In a significant step towards establishing itself as a global technology hub, on the 27th of May 2023, The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Honorable Sean Fraser, announced that Canada has unveiled its first-ever Tech Talent Strategy. Recognizing the crucial role of technology and innovation in driving economic growth, the Canadian government aims to attract and retain top-tier tech talent from around the world. This groundbreaking strategy sets the stage for Canada to become a magnet for skilled professionals and positions the country as a leading destination for tech innovation.
- A newly established innovation stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP)
- Attracting digital nomads to Canada:
- Increasing labour mobility in North America by establishing a streamlined work permit for those with H1-B specialty occupation visas:
- Improving current IT initiatives including the Start-up Visa and the Global Skills Strategy
New innovation stream under the International Mobility Program (IMP)
Due to the shortages in labour that has proved to be persistent in various tech occupations, the Government of Canada is planning to launch an innovation stream under the International Mobility Program by the end of 2023. To attract highly talented individuals and help Canada’s innovation priorities and high-tech industries, IRCC is considering two options for the Innovation Stream proposal:
- employer-specific work permits for up to five years and
- open work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations.
Attracting digital nomads to Canada:
A digital nomad is someone who can work remotely from any location on the planet. A digital nomad can migrate to Canada for up to six months at a time under the present immigration laws while working remotely for a foreign business if they just need visitor status. In order to decide whether further measures to entice digital nomads to Canada would be desirable, IRCC will work with public and private partners. It’s anticipated that some digital nomads may choose to look for employment possibilities with Canadian businesses.
Increasing labour mobility in North America:
Many of the thousands of workers in high-tech disciplines employed by multinational corporations with significant operations in both Canada and the US have H-1B speciality occupation visas. Holders of H-1B speciality occupation visas in the US will be able to petition to move to Canada starting on July 16, 2023. They will be given an unrestricted work visa valid for three years. This will increase the opportunity for qualified employees to continue pursuing careers in the high-tech industry and support the growth and prosperity of the North American economy. Until the IRCC gets 10,000 applications, this provision will be in effect for a year. Only principal applicants will be considered, not their accompanying family members.
Improving the Start-up Visa and the Global Skills Strategy:
For foreign business owners who receive funding from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor organisation, or business incubator for their startup, the Start-up Visa (SUV) Programme offers a route to permanent residence. The Start-up Visa Program will have more spots allocated under the 2023 – 2025 multi-year levels plan. This means that compared to 2022, the number of permanent residents expected in the Federal Business category has increased by three times. In 2024 and 2025, additional growth is anticipated. The application inventory will decrease as more applications are processed and accepted. Given the lengthy wait times for applicants because of the high demand for the SUV program, IRCC will modify the temporary work permit option for SUV applicants and will now permit them to apply for an open work permit of up to three years rather than a one-year work permit that restricts them to working only for their own start-up.
Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy represents a significant milestone in the country’s quest to establish itself as a global technology hub. By attracting top-tier talent, supporting startups, and promoting diversity, Canada aims to unlock its innovation potential and drive economic growth. The strategy’s proactive approach to talent acquisition and development sets the stage for a vibrant tech ecosystem, where homegrown and international talent collaborate to push the boundaries of innovation. More information on the list of professions and eligibility can be found on the IRCC’s webpage.