July 25, 2023
Canada’s First Ever Tech Talent Recruitment Strategy
On 27 June 2023 at Collision 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) launched Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy which involved additions and improvements to Canada’s immigration programs.
As part of Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy, Minister Fraser announced the following measures:
- The creation of an open work permit stream for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the US to apply for a Canadian work permit, and study or work permit options for their accompanying family members. The new H1-B specialty occupation visa holder work permit became available as of July 16, 2023. Approved applicants will receive an open work permit of up to three years in duration, which means they will be able to work for almost any employer anywhere in Canada. Their spouses and dependents will also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, as needed. This measure was intended to remain in effect for one year, or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications, which it did in just under 48 hours. Only principal applicants, and not their accompanying family members, will count toward the application cap.
- The development of an Innovation Stream under to the International Mobility Program to attract highly talented individuals, options for which include:
- Employer-specific work permits for up to five years for workers destined to work for a company identified by the Government of Canada as contributing to industrial innovation goals.
- Open work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations.
- Promoting Canada as a destination for digital nomads:
- A digital nomad is a person who can perform their job remotely from anywhere in the world.
- Under current Canadian immigration rules, a digital nomad only needs visitor status to relocate to Canada for up to six months at a time while they perform their job remotely for a foreign employer.
- In the months ahead, IRCC will collaborate with public and private partners alike to determine whether additional policies to attract digital nomads to Canada would be desirable.
- A return to the 14-day service standard for work permits under the Global Skills Strategy
- The creation of a STEM[i]-specific draw under category-based selection to issue additional invitations to apply under the Express Entry program.
- Improvements to the Start-up Visa Program:
- Allocation of more spots to this program for 2023, with further increases planned for 2024 and 2025.
- Applicants will be able to apply for a work permit that is up to three years in duration instead of one year.
- Applicants will be able to apply for an open work permit instead of one that limits them to working for their own start-up.
- Making this three-year open work permit available to each member of the entrepreneurial team instead of only those who are essential and urgently needed in Canada.
- Prioritizing applications that are supported by venture capital, angel investor groups and business incubators and have capital committed, along with applications that are supported by business incubators who are members of Canada’s Tech Network
[i] Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics