Canada has made an exciting announcement, revealing its inaugural tech talent strategy aimed at luring foreign tech experts to its thriving digital landscape. The news was shared by Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, during the Collision 2023 event held on Tuesday.
Under this new strategy, the Canadian government has introduced an "innovation stream" that offers open work permits for up to five years to highly skilled professionals in select high-demand occupations. Furthermore, the program includes employer-specific work permits of the same duration, benefiting individuals employed by companies that contribute to Canada's industrial innovation goals.
A recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2023 reaffirmed Canada's status as the top destination for immigrant entrepreneurs, solidifying its appeal to individuals seeking fresh opportunities.
In addition to these exciting pathways, Canada has extended opportunities to holders of the H-1B specialty occupation visa in the United States. Now, they can apply for Canadian work permits, as well as study or work permit options for their accompanying family members. The Canadian work permit for H-1B visa holders will be available starting from July 16 and will remain open for one year or until Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada receive 10,000 applications. It's important to note that only principal applicants will count toward the application cap, excluding their accompanying family members.
Minister Fraser expressed his enthusiasm for these immigration goals, highlighting their strategic nature that goes beyond mere numbers. The aim is to attract newcomers who can help solidify Canada's position as a global leader in various emerging technologies. The development of this strategy involved collaboration with the tech, start-up, and business communities, which provided invaluable insights. Fraser acknowledged Canada's fast and flexible approach, widely supported by Canadians, as the country's immigration advantage. "We're enthusiastic about the ambitious goals we have set in immigration because they aren't just about numbers — they are strategic.
With Canada's first-ever immigration tech talent strategy, we're targeting newcomers who can help establish Canada as a world leader in a variety of emerging technologies. I'm grateful for the collaboration of the tech, start-up, and business communities, who have provided valuable insight to develop this strategy. Canada's fast and flexible approach, supported by Canadians, is truly our immigration advantage," Fraser stated.
Alongside the tech talent strategy, Canada has also made significant improvements to its start-up visa program to attract skilled foreign tech workers. These enhancements include an increased allocation of program spots, the opportunity to apply for a three-year work permit (previously limited to one year), and the chance to obtain an open work permit instead of being restricted to working solely for their start-up. Furthermore, each member of an entrepreneurial team can now apply for an open work permit, expanding eligibility beyond essential and urgently needed individuals.
This development comes in the wake of Germany's modifications to its immigration laws aimed at attracting skilled foreign workers. Additionally, Canada's actions follow the United Kingdom's decision to limit the ability of foreign students to bring their family members from 2024, prompting Canada to introduce faster temporary resident visa processing and more considerate application measures for dependents.