The Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) urges Canada to create a High Potential Tech Visa that would allow in-demand individuals to gain permanent resident status without a job offer.
This demand from the Council of Canadian Innovators for a new visa to allow high-skilled tech professionals to come to Canada without a job offer is in response to the labor shortages in the sector.
The CCI recently announced its Talent and Skills Strategy, including 13 essential policy suggestions to help policymakers support Canada’s expanding tech sector.
The proposed ” High Potential Tech Visa” will target in-demand sectors such as software developers and data scientists. Holders of this Visa would be able to work, switch jobs, and apply for permanent residency in Canada.
Most people seeking work visas in Canada must have a job offer to be qualified. According to the CCI’s Talent and Skills Strategy report, this requirement is a roadblock for highly skilled workers who wish to work in Canada. According to the analysis, allowing software engineers, data scientists, and other experts in high-demand occupations to enter Canada to look for work would increase their chances of finding a job.
Furthermore, the pandemic has increased the prevalence of remote work. As a result, CCI suggests the Canadian government should collaborate with the private sector on a trial program to allow highly skilled foreign workers to come to Canada without a job offer.
CCI’s suggestion for the new visa takes its inspiration from a program proposed in the United Kingdom to allow software developers, engineers, and data scientists to enter the nation without having a job offer.
The proposed tech visa would complement the current Global Skills Strategy, which aims to process work permit applications for in-demand jobs in as short a duration as two weeks. On the other hand, the CCI proposes a visa processing period of 48 hours for this scheme.
The government may enhance the existing supply of skilled professionals that Canadian companies could hire by allowing qualified tech professionals to come to Canada through this initiative, rather than being forced to go through the lengthy and highly technical process of sponsoring a possible foreign worker through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process or programs like The Intra Company Transfers.
The CCI also wants the government to provide a concierge service that would help businesses navigate the immigration system. If implemented, this would help improve and aid the road to Permanent Residence through the Global Talent Stream. This Stream is a functional work permit program that falls under the Global Skills Strategy and is used by a select few employers and only for a select few in-demand tech occupations
The CCI also recommended developing a Digital Nomad Strategy to attract more remote workers to Canada and evaluating the National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes regularly to represent better the changing nature of technology jobs in the country. They also urge Canada to recognize foreign and alternative qualifications for Canadian visa applicants.
For tech employees, Canada already offers many alternatives for immigration and work permit. The Global Talent Stream (GTS), which permits selected qualified employees to acquire a temporary work permit within two weeks after applying, is one of the multiple paths to permanent residence available in Canada. It forms one of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy pillars, which aims to assist businesses to thrive by ensuring that they can readily access highly trained workers.
Employers can obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) without advertising through the GTS. Available to high-growth businesses that can establish a need for skilled foreign expertise. A designated referral partner must refer employers in this category to the Global Talent Stream.
Employers wishing to hire qualified employees for in-demand occupations can also go headhunting on the Global Talent Occupations List.
Employers in both groups must adhere to payment requirements for skilled personnel. Salaries of foreign workers employed through the GTS need to be at par with the prevailing wage. The prevailing wage is the highest of the following figures:
- The government of Canada’s Job Bank’s median salary for the occupation;.’
- The wage that a firm pays current employees in the same role at the exact location, with the same abilities and experience, within a specific range;
- The Global Talent jobs list specifies the minimum wage threshold (if applicable).
The Global Talent Stream also offers various work visa exemptions. Without a work permit, highly skilled employees in NOC skill category 0 or A-level jobs may enter Canada for 15 days in six months or 30 days in 12 months. Researchers working at government-funded research institutions can visit Canada for up to 120 days per year without having a work permit.
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