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Canada Announces Tech Talent Strategy to Attract Tech Workers from All Over the World

In light of the labour shortages being experienced by Canadian employers, Immigration Canada has enhanced some of their current immigration programs and is creating or has created some new pathways dedicated to attracting the best tech talent in the world.

There are six main ways that Immigration Canada is prioritizing tech workers right now.


1. New and dedicated PR pathway for STEM sector: If you are a tech worker in Canada working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or “STEM”, Immigration Canada has created a STEM pathway for the PR Express Entry program, which is the main way obtain permanent residence in via your education and work experience. This means that if you are working in an occupation that is included in the STEM category, your PR application will be prioritized by the PR Express Entry program and you will be invited to apply for PR sooner than you would have before.

  • Occupations included in the STEM category are follows:
  • Architects: NOC 21200
  • Architecture and science managers: NOC 20011
  • Business systems specialists: NOC 21221
  • Civil Engineers: NOC 21300
  • Computer and information systems managers: NOC 20012
  • Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers): NOC 21311
  • Computer systems developers and programmers: NOC 21230
  • Cybersecurity specialists: NOC 21220
  • Data scientists: NOC 21211
  • Database analysts and data administrators: NOC 21223
  • Electrical and electronics engineers: NOC 21310
  • Engineering managers: NOC 20010
  • Industrial and manufacturing engineers: NOC 21321
  • Information systems specialists: NOC 21222
  • Land surveyors: NOC 21203
  • Landscape Architects: NOC 21201
  • Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries: NOC 21210
  • Metallurgical and materials engineers: NOC 21322
  • Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers: NOC 41400
  • Software developers and programmers: NOC 21232
  • Software engineers and designers: NOC 21231
  • Urban and land use planners: NOC 21202
  • Web designers: NOC 21233
  • Web developers and programmers: NOC 21234

2. Global Skills Strategy program: This program was launched 5 years ago. However, this program was obstructed due to processing delays resulting from the Covid-19 situation. Immigration Canada has announced in July 2023 that it has now rectified this situation and Canadian employers can expect work permit applications to be processed within approximately 2 weeks of submission. As such, Canadian employers now have access to talent they need when they need it. In order to be eligible for this program, the worker must be applying from outside of Canada. In addition, if workers are exempt from an LMIA, the job offer must be in a TEER 0 or TEER 1 position. For workers who require an LMIA, only the following NOC codes are eligible:

  • 20012   Computer and information systems managers      
  • 21300   Civil engineers   Prevailing wage 
  • 21310   Electrical and electronics engineers         
  • 21330   Mining engineers          
  • 21390   Aerospace engineers     
  • 21311   Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)     
  • 21210    Mathematicians and statisticians
  • 21211    Data scientists
  • 21220    Cybersecurity specialists
  • 21221    Business system specialists
  • 21222    Information systems specialists
  • 21233    Web designers Information systems analysts and consultants
  • 21211    Data scientists
  • 21223    Database analysts and data administrators          
  • 21231    Software engineers and designers
  • 21211    Data scientists
  • 21230    Computer systems developers and programmers
  • 21232    Software developers and programmers
  • 21234    Web developers and programmers
  • 21233    Web designers
  • 21234    Web developers and programmers
  • 22310    Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
  • 22220    Computer network and web technicians
  • 22222    Information systems testing technicians
  • 52120    Digital media designers
  • 51120    Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video game

3. Start-Up Visa Program: This program creates pathways for PR for entrepreneurs who create companies in Canada that hire Canadians/PRs. This program initially suffered from a flaw in program design, but Immigration Canada has now rectified this situation by increasing the number quota from 1000 to 3500 applicants per year and is prioritizing applications that have capital committed and are endorsed by trusted Canadian partners. This program gives open work permits for 3 years for the applicant and their families while they wait for permanent residence in Canada.

4. NEW WAYS TO ATTRACT TECH TALENT: Specific Stream for World’s Most Talented People: Immigration Canada announced in July 2023 that it will be creating a specific stream for some of the world’s most talented people to come to Canada to work for Canadian tech employers whether they have a job offer or not. No other announcement has been made to date, so we are still waiting to hear more about this upcoming pathway.

5. Digital Nomad Strategy: This will allow people who have foreign employers to work in Canada for up to 6 months at a time. This will allow the digital nomad to live in Canada and spend money in Canada as a visitor, while working for their foreign employer. Should the digital nomad receive a job offer in Canada, Immigration Canada will allow them to stay and work in Canada.

6. USA H-1B Visa Holders: As of July 16, 2023, Immigration Canada opened 10,000 spots for H-1B visa holders and their families in the USA to come and work in Canada with an open work permit for up to three years. This program was to stay open for one year or until the 10,000 spots were filled. Unfortunately, the cap of 10,000 applicants was reached within 48 hours of the program opening on July 17, 2023. Thus, this program is no longer accepting applications and is closed.


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