Canadian governments at all levels have been facilitating the setup of tech talent businesses to propel the economy forward. Businesses & the Government have been investing billions of dollars into groundbreaking research in fields such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence and supporting the creation of superclusters across the country.
Following this, the demand for tech workers & foreign talents is becoming critical to the success of such industries. From aerospace engineers to video game designers, to metallurgical engineers, tech workers are employed in firms of all shapes and sizes and
they encompass a wide array of skills and outputs.
Who Are Tech Workers?
Defining tech workers can be tricky. However, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) to Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) has broadly defined tech talents by relating to the production or use of technology such as:
- Interacting with Computers,
- Computers and Electronics,
- Engineering Design
- Engineering and Technology,
- Programming, and Telecommunications.
|Canada is home to a large, growing, and diverse tech workforce; ensuring its continued growth is vital for Canada’s economy. However, there are gaps in terms of pay and participation along with gender, race, and ethnic lines. Canada has a significant opportunity to more fully engage its diverse labor market to contribute to an already vibrant tech workforce.
The top five cities in Canada by tech worker employment are:
- Toronto, Ontario
- Montréal, Quebec
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Calgary, Alberta
In 2016, tech workers were paid considerably more than non-tech workers.
High-tech occupations earned the most, earning on average $45,000 more than non-tech occupations.
Digital occupations earned on average nearly $21,000 more than non-tech occupations.
Pay in tech occupations is the highest amongst engineers, in particular, those working in the resource sector.
Petroleum engineers earned the highest salary at $175,292, followed by engineering managers at $132,409, and mining engineers at $126,190.
Take this free assessment online to determine your eligibility.
Immigration Pathways For Tech Workers
The federal government has developed innovative and specific programs to attract and retain tech workers, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), along with provincial programs, such as the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS).
Let’s have a look at some more of these programs across Canada:
- Global Talent Stream
- Intra-Company Transfer
- British Columbia
Federal: The importance of tech workers is clearly seen in the way how Express Entry draws are held. However, there is no explicit preference for technology workers, the ‘enhanced’ provincial streams which are linked to the Express Entry pool nominated specific tech talents regularly.
Even according to the Express Entry Annual Report, the three most common occupations of individuals who received invitations to apply for permanent residency under Express Entry were all technology occupations.
Intra-Company Transfer: This work permit program is for workers who are employed with a company in Canada. Employers do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to secure foreign talents.
The foreign worker must satisfy the following conditions to be eligible for this permit:
- Employed at that company in home location for at least one year.
- Workers must hold a managerial position, or else demonstrate that they have specialized and proprietary knowledge of the company or its products.
- Programmers and Developers who have designed a company’s software products or computer engineers who have designed specific programs for the company’s internal use are eligible.
British Columbia: Tech Pilot launched by British Columbia in May 2017 has now become one of the preferred choices for nominating tech talents for permanent residence. The pilot program is an expedited system for processing applications submitted made to existing streams of BC PNP.
Essentially, it makes the BC Tech Pilot quite similar to the federal Express Entry system. The difference lies in the processes that only tech workers are specifically allowed in the BC PNP pilot.
A candidate must qualify one of the five allied existing streams, and have a job offer in one of the 29 identified fields.
Here is a comprehensive list of 29 eligible Tech occupations:
- Telecommunication carriers managers- NOC 0131
- Computer and information systems managers- NOC 0213
- Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting, and performing arts- NOC 0512
- Civil engineers- NOC 2131
- Mechanical engineers- NOC 2132
- Electrical and electronics engineers- NOC 2133
- Chemical engineers- NOC 2134
- Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)- NOC 2147
- Information systems analysts and consultants- NOC 2171
- Database analysts and data administrators- NOC 2172
- Software engineers and designers- NOC 2173
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers- NOC 2174
- Web designers and developers- NOC 2175
- Biological technologists and technicians- NOC 2221
- Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians- NOC 2241
- Electronic service technicians (household and business equipment)- NOC 2242
- Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics- NOC 2243
- Computer network technicians- NOC 2281
- User support technicians- NOC 2282
- Information systems testing technicians- NOC 2283
- Authors and writers- NOC 5121
- Editors- NOC 5122
- Translators, terminologists, and interpreters- NOC 5125
- Broadcast technicians- NOC 5224
- Audio and video recording technicians- NOC 5225
- Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts- NOC 5226
- Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography, and the performing arts- NOC 5227
- Graphic designers and illustrators- NOC 5241
- Technical sales specialists – wholesale trade- NOC 6221
Saskatchewan: Unlike British Columbia, Saskatchewan does not have a dedicated tech worker immigration stream as such.
However, the province, sometimes, restricts a specific round of invitations to apply for a provincial nomination to a specific occupation or group thereof. Saskatchewan nominates eligible candidates to either the Occupations-in-Demand or Express Entry streams of the province’s International Skilled Worker category.
Ontario: Ontario has a dedicated Tech Talent pathway that nominated Express Entry candidates to apply for provincial nomination. Further, the provincial nomination can be used to apply for permanent residence.
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has identified work experience in specific technology occupations as being eligible for periodic tech-only draws. Applications selected in such tech draws benefit from fast treatment and enhanced service.
Last year alone, Ontario issued no fewer than 4,385 invitations through this program.
Just as technology grows and evolves, no doubt, will Canada’s means of identifying, selecting, and integrating foreign tech workers. The developments of the recent past years are exciting, but the best may be yet to come.