IRCC’s plans to boost innovative companies and highly skilled STEM workers to come to Canada
Posted on 29/06/2023
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has announced an aggressive new set of policies to attract STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) talent to Canada in order to boost innovation and cutting-edge technology throughout the economy.
The new policies can be grouped into 4 pillars:
I: As of July 16, 2023, H-1B visa holders in the U.S. will be able to apply to move to Canada with their immediate family members, to seek employment.
- They will be given a 3-year Open Work Permit allowing them to work for virtually any company in Canada.
- Their spouses and children will be able to apply for temporary resident visas along with any work or study permit needed.
- The measure will remain in effect for 1 year or until 10,000 applicants have applied. The 10,000 number does not include family members.
- H-1b visa holders are generally skilled workers in innovative industries like technology.
II: A new Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program is being planned for the end of 2023. This will include exemptions from Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) for talented workers and high-growth employers in the high-tech sector. As well, IRCC is considering:
- Employer-specific work permits for up to 5 years for companies identified as contributing to innovation goals in their industry,
- Open work permits for highly skilled employees for up to 5 years in selected in-demand occupations.
III: Promoting Canada as a destination for digital nomads. IRCC will work with private and public partners to attract digital nomads with additional policies are worthwhile. Currently they can work and live in Canada for up to 6 months at a time without a work permit while working remotely for a foreign company.
IV: Improving the following immigration programs to boost tech innovation and growth in Canada:
- Global Skills Strategy (GSS) has allowed employers to hire highly-skilled workers without an LMIA and gives these workers faster processing and enhanced customer service.
- IRCC has announced that processing times for GSS applicants is now 2 weeks for complete GSS applications.
- Start-Up Visa (SUV) gives permanent residence to entrepreneurs looking to establish innovative companies in Canada and provide jobs.
- IRCC has announced that they are tripling last year’s target to 3,500 admissions for 2023, including both SUVs and self-employed persons.
- Applications – both new and existing applications – from Start-ups with committed capital (investors who have indicated they will give them money) will be prioritized. This shows that committed capital is a good indicator of whether a start-up is feasible or not.
- All members of the Start-up (rather than just the key member) will be invited to apply for 3-year Open work permits.
These latest announcements also stated that there would be more to come, so as we always remind you, make sure to check back with us regularly to keep up with the latest developments in immigration policies, programs, rules, and regulations.