Canada Seeks to Attract Technology Professionals

CIC News
Published: October 15, 2012

It is no secret that Canada is a global leader in science and technology. The country produces industry leaders in a number of technology sectors, but one thing is needed to ensure that the industry continues to thrive – an influx of skilled technology professionals.

The Information Technology Association of Canada sums up this need in a recent report:

“For knowledge-based industries, access to a rich and diverse talent pool is as vital as a sustainable supply of trees is to forestry. Finding these people is a chronic and growing challenge due to the coming demographic crunch and an increasing labour market imbalance. Our industry currently runs at virtually full employment, and [it is anticipated] that we will be dealing with 106,000 unfilled jobs over the next four years.”

In order to fill job vacancies in upcoming years, qualified immigrants and temporary workers will be needed across Canada. Thankfully for both the country and for foreign workers, Canada has created a number of programs to facilitate the entry of these much-needed professionals.

The Canadian Technology Sector

A recent assessment by the Council of Canadian Academies shows that technology industries as a whole have remained strong throughout Canada. This is particularly true for the following areas:

  • Natural Resources
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Health & Related Life Sciences and Technologies
  • Environmental Technologies

The Council also pinpointed geographic areas that are experiencing a surge of science and technology production. The most productive provinces in this field are Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Of course, certain cities have become specialized in specific technological niches. For example, Montreal is considered one of the world’s top cities for the video game industry. In 2011 alone, the industry in Montreal experienced a growth of 21%, a total of approximately 8,000 new jobs. 2012 was forecasted to create approximately 9,000 more new jobs.

Options for Technology Professionals

Individuals with professional experience in the tech sector have several options to come to Canada. These options will vary depending on the person’s field of activity, personal profile, and immigration goals. Here are a few examples of programs that tech professionals have often applied to with success:

Permanent Residency Options

  • The Quebec Skilled Worker Program
    • Applicants with experience in a targeted field of study/area of training may be eligible to apply. Several of these targeted fields fall into the realm of technology.
  • The Federal Skilled Worker Class (new regulations to become effective on January 1, 2013)
    • Applicants with work experience in any skilled occupation, for the purposes of Canadian immigration, may be eligible to apply. This includes the majority of computer, engineering, and other technical professions.

Temporary Work Permit Options

  • Quebec Facilitated Labour Market Opinion (LMO) Process
    • Applicants who fall into a range of fields including information technology, engineering, and health scientists are targeted by this program
    • Quebec employers will be able to receive an LMO, a crucial step in hiring a foreign worker, without having to fulfill standard local recruitment requirements
  • Temporary Work Permit
    • Any skilled worker with an LMO-based job offer from a Canadian employer may be eligible to apply for a Temporary Work Permit
  • NAFTA Professionals
    • US citizens can take advantage of this program to receive a Temporary Work Permit without the need to secure an LMO
    • Professionals must have experience in a targeted field such as Graphic Designer or Computer Systems Analyst

Regardless of the path pursued, individuals with skills in a field such as the tech sector can rest assured that they will be entering a strong marketplace that is in need of their unique skill set.

To find out if you are eligible for one of over 60 Canadian immigration programs, please fill out a free online assessment.

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