The United States has always been a nucleus for technology and innovation, attracting talent worldwide. Though, as reported by the Cato Institute in Washington, the employment-based green card backlog has 1.4 million skilled immigrants in waiting. These immigrants face long waiting periods and are unaware of numerous Canadian immigration options available.
Thus, international tech workers who wish to immigrate to the US are missing out on the opportunity to explore the possibility of immigrating to Canada. The latest report released by the US non-profit, “State of the Tech Workforce Canada” revealed that the total number of tech workers employed in Canada reached 1.23 million in 2021, signifying a 9% increase from 2019. This number is expected to grow by 1.5% and making a lucrative option for US tech professionals.
The Pathways for US Tech Professionals to Immigrate to Canada
IRCC has various temporary and permanent resident pathways for US tech professionals looking to immigrate to Canada. These pathways include the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): Global Talent Stream (GTS), Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA): Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs), Start-Up Visa Program, and Provincial Nominee Programs.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): Global Talent Stream (GTS)
The Global Talent Stream permits Canadian employers to invite dedicated foreign tech talent to work in Canada and offers an opportunity for foreign skilled workers to use their skills in assisting innovative Canadian companies to thrive. The ESDC targets to meet a service standard of 10 business days for GST applications, with an 80% success rate.
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA): Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs)
US tech workers can be temporarily transferred to work for the Canadian work branch of their American employer through the Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs) of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
Start-Up Visa Program
It is another Canadian permanent residence program that is aimed to recruit foreign national entrepreneurs who will develop new jobs and accelerate economic growth in Canada. Successful candidates under this program will be connected with IRCC-designated organizations that offer funding, guidance, and expertise to international setups in Canada.
Becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident after Working in Canada
Foreign nationals can easily apply for permanent residence in Canada without first working in Canada. However, the above-mentioned pathways will make it easier for U.S. tech workers to apply for PR in Canada because they offer access opportunities to foreign nationals to acquire Canadian work experience prior to applying. Work experience will have an impact on eligibility for Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) – the two main pathways for skilled workers to gain Canadian PR.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
PNP is a regional immigration initiative that operates in 11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. Each of these programs allows governments to select immigration candidates that are best suited to address specific labor gaps based on the local economy’s particular needs.
PNPs have several streams catering to skilled workers in the tech industry, and every PNP has at least one stream aligned with Express Entry, which ranks and scores applicants through its Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Canadian PR invitations are then given out through Express Entry draws that occur about every two weeks to a group of people that are above the CRS cut-off score for that draw.