With 200,000 skilled workers competing for 85,000 H-1B visas every year, the American dream had, for quite some time now, become a matter of luck than real talent or capability for foreign tech workers.
Now, President Trump’s decision to suspend the H-1B work permit and employment-related EB-immigrant visas has made one thing clear for tech employers and workers alike—time to move to Canada!
Canada—Welcoming Destination for Tech Workers
The US and Canada have adopted contrasting approaches towards skilled-worker immigration, and the results are beginning to show. Canada is becoming the preferred destination for STEM students from across the world.
Tech employers, including giants like Alphabet and Apple, are focusing on expanding their presence in the US. And there has been a huge increase in Indian skilled workers, particularly tech professionals, seeking work permits and permanent residence in Canada.
Immigrants make up a quarter of Canada’s overall workforce, but this proportion is significantly higher in the tech sector where two out of every five tech worker in Canada is an immigrant worker.
A Look at Tech-Centric Options for Foreign Professionals
Canada’s Global Talent Stream was the country’s first serious attempt at attracting tech workers, and it has significantly contributed to boosting Canada’s tech industry.
The Global Talent Stream is a work-permit stream that allows tech employers to hire either unique and specialized talent or high-wage experienced skilled workers with advanced degrees to get a Canadian work permit within just 14 days.
The biggest advantage of the GTS is that employers are exempt from advertising the position within Canada, which means they can quickly hire a foreign tech worker even if similar domestic talent is available.
Those seeking direct permanent residence have the option of taking the EE-FSWP route. There are no specific programs or streams for tech workers in federal immigration programs. Yet, an experienced tech worker with an advanced degree and a Canadian job offer should not find it difficult to qualify for an ITA.
Those seeking specific programs for tech workers can explore provincial programs like British Columbia’s Tech Pilot program or Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream.
The BC Tech Pilot conducts frequent draws to skilled workers in 29 eligible tech occupations. Applicants must register through the Skills Immigration Registration System and those with scores above the cutoff receive the ITA.
An approved application will lead to provincial nomination and subsequent PR in Canda.
Greater Toronto Area is the biggest tech hub in Canada and the fourth-largest in North America. This is probably why the Human Capital Priorities stream of Ontario’s PNP covers six tech occupations.
This is an EE-linked stream, which means eligible tech workers in the EE pool can quality for a Notification of Interest and get a 600-point CRS score jump by securing a PR nomination from Ontario.
Tech workers may be in demand in Canada, but that doesn’t mean you cannot explore more ways of securing a work permit/ITA quickly. From exploring community pilot or the Atlantic Pilot programs to boosting your French skills to qualify for Francophone PNP streams, consider working with an immigration professional to identify tech-centric and other streams and programs to begin the Canadian dream.