Referred to as Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy, these measures include:
1) New innovation stream under International Mobility Program (IMP)
2) Digital nomads
3) Work permit for H1-B visa holders
4) Improving existing programs such as the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-up VisaInternational Mobility Program (IMP)
IRCC is planning to develop a new innovation stream under IMP to attract individuals who are highly talented in tech. They plan on doing this to deal with labor shortages in key tech occupations and broaden Canada’s talent base.The expected launch of this program is said to be by the end of 2023. The stream will be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process which will help employers and workers to support Canada’s priorities for the tech industry.Currently, IRCC is considering two options:
- Employer-specific work permits for up to five years for workers destined to work for a company identified by the Government of Canada
- Open work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations
Canada is planning on becoming a destination for digital nomads, by collaborating with private and public partners to determine if additional policies to attract digital nomads would be beneficial to Canada.
Currently, a digital nomad can only be in Canada for up to six months while working remotely for a foreign employer. IRCC wishes that individuals with this visa type decide on staying in Canada and seek employment opportunities with Canadian employers.
Work permit for H1-B visa holders
In a recent announcement, Canada decided that those will valid H1-B visa can come to Canada along with their family members. They will be eligible to get work permit for three years and will be allowed to work for almost all employers across Canada. Spouses and dependents will also be able to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work and study permit, as needed.
This measure is to remain in effect for one year, or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications. Only principal applicants will count towards this number, not accompanying family members.
Improving existing programs
Global Skills Strategy: This was designed to help Canadian employers seek quick access to highly skilled foreign talent. Processing time for this work permit are back to normal processing times from before the pandemic. In addition, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is meeting its two-week standard for processing Global Talent Stream LMIAs and IRCC is meeting the two-week standard for work permit applications.
Start Up Visa: This visa provides a path to PR for foreign entrepreneurs who gain the support of a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor organization or a business incubator for their startup. Due to the lengthy wait times, more spots were allocated under this program. The targets for this category has tripled the number of permanent residents expected in the Federal Business category in 2023 and expected to increase in 2024 and 2025.
Recognising the long wait time and the interest in the Start Up Visa, IRCC has decided to change the temporary work permit option for SUV applicants and will allow them to apply for an open work permit of up to three years, rather than a one-year work permit that limits them to work solely for their own start-up.
Finally, IRCC will also prioritise applications that are supported by committed capital or endorsed by a business incubator to move to the front of the line for processing.