What’s the best destination for foreign tech workers seeking to work and settle in Canada? Toronto, of course.
Toronto was ranked fourth in a survey of the top cities in North America for tech workers. The Greater Toronto Area is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in North America and the city saw a brain gain of close to 55,000 tech workers in 2021.
Does this mean your search for a tech job in Canada should begin and end with Toronto? Certainly not. Toronto is a high-profile tech destination but three other Canadian cities—Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montreal were ranked among the top-20 North American cities for tech workers.
And these are just the big cities. There are many smaller tech hubs that often get left out, which is why you need to consider surveys focusing on emerging tech markets as well.
The 2020 survey had Waterloo as the top-ranked emerging tech market in North America. Not surprisingly, the city graduated to the top-50 tech cities list and is now considered a full-fledged tech destination as opposed to just an emerging tech hub.
The 2021 survey of the top-25 emerging tech markets in Canada ranked Halifax and London at seventh and tenth position respectively.
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Canada—a Global Tech Superpower
Come 2022, it’s likely that Halifax too will achieve the status of a full-fledged tech hub in Canada. The reason? The Ocean Supercluster that’s concentrated primarily in Atlantic Canada.
The Ocean Supercluster is a tech hub that seeks to combine the potential of Canada’s technology prowess with various ocean-centric industries like renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, ship building, marine transport, and ocean technology.
Initiatives like the Ocean Supercluster clearly prove that Canada is going to remain a global tech superpower for a long time ahead in the future.
For starters, the mere fact that Canada’s private industries are seeking to create tech hubs beyond the Greater Toronto Area is great news. Silicon Valley dominates the tech landscape in the US, but Canada has already begun the process of creating newer tech hubs across the country.
Secondly, the Atlantic Supercluster is proof that the tech-friendly government policies are working. While the government contributed significantly to attract tech investments into the GTA, the Atlantic Supercluster is an initiative by private tech and non-tech companies.
This means the government’s efforts to establish the right policies has paid off and that private tech investments are taking off in Canada in a big way.
Thirdly, such initiatives highlight the vital contribution of Canada’s immigration system to its growing clout as a tech superpower. The Global Talent Stream work permit and its 14-day processing timeline has enabled tech companies to appoint a candidate on the first of the month and have him or her join office even before the end of the month.
Further, GTS work permit streams have been complemented by Canada’s robust immigration system for permanent residence. Ontario and British Columbia are two provinces that have tech-specific streams as a part of their provincial nomination program.
For others, the Express-Entry linked PNP stream is enough to invite foreign tech workers into the province. And then, Canada is the preferred study destination for foreign students, which means tech employers can access tech graduates through the international graduate streams of different provincial nomination programs.
Actionable Points for the Foreign Tech Worker
If you are a tech worker seeking a tech job in Canada, then you need to keep the following actionable points in mind.
- Look beyond the big cities. There’s a lot of growth taking place in emerging hubs. Instead of struggling for a job in saturated job market of Toronto, it makes sense to explore Waterloo, Halifax, London, and other emerging destinations.
- Don’t pick and choose. Instead, explore work permit, Express Entry, PNP streams, tech-specific programs, and programs like Atlantic pilot together.
- Finding a job can be tough but that doesn’t mean you should accept the first offer you get. Having a clear immigration strategy will give you the confidence of waiting for the right tech opportunity for you.
If work permit or immigration does not work out, then you should seriously consider studying in Canada. A Canadian degree is a great thing to have on your resume and you will then become eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit as well as the various international graduate PNP streams.