2023 Guide to Immigration/Work Permit and International Job Opportunities for tech talent

Canada is taking a major step toward securing its position as a global tech leader by launching its first-ever Tech Talent Strategy. The new measures and improvements aim to attract top talent, fuel innovation, and drive the advancement of emerging technologies.

Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, unveiled the strategy and here’s what is put together for you:

Attracting Global Tech Talent

To ensure Canadian businesses thrive in a competitive landscape, the Tech Talent Strategy introduces aggressive attraction measures. These initiatives are designed to attract top talent worldwide to drive technological advancements within Canadian companies.

One notable measure is the creation of an open work permit stream for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the US. These individuals can now apply for a Canadian work permit, along with study or work permit options for their accompanying family members. This move aims to tap into the pool of highly skilled professionals in the US and encourage them to contribute their expertise to Canada’s tech industry.

Additionally, the strategy includes the development of an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program. This stream offers employer-specific work permits for up to five years to workers destined to work for companies contributing to Canada’s industrial innovation goals.

Open work permits for up to five years are also available for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations.

Work Permit Processes

Recognizing the need for efficiency, the Tech Talent Strategy prioritizes faster processing of work permits. The service standard for work permits under the Global Skills Strategy is being restored to the 14-day timeline, providing quick access to highly skilled talent from across the globe. This change ensures that Canadian employers can swiftly bring in the expertise they need to keep pace with technological advancements.

Digital Nomads

Acknowledging the rise of digital nomads, Canada is actively promoting itself as a desirable destination for these location-independent professionals. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and robust tech ecosystem, Canada offers an attractive environment for digital nomads to work and live. By embracing this trend, the Tech Talent Strategy aims to position Canada as a top choice for these mobile professionals and harness their talent and contributions.

Start-up Visa Program

The Tech Talent Strategy also includes improvements to the Start-up Visa Program, which supports immigrant entrepreneurs. In 2023, additional spots were allocated to the program, with further increases planned for 2024 and 2025.

Notable enhancements include:

  • Allowing applicants to apply for a work permit of up to three years.
  • An open work permit enables them to work for any employer.
  • Extending these benefits to all members of the entrepreneurial team.

The prioritization of applications supported by venture capital, angel investor groups, and business incubators strengthens the support system for immigrant entrepreneurs.

Canada’s Prominence in Tech Talent

Canada’s commitment to fostering a thriving tech ecosystem has yielded impressive results. According to the report by CBRE, Canadian cities dominated the top tech talent markets in North America, accounting for 11 out of the top 62 cities. Additionally, Canadian cities secured seven spots in the top ten for tech industry job growth between 2016 and 2021. These achievements underscore Canada’s strong position in attracting and nurturing tech talent.


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