Here Is How U.S. Tech Workers Can Immigrate To And Find Jobs In Canada

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Here Is How U.S. Tech Workers Can Immigrate To And Find Jobs In Canada
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American tech workers suddenly facing job losses can look to the fast-growing tech sectors in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver to land jobs and immigration to Canada.

Certainly, the casualty list of U.S. tech companies shedding jobs is growing. 

Fintech behemoth Robinhood is reported to have slashed more than 1,000 jobs this year. Beauty brand Glossier cut 80 jobs, mostly on its technology side. By late June this year, Netflix had already laid off roughly 450 employees.


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And then, there’s billionaire Elon Musk’s paring down of Twitter. Within a week, Musk had reportedly axed about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees.

But, even as many U.S. tech companies are giving many of their employee’s pink slips, Canadian companies are screaming for tech talent. 

On the Indeed job website, there were 15,036 jobs for software developers, 2,826 for cloud architects,  2,008 for web designers, 988 for data scientists, and 3,713 for computer systems analysts in late November.  

Tech jobs are growing fastest in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver than those cities can churn out skilled workers to fill those positions, notes CBRE Research.

In its North American market report, Evolving Workforces: Scoring Tech Talent 2022, the research division of the American commercial real estate firm CBRE Group, placed both Toronto and Vancouver among the top 10 tech talent markets.

Toronto was ranked the number three tech market in North America and Vancouver came in at number eight. In the North American tech industry, Toronto is a young lion, demonstrating tremendous growth during the five years which ended in December 2021.

“Between 2016 and 2021, Toronto had the most tech talent growth, up 88,900 jobs, followed by Seattle with an increase of 45,560 jobs, and Vancouver which saw an increase of 44,460 positions,” noted the CBRE Research report.

Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Quebec City And Montreal All Need Tech Workers

Other reports also put Calgary and Montreal among the top North American cities for the tech sector.

Among emerging Canadian tech markets, Quebec City in the francophone province of Quebec also grew by leaps and bounds during those five years.

“The highest percentage growth was 63 per cent in Vancouver, 44 per cent in Toronto and 43 per cent in Quebec City,” the report states.

The impressive growth of the tech sector in southern Ontario has now reached such a critical mass as to make it an innovation hub.


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“Toronto, Seattle and Canada’s Waterloo Region round out the top five most concentrated tech markets, ranging from 9.6 per cent to 10.3 per cent of their total employment,” stated the report. “This sizeable concentration of highly-skilled workers offers an environment conducive to innovation.”

On CIO.com, a news source for chief information officers, a news report estimated roughly 80 per cent of Canadian businesses need more tech workers.

Tech Skill Shortage In Canada Expected To Last For Two Years At Least

In that article, Pythian chief technology officer Paul Lewis was quoted as saying the IT skills shortage in Canada will likely last at least two more years.

“We haven’t gotten to a point where it has started to slow down yet,” he reportedly said. “I’m not sure we’ve passed the peak or we’ve even hit the peak.”

Employers hoping to hire a foreign national can avail themselves of international talent and labour through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and the International Mobility Program (IMP).

Under normal circumstances, the Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the TFWP, can lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and the processing of visa applications within two weeks.

That in turn gives those workers Canadian experience, a foot in the door, which boosts the number of points they get through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) should they apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry system which receives immigration applications online.

Through the Express Entry system, foreign nationals can apply for permanent residence through a number of pathways, including the Federal Skilled Worker  (FSW) program.

It’s open to those who have gained one year of paid work experience within the last decade in jobs categorized as TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system.

Applicants under this program must also take a language test to prove that they possess sufficient language skills to establish themselves in Canada successfully. Language tests evaluate an applicant’s abilities with regard to the following:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

In order to be eligible for the FSW, an applicant needs to obtain at least Canadian Language Benchmark level 7 in all categories and show that they have enough money to support themselves and their families once they arrive in Canada.

Provinces Work With IRCC On Provincial Tech Immigration Programs

Throughout Canada, the provinces operate their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as a two-stage process.

Under that two-stage process, applicants seek to be nominated by the provincial government, and then, if nominated, can apply for permanent residence to the federal government through the Express Entry system. 

British Columbia Tech Stream

In British Columbia, home to the thriving Vancouver tech scene, immigration officials expedite the processing of immigration candidates in 35 in-demand technology occupations through the BC PNP Tech stream.

Weekly invitations are issued to candidates in those occupations in the British Columbia tech sector who still need to meet the basic requirements, including a minimum one-year job offer from an employer in that province.

Those 35 in-demand occupations under the BC PNP Tech stream are:

  • 10030 Telecommunication carriers managers
  • 20012 Computer and information systems managers
  • 21100 Physicists and astronomers
  • 21210 Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries
  • 21211 Data scientists
  • 21220 Cybersecurity specialists
  • 21221 Business systems specialists
  • 21222 Information systems specialists
  • 21223 Database analysts and data administrators
  • 21230 Computer systems developers and programmers
  • 21231 Software engineers and designers
  • 21232 Software developers and programmers
  • 21233 Web designers
  • 21234 Web developers and programmers
  • 21300 Civil engineers
  • 21301 Mechanical engineers
  • 21310 Electrical and electronics engineers
  • 21311 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
  • 21320 Chemical engineers
  • 21399 Other professional engineers
  • 22110 Biological technologists and technicians
  • 22220 Computer network and web technicians
  • 22221 User support technicians
  • 22222 Information systems testing technicians
  • 22310 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
  • 50011 Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts
  • 22312 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics
  • 51111 Authors and writers (except technical)
  • 51112 Technical writers
  • 51120 Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations
  • 52119 Other technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts
  • 52112 Broadcast technicians
  • 52113 Audio and video recording technicians
  • 52120 Graphic designers and illustrators
  • 53111 Motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and performing arts assistants and operators

Ontario Draws In Tech Talent Through Its Human Capital Priorities Tech Draws

Ontario, home of the Toronto-Waterloo area which is now recognized worldwide as a tech hub, helps the tech industry recruit talent through Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) Human Capital Priorities Tech draws. 

There are nine targeted tech occupations with draws of candidates with profiles in the Express Entry pool as part of this stream.

Those occupations are:

  • 21211 Data Scientists 
  • 21231 Software engineers and designers 
  • 21230 Computer systems developers and programmers 
  • 21232 Software developers and programmers 
  • 21234 Web developers and programmers 
  • 21233 Web designers 
  • 21233 Database analysts and data administrators 
  • 20012 Computer and information systems managers 
  • 21311  Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers 

Alberta Acceleration Tech Pathway

Alberta, where Calgary is increasingly heralded as a burgeoning centre of Canada’s tech industry, has its Accelerated Tech Pathway under its Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

It provides expedited processing to foreign workers who are currently working for, or have a job offer with, an Alberta-based tech industry employer in any one of 44 eligible tech occupations.

Those eligible occupations are: 

  • 00012 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
  • 10011 Human resources managers
  • 10022 Advertising, marketing and public relations manager
  • 10030 Telecommunication carriers manager
  • 11200 Human resources professionals
  • 11202 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
  • 12101 Human resources and recruitment officers
  • 20010 Engineering managers
  • 20011 Architecture and science managers
  • 20012 Computer and information systems managers
  • 21210 Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries
  • 21211 Data scientists
  • 21220 Cybersecurity specialists
  • 21221 Business system specialists
  • 21222 Information systems specialists
  • 21233 Web designers
  • 21223 Database analysts and data administrators
  • 21231 Software engineers and designers
  • 21230 Computer systems developers and programmers
  • 21232 Software developers and programmers
  • 21234 Web developers and programmers
  • 21300 Civil engineers
  • 21301 Mechanical engineers
  • 21310 Electrical and electronics engineers
  • 21311 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
  • 22110 Biological technologists and technicians
  • 22212 Drafting technologists and technicians
  • 22220 Computer network and web technicians
  • 22221 User support technicians
  • 22222 Information systems testing technicians
  • 22301 Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians
  • 22302 Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians
  • 22310 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
  • 32120 Medical laboratory technologists
  • 32129 Other medical technologists and technicians
  • 33101 Medical laboratory assistants and related technical occupations
  • 41402 Business development officers and market researchers and analysts
  • 50011 Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts
  • 51120 Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations
  • 52120 Graphic designers and illustrators
  • 60010 Corporate sales managers
  • 72200 Electricians (except industrial and power system)
  • 72201 Industrial electricians
  • 72205 Telecommunications equipment installation and cable television service technicians

Saskatchewan Launched Its Tech Talent Pathway Last Year

Under Alberta’s Accelerated Tech Pathway, candidates must also meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • have an active Express Entry profile;
  • list a primary occupation in their federal Express Entry profile which supports Alberta’s economic development and diversification;
  • meet the criteria of at least one of the federal immigration programs:
  • intend to and be able to live and work in Alberta;
  • have a minimum CRS score of 300.

Through its Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP), Prairie province launched its Tech Talent Pathway earlier this year.

“As Saskatchewan emerges from the impacts of the global pandemic, our technology sector will be an important driver of economic growth,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. 

“The new Tech Talent Pathway provides our Saskatchewan employers with a dedicated stream for the attraction of highly skilled talent into our thriving technology sector.”

To be eligible, candidates must have an offer in one of the 17 eligible occupations and meet the language skills, work experience, education and licensing requirements.

Those eligible occupations are:

  • 20012 Computer and information systems managers
  • 21310 Electrical and Electronics engineers
  • 21311 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
  • 21211 Data Scientist
  • 21220 Cybersecurity specialists
  • 21221 Business system specialist
  • 21222 Information System specialist
  • 21233 Web designer
  • 21223 Database analysts and data administrator
  • 21231 Software engineers and designers
  • 21230 Computer systems developers and programmers
  • 21232 Software developers and programmers
  • 21234 Web developers and programmers
  • 21233 Web designers
  • 22220 Computer network and web technicians
  • 22221 User support technicians
  • 22222 Information systems testing technicians

Quebec’s New Artificial Intelligence, It And Visual Effect Pilot Program Is Now Underway

In the francophone province of Quebec, too, there is a program to help tech sector workers immigrate. 

The permanent immigration pilot program for workers in the artificial intelligence, information technologies and visual effects sectors was launched in April last year and is slated to end on Jan. 1, 2026.

Unlike other provinces, Quebec runs its own immigration programs. Those foreign nationals who want to immigrate to Quebec through this program must submit an application, get a Certificat de Sélection du Québec (CSQ), and:

  • be proficient in spoken French, if submitting an application under the francophone profile, and;
  • hold or have accepted a job in Quebec’s artificial intelligence, information technologies or visual effects sectors.

This new program, which only accepts 550 people and their family members per year, including 275 Quebec graduates and 275 foreign workers in the information technologies and visual effects sector, has already reached its limit for this year.

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