Canada: New Initiative to Attract Global Tech Talent

Key Points  

  • Canada introduced a new immigration initiative aimed at attracting tech talent to the country 

Overview of the Tech Talent Strategy 

The government of Canada introduced a new immigration initiative aimed at attracting tech talent to the country. The new route, known as the Tech Talent Strategy, will consist of four key pillars to involve additions and improvements to currently existing immigration routes. These pillars include: 

International Mobility Stream Updates: Pillar 1

  • Developing an Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program aimed at attracting highly talented foreign nationals in key tech occupations. The government aims to launch the stream by the end of 2023.  
    • As a result, the government will introduce a new list of occupations that qualify for labor market impact assessment exemptions.  
    • The government will also consider introducing work permits with a maximum validity of up to five years for workers who are likely to have long-term positive impacts in Canada. Along with creating five-year work permits for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations.  

Digital Nomad Location: Pillar 2

  • Promoting Canada as a destination for digital nomads to work remotely. These measures include removing current digital nomad policies to better attract potential candidates.  

Attracting H-1B Talent from the U.S.: Pillar 3

  • Streamlining work permit options for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders from the U.S. to attract more highly skilled workers to Canada. This measure will remain in effect for one year or until the government of Canada receives 10,000 applications. Only principal applicants will count towards the 10,000 application cap.  
    • Beginning 16 July 2023, H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the U.S. and their accompanying immediate daily members will be eligible to apply for an open work permit in Canada for up to three years.  
    • Spouses and dependent children will be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, if needed. 

Wait Times Under the Start-Up Visa: Pillar 4

  • The government will improve existing programs, such as the Global Skills Strategy and the Start-up Visa (SUV) program.  
    • Addressing the current wait time for applications submitted under the SUV program by changing the temporary work permit option for SUV applicants to an open work permit that will remain valid for up to three years.  
    • Allocating more spots for applicants under the SUV program through the country’s multi-year levels plan.  
    • Expanding eligibility under the SUV program allows all entrepreneurial team members to apply.
    • Prioritizing applications for foreign nationals supported by committed capital or endorsed business incubators that are members of Canada’s Tech Network.  

What are the Changes to Improve the Tech Talent Strategy?

The government of Canada announced several initiatives, under the Tech Talent strategy, aimed at positioning Canada as a global tech talent recruitment location and filling in-demand jobs throughout the country.  

Looking Ahead  

The government will publish additional changes as needed. Continue to check the government of Canada’s website and Envoy’s website for the latest updates and information. 

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.