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More Immigrant Tech Workers Choosing Canada Over U.S.

In light of U.S. travel restrictions on immigration more immigrant tech workers are considering relocating north to Canada.

In June, United States President Donald Trump suspended immigration for some certain visa holders. The White House argues that the move was to help American workers get jobs after many were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The suspension also includes H1-B visas. These visas were given to highly skilled foreign workers or professionals, including the likes of Elon Musk, CEO of both Tesla and Space X.

However, North of the border, Canada has been welcoming immigrants tech workers with open arms. In fact, Canada has welcomed tens of thousands of foreign tech professionals in the last three years alone.

As a matter of fact, report has it that a staggering forty (40) per cent of workers in the technology industry  are immigrants. To put that into perspective, immigrants make up twenty-five (25) per cent of Canada’s overall workforce.

Tobias Lutke, CEO of Canadian e-commerce behemoth Shopify urged skilled talent who are presently prevented from working in the Unites States, to consider Canada.

Lutke, himself a German immigrant, helped built Shopify into the billion-dollar corporation it is today.

American Tech companies may also decide to set up shop in Canada to benefit from the influx of talented workers from abroad.

What are the available options in Canada?

Canada launched the Global Talent Stream (GTS) several years ago and has since contributed to over 40,000 workers coming to Canada to work in many tech positions, such as software engineers and web designers.

So how does the GTS fair against the American version, H1-B visa? It’s faster. In fact the GTS allows skilled workers to obtain a work permit in just ten days.

In addition to the GTS, there are plenty of other pathways to immigrate to Canada as a tech talent.

Some provinces, including Ontario and British Columbia, hold periodic tech draws to help the technology sector attract and retain highly skilled workers.

How the Global Talent Stream (GTS) works

For a Canadian employer to hire highly skilled professional through the Global Talent Stream, the employer have to be qualified through one of two categories.

Category A requires the Canadian employer to be referred by a designated referral partner. If the employer lives in Quebec province, the referral must come from a Quebec partner.

In addition, the applicants must have ample knowledge of the sector, have an Master degree in a related field, have five years working experience in the field, and must be offered a minimum of $80,000 annual base salary, or higher, depending on the occupation’s general wage.

Under Category B, the salary or remuneration also depends on the occupation’s prevailing wages. Also, the employer must be employing for one of twelve occupations.

How the BC PNP Tech Pilot works

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) Tech Pilot requires individuals to have a job offer in one of twenty -nine (29) eligible occupations. Interested candidates will have to register through the Skills Immigration Registration System (SIRS).

British Columbia periodically holds tech draws to invite the highest-scoring skilled tech workers to apply for provincial nomination. Those who are invited then have thirty (30) days to lodge their application.

If a candidate is approved, he or she can then use their provincial nomination to apply for Canada permanent residence.

At this point, the candidate is effectively assured to be approved for Canadian permanent residence.

How Ontario Tech Draws work

Candidates who are qualified for federal streams such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are able to create a valid Express Entry profile.

The Federal Express Entry is the system used by the Canadian government to manage permanent residence applications.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) identifies qualified candidates already in the Express Entry pool. When a candidate is selected, he or she will receive a Notification of Interest (NOI).

Upon receiving a Notification of interest a candidate have to apply for provincial nomination under the Human Capital Priorities Stream within forty -five (45) days.

If approved, an applicant will get provincial nomination, and can use the nomination to apply for Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry.

Canada gradually emerging as a tech hub

Canada is on course to becoming a leader in technology and innovations. Its welcoming immigration policy provides a pathay to become the tech superpower it can be.

Many highly skilled technology workers, start-ups and established corporations are now considering the country as a more favourable destination thanks to routes to permanent residence for tech workers.