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Canadian immigration pathways for tech workers

Canada’s tech sector has been booming in the recent years. Technology is evolving rapidly, and Canada has quickly established itself as a leader in the emerging IT sector. More and more tech workers are immigrating to Canada in search of new employment opportunities and there is no secret why?

Canada offers various ways to immigrate as a tech talent, including programs which offer Canadian permanent residency. Even with the advent of coronavirus pandemic, this sector remains strong with companies actively recruiting talent around the globe.

Canada is helping to make it easier for businesses in the technology sector to recruit top talent. Whether candidates wish to move to Canada on a permanent or temporary basis, the following are key options are to consider:

Express Entry

Express Entry is a system used by the Canadian Government to manage Canadian permanent residence applications for filling labor gaps through certain economic immigration programs. It is an extremely popular option for global tech talent looking to immigrate to Canada. Tech workers are the main occupational group of immigrants who move to Canada through Express Entry.

If you are a tech worker who has not lived in Canada before, the best option for being eligible for Express Entry is through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). The FSWP accounts for nearly half of all individuals who obtain an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications are assessed based on an applicant’s ability to become economically established upon immigration to Canada. This is a key category in Canada’s Express Entry (EE) immigration system.

Minimum program requirements: To qualify under this program, the applicant must:

  • Have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent paid work experience in the past 10 years in a skilled occupation (National Occupational Classification skill lever 0, A or B); or Qualify for an  Arranged Employment in Canada (AEO) with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for a full-time, permanent job offer from a Canadian employer;
  • Get a minimum level of CLB 7 or NCLC 7 for first official language in all 4 language areas (Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening). To get points for the second official language, you must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 or NCLC 5 in all 4 language areas;
  • Have a Canadian educational or Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)for a foreign education.
  • In addition to fulfilling eligibility and points requirements, applicants must show that they have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their dependents after arrival in Canada

Important Points

  • The applicant(s) must obtain at least 67 points based on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) immigration selection factors. The selection factors are as follows:

Education: 25 points | Language: 28 points | Work Experience: 15 points | Age: 12 points | Arrange Employment: 10 points | Adaptability: 10 points

  • The applicants must plan to reside outside the province of Quebec. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers through a unique immigration system.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Furthermore, the next best option for tech talent to immigrate to Canada is PNP. The Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) allow Canadian provinces and territories to nominate individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada and are interested in settling in a particular province.

Provinces and territories (PTs) that operate a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) can nominate candidates through the Express Entry pool, in addition to nominating foreign nationals to the existing paper-based process. PT nominations made via Express Entry are called “enhanced nominations” and enable each PT to increase its annual nomination space. Enhanced nominations are processed online and are subject to the six-month or less processing standard (in 80% of cases).

 Minimum program requirements: To qualify under this program, the applicant must:

Important Points

  • Candidates who have a PT nomination receive an additional 600 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which is usually sufficient to trigger an invitation to apply (ITA) at the next round of invitations.
  • PTs have direct access to the Express Entry pool through a dedicated portal that allows them to view and nominate candidates in the pool.
  • Once a nomination has been issued by a PT and accepted by a candidate, it cannot be cancelled in the candidate’s Express Entry profile. Should the candidate change their mind, or the PT withdraw the nomination after acceptance of the nomination, the candidate must cancel their Express Entry profile and submit a new profile in their online account.

Tech is a significant area of need, which is why some provinces operate tech worker streams, the most notable programs are offered by the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

The Ontario Tech Pilot is for workers who have experience in one of six tech occupations and have crated their Express Entry profile. In 2020 Ontario has held two Tech Pilot draws, including one during the pandemic, in May, under which over 700 candidates received invitations for a provincial nomination.

The demand for talent in B.C.’s tech sector is increasing faster than supply. British Columbia Tech Pilot invites immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination on an almost weekly basis if the candidates have a job offer in one of 29 tech occupations. In 2020, the province has held 14 tech draws, including earlier this month, with over 1,500 people receiving provincial nominations so far this year.

Start-Up Visa

The Canadian government also operates the Start-up Visa program. This program grants permanent residence to immigrant entrepreneurs while assisting them to become established in Canada. It is a popular option for tech talent and has significantly different selection criteria from other skilled worker programs.

The program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Canada. Under this program successful candidates need to be endorsed by a Canadian government designated entity such as an angel investor, venture capital firm, or business incubator, who are in turn responsible for supporting the entrepreneur’s success once they come to Canada.

Eligibility requirements of the program: To be eligible for the Start-up Visa Program, the applicant must:

  • Have a qualifying business
  • Get a letter of support from a designated organization
  • Meet the language requirements
  • Bring enough money to settle
  • Pass Canadian security and medical clearances
  • Plan to settle in a province other than the Province of Quebec 

Qualifying Business: A qualifying business means you created a business that meets the following conditions:

  • At the time you get a commitment from a designated organization:
    • Each applicant holds 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners)

and 

  • Applicants and the designated organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • At the time you receive your permanent residence:
    • You provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
    • An essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • This business is incorporated in Canada 

Designated Organization

The applicant must get a letter of support from a designated organization. Designated organizations are business groups (venture capital funds, angel investor groups, and business incubator organizations) that are approved to invest in or support possible start-ups through the Start-up Visa Program. Successful applicants are required to secure a minimum investment for their Canadian start-up. If coming from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, the investment must be at least $200,000 CAD. If coming from an angel investor group, it should be at least $75,000 CAD. Applicants do not need to secure any investment from a business incubator. However, applicants must be accepted into a Canadian business incubator program.

Applicants are not required to invest any of their own money. If their Canadian start-up is unsuccessful, individuals granted permanent residence through this program will retain their permanent resident status. 

Language Requirements

The applicant must meet the minimum level of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in either English or French in all four areas (speaking, reading, listening & writing). 

Enough money to settle in Canada

The Government of Canada does not give financial support to new start-up visa immigrants. An applicant is required to give proof that he/she has the sufficient money to support themselves and dependents after their arrival in Canada. 

Global Talent Stream 

Apart from permanent residency programs, Canada offers many temporary resident pathways for tech workers who are looking for a faster pathway to migrate before submitting a permanent residence application or do not wish to settle permanently in Canada. Immigration programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) are meant to support the process of temporary residents seeking permanent residency in the country.

One of the more notable temporary visa options is the Global Talent Stream. It enables Canadian employers to hire tech talent and bring them to Canada in about a month. The Global Talent Stream is one component of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy which has facilitated the arrival of over 40,000 tech workers to the country since 2017. 

IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON CANADIAN IMMIGRATION

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact on travel to Canada, but the country is still enabling temporary visa holders to enter the country for work. Invitations to successful immigration candidates are also progressing since Canada is planning to welcome them into the country once the pandemic has subsided. As a holistic view, Canada remains open to global tech talent who wish to call this country their new home.

With so many tech jobs and immigration opportunities, you may be unsure of where to start? Contact us and book a consultation!

OINP : Employer Job Offer Stream is opening on July 21, 2020

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) will start accepting applications to the Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker stream on July 21, 2020. OINP is expecting a high volume of applications any place users in a priority queue. The online portal will automatically prevent further registrations once the intake limit has been met. Candidates applying under this stream must access the OINP’s e-Filing Portal. OINP is not recommending using a mobile device to access the e-Filing system.

Earlier this year, the foreign worker stream opened on March 03 and closed on the same day after a brief pause in intake due to technical issues.

Important changes in employer form

Applicant’s  must submit the most recent version of the Employer Form, which must be completed and dated no earlier than July 21st, 2020. Including an Employer Form completed and dated prior to July 21st, 2020 will result in the application being returned as incomplete. Applicant’s will have 14 days to complete and submit the application after registration.

OINP has revised the Regulatory Compliance Information of the employer to indicate whether the employer’s business is currently compliant (i.e. has no outstanding orders) under the Ontario Employment Standards Act 2000 and the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

How to contact OINP in case of technical difficulties?

OINP can be contacted directly at [email protected] and include a screen shot showing the time and date stamp and include details about how the error occurred during registration.

OINP Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker Stream

This stream is for foreign workers with a job offer in a skilled occupation at Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). This stream is open to foreign workers in and outside of Canada.

 Requirements

 Job Offer requirements

  • The candidate must have a full-time and permanent job offer. Full-time means the job must be a minimum of 1,560 hours a year and a minimum of 30 hours of paid work per week. Permanent means the job must have no end date (also known as an indeterminate duration).
  • The job offered must be in a skilled occupation at Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B of the National Occupation Classification (NOC).
  • Salary in the job offered must meet or be higher than the median wage level, for that occupation.
  • The position offered must be necessary to the employer’s business. This means that the job offer must align with the employer’s existing business activities and the position must be needed to maintain or grow ongoing business activity.
  • The job duties for the position of the job offer must occur primarily in Ontario.

 Applicant Requirements 

  • Applicant must have at least 2 years of paid full-time (or the equivalent in part-time) work experience (within the 5 years prior to submitting the application) in the same occupation (same NOC code) as in job offer.
  • The applicant must intend to live in Ontario after becoming permanent residence.
  • The applicant must have legal status (a visitor record, study permit, or work permit) at the time of the application and should maintain that status until the time of nomination.

 Employer requirements 

  • The employer must be in active business in Ontario for at least three years prior submitting the application.
  • The employer must have a minimum of $1,000,000 in total gross annual revenue for a job offer based in Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York, and Peel regions) and $500,000 for a job offer based outside of the Greater Toronto Area.
  • The employer must have at least 5 full-time employees (Canadian citizens or permanent residents) for GTA region and 3 full-time employees for a job offer based outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

Document requirements 

EmployerApplicant

 Cost to apply 

  • $1,500 CAD: if the job offer is outside of the Greater Toronto Area
  • $2,000 CAD: if the job offer is within the Greater Toronto Area (City of Toronto, Durham, Halton, York, and Peel regions)

 Need help in applying for OINP!

 Please contact us for free consultation and assessment!

Major changes to help international students

Canada aims to attract more international students as they contribute to economic and social development of the country. Canada hosted over 640,000 international students prior to the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated that it will help international students with the following reforms:

  • IRCC will prioritize study permit processing for students who have submitted a completed application online.
  • In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, they have launched a temporary 2 stage approval process for international students, who wish to begin their Canadian education program online this fall and, cannot submit a completed study permit application by September 2020.
  • IRCC is also allowing international students to begin their Canadian studies online while they are in their home country and will consider that time count towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)eligibility, only if they have submitted a study permit application and if at least 50 per cent of the program is completed in Canada.

Reason to help international students

Canada covets international students and IRCC acknowledges that COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty for international students to begin their programs for the Fall 2020 academic year, so they are rolling out measures to facilitate study permit process. These measures will assist students to commence their studies this fall at a Canadian designated learning institute.

How to get a pre-approval for a study permit?

IRCC will provide an approval-in-principle for study permits if students pass the first stage. The two-stage assessment process will be applied to applicants at all levels of study whose program is starting in the fall semester or earlier and who submit, or have already submitted, a study permit application online on or before September 15, 2020.

At the initial eligibility stage, officers will assess:

For the admissibility stage, before a final decision is made, officers will review the following:

After receiving final approval for their study permit, students will be able to travel to Canada.

Mutual benefits

IRCC has made several temporary policy changes to support and reassure international students as international student attraction is beneficial to both, the students and to the Canadian economy.

International students attain world class education in Canadian learning institutes, with hands on academic learning and a highly dynamic approach. After completing education, students can gain a PGWP and gain work experience which will help to obtain permanent residency through Express EntryProvincial Nominee Program (PNP), and many other pathways.

According to IRCC, in year 2018 Canada accommodated over 650,000 international students at the post-secondary education level in the year 2019 and over 60,000 former international students become immigrants each year.

International students contribute $22 billion annually to support the Canadian economy which in turn facilitates 170,000 jobs in Canada.

How Can-X can help?

  • Each study program has different set of requirements. We help clients in selecting suitable courses and/or programs based on their educational background, interest and long-term goals.
  • We help clients in getting a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada.
  • We prepare and submit the student visa application on the behalf o the client.

Want help in student visa application process! Please contact us for assessment & more information.

Work permit levels in Canada remain steady post COVID-19 outbreak

The number of work permits issued to TFWs in Canada appears to have been affected by coronavirus closures. The year started off strong where a total of 32,995 work permits were issued in January 2020 but, after the novel coronavirus pandemic in March total number of work permit went down to 19,650.

The work permit number increased to 29,900 in April which again dropped to 25,125 in May, 2020. The drop in May work permits is typically in part due to less Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) permits.

These new permits issued to TFWs post COVID-19 outbreak include permits issued to people who were eligible to work in Canada through the

  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or
  • International Mobility Program (IMP)

The TFWP allows Canadian employers to hire foreign talent when no Canadian worker could fill the job vacancy. It is mainly used to admit seasonal agricultural workers to Canada, but also covers other sectors while IMP, which meets Canada’s broad economic and social needs, includes the Global Talent Stream (GTS), and the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Tech workers who either work for designated companies or are being hired in highly skilled occupations can apply under GTS.

International students can use the PGWP to gain up to three years of Canadian work experience, which is highly valued in an application for permanent residence.

General eligibility requirements for Work permit. No matter where you apply, you must

  • Prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires. You can include many supporting documents to support this claim. For example: your family ties, employment etc.
  • Show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home. You can include your financial documents.
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (IRCC may ask you to provide a police clearance certificate)
  • Not be a danger to Canada’s security,
  • Be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed,
  • Not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers.
  • Not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • Give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country. 

Work Permit from outside Canada

To come to Canada as a temporary foreign worker, you must get a work permit. In general, you need to apply for a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) before you come to Canada. You must apply to a visa office outside Canada if you need a visa to enter Canada or if you need to have a medical exam before you come to Canada. You need to get a job offer and some other documents from a Canadian employer before you apply.

Work Permit from inside Canada

You can apply for a work permit from inside Canada if you are currently in Canada and

  • Have a valid study or work permit, or your spouse or parents have a study or work permit
  • Have graduated from a program at a Canadian university, community college, CÉGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or other eligible school.
  • Have a temporary resident permit that is valid for six months or more,
  • Have applied or been included in an application for permanent residence from inside Canada (you will have to pass certain stages in the main application process to be eligible for a work permit)

Work Permit at the port of entry

You may apply for a work permit on arrival at a port of entry (POE) in Canada if the following applies

  • You are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa and your job falls within the International Mobility Program (i.e., you are not required to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment [LMIA]);
  • You are exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa and your job falls within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (i.e., you are required to obtain an LMIA) and a positive or neutral LMIA has been issued by the time you arrive, and your employer has completed all of the steps for your type of work permit
  • You are a national or permanent resident of the U.S., Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon regardless of whether your job falls with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program.
  • You will not be working as a live-in caregiver or as a seasonal agricultural worker

In addition to the above, you must have completed your immigration medical examination, if required, before your arrival. If you’re a citizen of an eTA-required country, you’ll need to get an eTA if you plan to fly into Canada. IRCC recommends that you apply for your work permit before you travel to Canada.

Work permits based on skill types

High Skilled Work Permits

High skilled work permits are obtained in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level 0, A or B.  Generally, for skilled work permits, applicant need to have 1-3 years of experience depending upon the occupation and in certain cases only relevant education can fulfill the job requirements. Applicants also need to prove their English or French language skills to meet the job requirements.

Low skilled work permits

Low skilled work permits are obtained in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill level C & D. Low skilled work permits require maximum of high school education or job specific training. Applicants also need to prove their English or French language skills to meet the job requirements.

Low skilled work permits under agriculture stream

Low skilled work permits under agriculture stream generally do not require any specific language skills, education and experience. You still need to meet all general eligibility requirements for work permit.

Under low skilled work permits, generally employers pay return airfare, ensure that affordable and suitable accommodation is available, provide temporary medical insurance coverage, register workers with provincial workplace safety insurance plans, sign an employer-employee contract.

How Can-X can help?

  • We can help foreign nationals and foreign workers to apply for Canadian Work Permit which authorizes them to legally work in Canada.
  • We can apply for approval of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on behalf of employers.

Contact us for assessment and more information!

 

Contribution & distribution of temporary foreign workers across industries in Canada

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) have been an integral part of the Canadian labour market. This is evident from the significant surge in the number of foreign nationals with effective work permit over the recent years. Around 4,70,000 foreign nationals have a work permit that became effective in 2019 as compared to 3,40,000 in 2017 and 3,90,000 in 2018.

Nevertheless, their contribution to the labour market could be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by governments at all levels to contain the spread of the virus. Even though TFWs are allowed to enter Canada, there is a high probability of downsize or delay in the availability of new TFWs due to travel restrictions in some source countries, their unwillingness to travel due to the fear of virus infection, and the mandatory 14-day self-isolation policy upon arrival. Additionally, many businesses are temporarily closed or are operating considerably below their full capacity, which could lead to disproportionate layoffs among temporary foreign workers.

The possible shortages of TFWs, in the sectors with significant employment share, may have a substantial impact on the performance and survival of the firms during and after the pandemic period.

Proportion of temporary foreign workers, selected industries

Note: NAICS = North American Industry Classification System
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Employer–Employee Dynamics Database

TFWs are more concentrated in specific subsectors. For example, 27.4% of employees in crop production where TFWs accounted for 41.6% of the agricultural workers in Ontario, and over 30% of the agricultural workers in Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia during 2017.

Some non-agricultural industries that are continuing to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic also have a relative high share of TFWs such as private household services (9.8%), gasoline stations (8%), warehousing and storage (4.3%), and food manufacturing (3.4%).Therefore, possible shortages of TFWs may have a significant impact on the performance and survival of these firms during and after the pandemic period.

Though, it is too early to understand the implications of COVID-19 pandemic on the supply and demand for TFWs, the analysis provides important implications for the possible delays in the inflow of new TFWs that could affect essential services during the pandemic and the upcoming economic recovery period. This may have a particularly strong effect on the agriculture sector, given that the timing of pandemic coincides with the period of highest demand for seasonal agricultural foreign workers who primarily come to Canada in the spring and early summer.

Need help for LMIA application and hiring foreign workers!

The LMIA rules, regulations and requirements are subject to frequent changes. These changes deal with different categories of jobs, duration, exemptions etc. Continuous research, attention to detail and painstaking hard work is required to obtain a positive LMIA. We help in assessment of our client’s profile and advice them on their eligibility to get an LMIA. We help Canadian employers for applying LMIA application and legally representing them before ESDC during the process.We help clients to apply for their Work Permit which authorizes them to legally work in Canada.

ESDC has currently waived the advertisement requirements for agriculture stream LMIA applications and hence the applications are being processed on expedite and priority basis.

Contact us for consultation and assistance