Canada Immigration

Canadian Immigration Work Permits for Highly Skilled Workers

Are you a tech worker who is interested in moving to Canada on a temporary or permanent basis? If so, it may surprise you to learn that Canada offers a wide variety of immigration programs for skilled tech workers. Some of Canada’s leading employers are hiring for tech workers and providing immigration assistance at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels.

The Canadian government has developed an innovative immigration program that makes it easier for skilled technology workers to live and work in Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS), Express Entry and similar programs.

Express Entry for Immigration Programs

While the express entry immigration programs aren’t limited to tech workers, highly-skilled tech employees who meet the immigration requirements are in high demand in Canada and across the world.

The Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program is a highly selective program that selects candidates who meet age, language, and education and work skills requirements. Points system used to assign people with foreign work experience with a score in the following three categories for ranking against other eligible applicants.

  • Managerial Jobs
  • Professional Jobs
  • Technical Jobs

Global Talent Stream (GTS)

Another component of the Canadian (FSWP) is the The Global Talent Stream (GTS) that was launched in 2017 by the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker program facilitates the Global Talent Stream search under the Canadian Global Skills Strategy program.

The program is designed to speed up the express entry process by allowing for two-week processing of temporary work permits for highly skilled foreign workers. Workers are separated into appropriate work categories based on their skills and experience.

The two categories are category A for high-growth companies that want to sponsor and recruit highly skilled foreign workers from abroad. Category A employers are required to facilitate Canadian job growth for Canadian and permanent residents.

Category B is for employers looking to hire highly skilled workers from occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations list. Employers found in category B are takes with increasing investments in skills and training for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Many permanent and express immigration programs require Canadian work experience. People who are preparing to move to Canada can benefit from the Canadian work experience before completing their immigration applications. The jobs and careers on the Global Talent Occupation list have been deemed to be in high demand in Canada and worldwide. The occupations on the Global Talent Occupation list are comprised of in-demand jobs categorized by 12 National Occupation Codes (NOC).

In both categories employers and sponsors are required to pay incoming foreign employees a salary that is comparable to the average Canadian salary for their chosen position.

Options for Professional Citizens of the United States or Mexico (CUSMA)

The Canada United States Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) allows for eligible professionals in these designated areas to gain eligibility for a Canadian work permit. This program allows for expedited processing for Canadian employers who hire foreign workers. At this time, there are 63 occupations that qualify under the (CUSMA) permit program.

Occupations and professionals in this category are not required to have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) at this time. There are several technology occupations that currently qualify under the (CUSMA). For technology workers who are interested in the Canadian immigration program, computer systems analysts, computer engineers, graphic designers, and technical publication writers currently qualify for expedited service under this program.

Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)

The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program is for workers who are currently employed with an eligible Canadian employer. Employers who qualify under the ICT program must meet the qualifying description and identify as a Canadian employer, branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company. Canadian employers are not required to secure an (LMIA) to hire foreign workers under this program.

In order to qualify for this program, foreign workers must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements.

Must hold a managerial position or demonstrate that they have specialized proprietary knowledge of the Canadian-based company and it’s products. For technology workers this includes programmers and developers who have helped to design, install, and maintain a Canadian companies software, hardware, programs, and computer engineers who design proprietary company software for internal company use.

British Columbia – Immigration Programs for Tech Workers

In May 201, British Columbia launched it’s Tech Pilot program. The BC Tech Pilot program operates under an expedited application processing system that is similar to the Express Entry system for foreign workers. There are currently 29 technology-based programs that qualify for expedited service. Minimum requirements for the program itg for at least one year, with a minimum of 120 days remaining at the time of application.)

Benefits of the BC Tech Pilot Program include priority processing over other immigration applications, weekly draws, and dedicated concierge service to guide employers.

Saskatchewan Technology Employment Solutions

While Saskatchewan doesn’t currently have a dedicated tech worker immigration process, they can choose to restrict specific rounds of invitations to apply for provincial nominations to specific occupation groups. This includes tech workers. For example, in September 2020 Saskatchewan issued 621 invitations to apply to workers who had applied to the Occupations In Demand and Express Entry streams under the province’s International Skilled Worker category.


Foreign tech workers who are considering a permanent move to Canada have a wide variety of professional resources at their disposal. Qualified workers who are interested in applying for professional citizenship via Canadian tech programs or Express Entry should contact their Canadian employer or the appropriate Canadian agency for expedited application processing requests.

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