Canada offers many immigration pathways and work permits for STEM professionals

Posted on Jul 7, 2023 at 08:00 am EDT

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There are many options for foreign nationals in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sector looking to come to Canada.

Prior to the recent announcements, Canada already offered many pathways to permanent residency and work authorization for global STEM talent. Recently, however, Canada has sought to further open its doors to STEM talent to support its economic growth and global competitiveness.

In light of these announcements, here is an overview of some of Canada’s most prominent permanent and temporary residency pathways for STEM professionals.

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Express Entry: Popular federal route for permanent residence

Express Entry it is the primary way the federal government of Canada welcomes skilled immigrants.

On May 31, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the launch of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates. Express Entry candidates who have a strong command of the French language or work experience in the following fields will have priority for Canada Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC):

  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
  • Health care
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

On July 5, IRCC held its first STEM category-based draw, inviting 500 applicants in STEM professions to apply for permanent residence.

Express Entry draws invite the best candidates into specific and sweepstakes draws that can help fill Canadian labor market and job vacancies and will further economic goals.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool are ranked using a points-based system called Comprehensive rating system (CRS). This system ranks candidates based on their age, education, language skills, work experience, and more.

To be eligible for an invitation through a Category-Based Sweepstakes, you must meet all of the requirements outlined by IRCC for that Sweepstakes.

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Global Talent Stream Work Permits

He Global talent stream (GTS) is a facilitated work permit option that is addressed to foreigners working in the IT sector. Among other initiatives, the GTS sets a two-week standard for processing work permit applications for highly-skilled tech talent.

There are two categories under the GTS: Category A and Category B.

  • Category A is for high-growth companies that can demonstrate a need to hire unique specialist talent from abroad. Employers in this category must be referred to the GTS by a designated referral partner.
  • Category B is for employers seeking to hire certain highly-skilled workers for occupations on the Global Talent Occupations List, which have been determined to be in demand and for which there is insufficient labor supply.

STEM workers may be eligible under Category B, as many of the occupations consist of science, technology, engineering, and math occupations.

It is important to note that the GTS is also available in Quebec.

Schedule a free consultation about your work permit with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Quebec Facilitated Processing Work Permits

Under the Processing flow facilitatedQuebec employers can hire temporary foreign workers in certain specific occupations and can take advantage of a process that waives some of the requirements normally required by law. Labor Impact Assessment Process (LMIA), such as posting the position or other recruiting efforts.

Although the Quebec employer is not required to advertise the position for which it is hiring foreign workers, the employer must demonstrate the following:

  • That the foreign worker meets the educational and experience requirements of the position and the requirements of the National Occupational Classification;
  • That the hourly wage offered to temporary foreign workers is consistent with the wage paid to Canadians and permanent residents working in the same occupation and geographic area;
  • A transition plan is required for all high wage LMIA applications. However, based on the process facilitated in Quebec, a transition plan is only required for second or subsequent LMIA applications in the same occupation and location.

Quebec’s list of facilitated occupations includes all categories of occupations eligible for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). Many of these occupations include STEM careers.

New H1-B Open Work Permit Program Available July 16

IRCC has announced the launch of the new H1-B Open Work Permit Program it will be available starting July 16, 2023. Program eligibility criteria and other details are still being finalized.

What we do know is that certain H1-B skilled occupation visa holders in the United States will be eligible for a simplified work permit to come to Canada. If eligible for the program, approved applicants will receive a open work permit for up to three years, which means they will be able to work for almost any employer across Canada.

IRCC believes this measure will expand the opportunities available to skilled workers to continue their careers in the high-tech sector while contributing to economic growth in North America.

Applicants’ spouses and dependents will also be eligible to apply for a temporary resident visa, with a work or study permit, as needed.

This measure will remain in effect for one year or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications. Only primary applicants, not accompanying family members, will count toward the application limit.

Schedule a free consultation about your work permit with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm


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