Immigration programs address growing tech needs
This rapid growth has produced multiple calls for improved access to international IT talent to address growing labour shortages in the sector, leading Canada’s federal government and several provinces to step up their immigration programs in response.
The federal government’s Express Entry system is Canada’s leading source of skilled foreign workers and IT professionals top the list of those invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
The top three most common occupations among Express Entry candidates invited in 2018 were:
- Software engineers and designers
- Information systems analysts and consultants
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers
Occupation, however, is not considered when it comes to selecting Express Entry candidates, who are ranked based on scores awarded for age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, among other factors.
The Government of Canada invites a set number of the highest-ranked candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws from the Express Entry pool.
Tech Draws allow the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program to search the federal Express Entry pool for candidates with work experience in six tech occupations.
The first draw was held July 12, 2019, and yielded 1,623 invitations to Express Entry candidates with CRS scores ranging from 439 to 459. A job offer in Ontario was not required.
The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) includes several positions for tech workers under the “Natural and applied scientists and related occupations” header of its In-Demand Occupation List.
The MPNP notes that candidates working in an in-demand occupation will be prioritized for an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination through its regular draws for skilled immigration candidates.
The MPNP also recently reduced its language requirements for computer network technicians from a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 to 5, making an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination that much easier to obtain.