for nearly all Canadian employers. Additionally, spouses and dependents will be able to apply for a temporary resident visa, along with a work and study permit, if necessary.
This measure will remain in effect for one year, or until 10,000 applications are received by IRCC. Only primary applicants will be counted towards this limit, not family members.
Enhancing Existing Programs
Enhancing current programs. Global Skills Strategy was designed to assist Canadian employers in gaining rapid access to foreign talent with high levels of expertise. The processing periods for this work permit have returned to their pre-pandemic norms. In addition, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) meets its two-week processing standard for Global Talent Stream LMIAs, and IRCC meets its two-week processing standard for work permit applications.
This visa provides a path to permanent residency for foreign entrepreneurs whose startup receives support from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor organization, or business incubator. As a result of the lengthy wait times, more spaces were made available through this program. The targets for this category have trebled the expected number of permanent residents in the Federal Business category in 2023, with further increases anticipated in 2024 and 2025.
IRCC has decided to change the temporary work permit option for SUV applicants, allowing them to apply for an open work permit for up to three years, rather than a one-year work permit that restricts them to working exclusively for their own start-up. This is in response to the lengthy wait time and the high demand for Start-Up Visas.
In addition, IRCC will advance to the front of the processing queue applications that are backed by committed capital or endorsed by a business incubator. Click here
A New Pathway for Permanent Residency Specific to Employees Available in the(STEM) sector.
IRCC will be launching a new and dedicated pathway for permanent residency (PR) specific for employees available in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sector.
This is the list of eligible under the STEM category. Click here
How Long Will It Be Open?
This measure would be left open to tech individuals for about a year or till Refugees, Immigration and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) receives around 10,000 applicants. Only principal applicants, and not their accompanying family members, will count toward the step involved in applying.
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