How To Migrate To Canada As A Tech Talent

How To Migrate To Canada As A Tech Talent

As you probably know, the Canada’s tech sector is booming, and the industry growth is expected to continue to outpace the number of skilled tech workers in the Canadian labour force. In response to this high demand for skilled tech workers, the federal and provincial governments offer many permanent residence and work permit options that allow companies to hire workers from overseas. In this article. we will share some options available to you to migrate to Canada as a tech talent. We will explore both the temporary work permits and permanent residency routes.

Temporary Work Permits

For any employer looking to hire tech talents from abroad, there are several temporary work permit pathways for you potential hires. These programs allow employers to quickly hire the tech talent they require for their business.

Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is one of the top options for tech talents.. It aims to achieve a processing time of two weeks after the employers submit the final application. This pathway acts as a temporary work permit and can be used as a steppingstone for employees who wish to stay in Canada permanently.


It is considered part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and before hiring, employers must first obtain a neutral or positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to be eligible. ESDC evaluates if hiring workers from outside Canada will have a positive, neutral, or negative impact on Canada’s labour market.

Additionally, to be eligible to hire under this program, employers must meet the criteria in one of the following two categories:

  1. Category A: This category is for companies that approach EDSC though a referral partner. Referral partners are typically governmental, local or government affiliated agencies or business that have a mandate to support local economies. The employees hired under this category are highly specialized in a specific part of the tech sector. If the candidate’s occupation is already on the Global Talent Occupations List, the employer must apply under category B.
  2. Category B: This is for employers who require employees who are employed in occupations that are already on the Global Talent Occupations list, such as software engineers, designers, or information systems analysts. These occupations are considered in-demand and the government has recognized a shortage of these skills in the Canadian labour force.
Labour Market Benefit Plan

Employers must also submit a Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP) to EDSC that outlines how they will commit to benefitting Canada’s labour market in the long term. The focus is different depending on the category.

A category A plan must outline how hiring through the GTS will benefit job creation for Canadian and permanent residents.

Category B LMBPs need to show how they are going to increase their investment in training Canadians and permanent residents to learn in-demand tech skills.

In both categories, there are conditions relating to how skilled workers are paid. Anyone hired through the Global Talent Stream must be paid at the prevailing wage or higher.

The prevailing wage is the highest of either:

  • the median wage for the occupation on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank;
  • the wage within the range an employer pays current employees in the same position at the same location, with the same skills and experience; or
  • the minimum wage floor as defined in the Global Talent occupations list (if applicable).



If an employer is hiring tech talent from elsewhere in North America, they may be eligible for the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Like the GTS, CUSMA is a temporary work permit.

CUSMA facilitates the mobility of talent between the countries. The agreement covers two categories that are relevant to tech workers.

  1. Professionals: There are 63 occupations that qualify for CUSMA under the professionals category. Prominent tech occupations such as systems analysts and software engineers may be eligible.
  2. Intra-Company transfers (ICTs): ICTs occur when employees of multinational companies move to the company’s Canadian branch. The transferee is often someone in a management position or has other specialized knowledge.


Multinational companies eligible for ICTs do not necessarily need to be located in Mexico or the United States. If any company has an established branch Canada, it may be possible for employees from other countries to transfer to Canada without an employer needing to obtain an LMIA.

Permanent Residency Pathways

The most common pathway for skilled tech workers to obtain permanent residence is through either the Express Entry program or a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Express Entry

Express Entry is the Canadian government’s largest entry stream for skilled immigrants. This pathway is designed to expedite applications for skilled workers. The most popular Express Entry option is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). This program is for those with at least one year of work experience that falls under National Occupational Codes 0, A or B, as most tech sector jobs do.

Alternatively, candidates who have completed one year of work experience in Canada in the past three years may be eligible for Express Entry through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.


Express Entry is a two step process:

  • All candidates must self-assess if they are eligible for the program they wish to apply for.
  • If you are eligible, you must create a profile to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. IRCC will assign a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on
    • your work experience,
    • education,
    • language abilities and
    • other human capital factors in your profile.

The higher the score, the more likely it is that a candidate will receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

IRCC holds draws approximately every two weeks. If you receive an ITA, you have 60 days to submit your final application to IRCC.

Provincial Nomination Tech Talent Streams

Canada offers several immigration pathways and many of them are part of a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). All Canadian provinces, except Quebec and Nunavut, have PNPs that work in alignment with IRCC. These programs allow provincial governments to select candidates that they believe will be of benefit to their province.

Below some of the provincial tech talent streams:

  1. Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway: Candidates need to meet the eligibility criteria for the Alberta Express Entry Stream. They need to either be currently working in Alberta or have a job offer in one of 23 eligible occupations.
  2. OINP Tech Draw: Under this Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, candidates must be eligible for either the Federal Skilled Worker Program or the Canadian Experience Class.
  3. Saskatchewan Tech Talent Pathway: Eligible candidates must have an employer specific Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) Job Approval Letter for an eligible technology sector occupation. Also, the candidates need at least one year of work experience in that occupation within the past five years,


Quebec offers its own program called the Quebec Immigration Program for Workers in Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, and Visual Effects Sectors.

Under this program, there are two tech categories:

  1. AI (Artificial Intelligence): There are two ways to eligible for this stream. If a candidate graduated from a Quebec college or university, they must have job experience and a job offer. If the candidates’ education is abroad, they may not require a job offer but must demonstrate an education equivalent to a Quebec bachelor’s degree.
  2. IT and Visual Effects streams: Candidates must have two years of work experience in one of 10 eligible occupations, out of the past five years. They must also have a job offer in that field and the equivalent of a Quebec technical studies diploma or a bachelor’s degree.

For more information about the Quebec program, click here.


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About Emmanuel Oluwatosin

Co-founder & Publisher of AfricaX. He is interested in: Technology | Media | Startup | Business | Education. Emmanuel currently lives in Calgary, Canada with his family.

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