- Canada offers several immigration pathways for tech workers from the US, including temporary and permanent resident options.
- These pathways include the Global Talent Stream, Intra-Company Transfers under CUSMA, the Start-Up Visa Program, Provincial Nominee Programs, and Express Entry.
- The Express Entry system is designed to attract skilled workers who can contribute to the Canadian economy and society and offers a competitive process for permanent residency in Canada.
For Tech workers from the US, Canada offers many immigration pathways which include both temporary and permanent resident options. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the employment-based green card backlog in the United States. In March 2022, the Cato Institute reported that the backlog had reached 1.4 million skilled immigrants. This backlog has resulted in long processing times and uncertainties for foreign nationals in the US. However, what many are unaware of is that Canada offers several employment-based immigration options for tech workers looking to immigrate. In fact, in 2021, Canada had an estimated 1.23 million tech workers, which represents almost 9% growth from 2019.
This article will outline the five pathways for tech workers in the US to immigrate to Canada, including temporary and permanent resident pathways, and how they can take advantage of these options.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): Global Talent Stream (GTS)
The Global Talent Stream is part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and allows Canadian employers to bring specialized foreign tech talent to Canada within two weeks. This enables international skilled tech workers to apply their expertise and skills to help innovative Canadian companies grow. Applications for the Global Talent Stream have a service standard of ten business days, with the expectation that 80% of the applications will be met. For more information about the Global Talent Stream, visit the IRCC website.
Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA): Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs)
CUSMA replaced NAFTA in 2020 and offers temporary transfer options for US tech workers to move and work in the Canadian branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their American employer. The ICT branch is one of four total branches of this agreement. More information about CUSMA is available on the IRCC website.
Start-Up Visa Program
The Start-Up Visa program is a Canadian permanent residence program that aims to “recruit innovative foreign national entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and drive economic growth” in Canada. Successful applicants through this program are linked with IRCC-designated organizations that assist foreign nationals with operating a business within Canada through funding, guidance, and expertise. More information about the Start-Up Visa program is available on the IRCC website.
Becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident After Working in Canada
Assuming they meet the eligibility requirements, US tech workers can apply for permanent residency in Canada without first working in the country. However, the above-outlined pathways make it easier for US tech workers to acquire Canadian work experience prior to applying for permanent residency. Work experience can have a significant impact on eligibility for Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Provincial Nominee Programs
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are regional immigration initiatives operated in 11 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories. Each of these 11 programs enables the local government to hand-select immigration candidates who are best suited to address specific labor gaps based on the local economy’s particular needs. PNPs allow Canada to distribute the benefits of immigration more evenly across the country rather than seeing immigration’s rewards concentrated in traditionally popular areas such as Ontario and British Columbia. PNPs are the primary admissions category for economic-class immigrants coming to Canada. Many of these programs offer streams that cater to skilled workers in the tech industry, and every PNP has at least one stream aligned with Express Entry.
The Express Entry application management system consists of three programs that score and rank applicants based on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores. Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residency are then granted in Express Entry draws that take place roughly every two weeks to a group of people who are above the cut-off CRS score for that draw. ICT workers, as covered above, are among the top recipients of Express Entry IT.
As a skilled worker, to be eligible for the Express Entry system, you must first create an online profile and indicate your interest in immigrating to Canada. You will be asked to provide information about your education, language proficiency, work experience, age, and other factors. Based on this information, you will be assigned a CRS score that ranks you against other candidates in the pool.
To improve your CRS score, you may want to consider obtaining additional education or language certifications, gaining more work experience, or securing a job offer from a Canadian employer. You may also be able to obtain additional points if you have a sibling living in Canada or if you have completed a post-secondary program in Canada.
Once you are in the Express Entry pool, you will be considered for invitations to apply for permanent residency in Canada during the regular draws. If you receive an ITA, you will have a limited amount of time to submit a complete application and supporting documents to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In light of the backlog of employment-based green cards in the US, this article outlines five pathways for tech workers to immigrate to Canada, including the Global Talent Stream, CUSMA’s Intra-Company Transfers, the Start-Up Visa Program, the Provincial Nominee Program, and Express Entry. These pathways offer temporary and permanent residency options, allowing skilled workers to apply their expertise and skills to help innovative Canadian companies grow.
The Express Entry system ranks applicants based on their Comprehensive Ranking System scores and invites top candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residency. To increase their chances of success, candidates can improve their CRS score through education, language certifications, work experience, and securing a job offer from a Canadian employer. Canada’s immigration pathways offer opportunities for skilled workers to contribute to the country’s prosperous and welcoming society.