Canada's Thriving Tech Talent Strategy - 2023
Unlocking Innovation and Prosperity for a Global Future
In the ever-changing landscape of the technological revolution, Canada is boldly embracing its role as a global leader in tech talent recruitment and attraction. The Government of Canada is committed not only to filling the high-demand jobs of today but also to attracting visionary skills and entrepreneurial prowess that will shape the jobs of tomorrow.
Under the visionary leadership of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, a cutting-edge approach has been unveiled, centered around four key pillars that herald a new era of progress and innovation in Canada's tech ecosystem.
1. Pioneering the Innovation Stream
Innovation lies at the core of Canada's future, and the introduction of the Innovation Stream within the International Mobility Program aims to magnetize the world's brightest minds. This stream revolutionizes the labor market impact assessment process, offering an exemption to high-growth employers and talented workers aligned with Canada's innovation priorities and high-tech industries.
Two exciting options are being considered, each designed to foster unparalleled growth and success:
a. Employer-specific work permits of up to five years for individuals destined to work with companies handpicked by the Government of Canada for their contributions to the nation's industrial innovation objectives.
b. Open work permits, spanning up to five years, for highly skilled professionals in sought-after, in-demand occupations, providing them with unprecedented opportunities to thrive on Canadian soil.
2. Canada: The Dream Destination for Digital Nomads
Embracing the borderless nature of modern work, Canada warmly welcomes digital nomads – trailblazers who can perform their job remotely from any corner of the globe. Under Canadian immigration rules, digital nomads can reside in the country for up to six months as visitors while they carry out their remote work for foreign employers.
The anticipation is that some of these digital nomads will be so enchanted by Canada's innovation ecosystem that they will seek opportunities with local companies. Should they receive a job offer, they will have the chance to enrich the Canadian workforce by applying for either a temporary work permit or permanent residence, ushering in a new era of global collaboration.
3. Driving North American Labor Mobility
Canada recognizes the interconnectivity of the North American tech landscape and, to bolster this synergy, introduces a streamlined work permit for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders from the United States. Thousands of skilled workers employed by companies with vast operations in both Canada and the US, often holding H-1B visas, will now have the chance to pursue their dreams north of the border.
As of July 16, 2023, H-1B specialty occupation visa holders and their immediate family members can apply to work in Canada. Successful applicants will be granted open work permits for up to three years, empowering them to contribute their expertise to any Canadian employer. Spouses and dependents will also be eligible to apply for temporary resident visas, including work or study permits if needed.
This initiative is set to enrich the high-tech sector while propelling economic growth and prosperity throughout North America. The program will remain active for one year, or until 10,000 applications are received. Note that only principal applicants, not accompanying family members, will count towards the application cap.
4. Elevating High-Skilled Occupations Programs
To fortify the foundation of Canada's tech ecosystem, the government is committed to enhancing existing programs tailored to high-skilled workers.
Global Skills Strategy
Since its inception in 2017, the Global Skills Strategy has been a catalyst for Canadian employers seeking access to top-tier talent worldwide. The pandemic's challenges have been met head-on, and processing times for Global Skills Strategy work permits have been restored to the two-week standard. This program continues to streamline the labor market impact assessment process for employers, and work permit applications are expedited by IRCC.
Start-Up Visa Program
The Start-Up Visa program serves as a gateway to permanent residence for foreign entrepreneurs garnering support from designated Canadian venture capital funds, angel investor organizations, or business incubators. To address lengthy wait times resulting from immense interest in the SUV program, IRCC has revamped the temporary work permit option. Now, applicants are eligible for an open work permit spanning up to three years, allowing them to explore diverse opportunities beyond their own start-up.
Applications endorsed by committed capital or supported by members of Canada's Tech network will be prioritized for processing. This approach aims to empower founders and their teams to seize success and provide substantial returns on investments. Both pending and new permanent residence applications will benefit from this prioritization plan.
These forward-thinking strategies are just the beginning of Canada's bold vision for 2023. Anticipate more groundbreaking initiatives aimed at optimizing processing times and refining program effectiveness, all set to be unveiled later this year.
With Canada's Tech Talent Strategy, the nation stands poised to shape a brighter, collaborative, and innovative future for all, ensuring Canada remains at the forefront of the global tech revolution. Together, we shall unlock unparalleled opportunities and prosperity for generations to come.