How to Immigrate to Canada as a Tech Worker

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Tech Worker Canada’s tech sector is booming and needs labour to sustain its growth; for this reason, the Canadian government offers ample immigration options for tech workers that want to come to Canada.

Due to the high demand in the tech industry, Canadian immigration for tech workers is on the rise which is why Canada offers special work permits to tech workers. That said, there are ways for tech workers to immigrate permanently without ever having worked in Canada. Here are some of the most popular ways to immigrate to Canada for tech workers in 2023:

Express Entry

Express Entry is a popular option for tech workers that want to settle permanently in Canada. Canada’s Express Entry system is responsible for welcoming about 110,000 newcomers each year.

Canada operates three main economic programs through the Express Entry system: Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades (FST). The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is ideal for tech workers with no previous work experience in Canada.

The Express Entry system requires submitting an online profile that is scored by Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates with CRS scores above the cut-off are invited to apply for permanent residence.

While the Express Entry system does not currently consider occupation when determining a candidate’s CRS score, the immigration minister recently hinted at moving toward occupation-based Express Entry draws.

This would allow the federal government to select candidates based on specific labour market needs. Since there is a high demand for many tech occupations, this would be good news for tech professionals in the Express Entry pool.

In the meantime, provinces continue to invite tech workers directly from the Express Entry pool through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

Provincial Nominee Programs for Tech Workers
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) have become an increasingly popular way for tech workers to immigrate to Canada. Many Canadian provinces offer nominee programs specific to those with experience in the tech industry. Some programs even invite candidates directly from the Express Entry pool to apply for nomination.

Here are three popular PNPs for tech workers overseas that want to settle permanently in Canada:

1. Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream
Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream is a great immigration option for overseas tech workers that don’t have a Canadian job offer. The stream regularly holds targeted tech draws, where they invite tech workers directly from the Express Entry pool.

The challenge of this stream is that tech workers can’t apply without first being invited by the province. In each tech draw, Ontario selects a targeted CRS range to determine which candidates will receive a Notification of Interest (NOI). Those who receive an NOI may apply for nomination within 45 days of receiving the notification.

Targeted tech occupations include:

Software engineers and designers (NOC 21231)
Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 21230)
Computer engineers (NOC 21311)
Web designers and developers (NOC 21233)
Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 21223)
Computer and information systems managers (NOC 20012)
2. British Columbia PNP Tech

British Columbia’s PNP Tech program provides expedited application processing for candidates with a BC job offer in one of 27 prioritized tech occupations. To qualify, tech workers must be eligible under one of BC’s Skills Immigration streams. The benefit of this program is that it doesn’t require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Instead, the province of BC may issue a “letter of support” to successful nominees, which can be used to apply for a Canadian work permit. BC’s prioritized tech occupations include,

Telecommunication carriers managers (NOC 10030)
Computer and information systems managers (NOC 20012)
Physicists and astronomers (NOC 21100)
Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (NOC 21210)
Data scientists (NOC 21211)
Cybersecurity specialists (NOC 21220)
Business systems specialists (NOC 21221)

Information systems specialists (NOC 21222)
Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 21223)
Computer systems developers and programmers (NOC 21230)
Software engineers and designers (NOC 21231)
Software developers and programmers (NOC 21232)
Web designers (NOC 21233)
Web developers and programmers (NOC 21234)
Civil engineers (NOC 21300)
Mechanical engineers (NOC 21301)
Electrical and electronics engineers (NOC 21310)
Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) (NOC 21311)

Chemical engineers (NOC 21320)
Other professional engineers (NOC 21399)
Biological technologists and technicians (NOC 22110)
Computer network and web technicians (NOC 22220)
User support technicians (NOC 22221)
Information systems testing technicians (NOC 22222)
Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (NOC 22310)
Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics (NOC 22312)
Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts (NOC 50011)
Authors and writers (except technical) (NOC 51111)
Technical writers (NOCC 51112)
Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (NOC 51120)

Other technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts (NOC 52119)
Broadcast technicians (NOC 52112)
Audio and video recording technicians (NOC 52113)
Graphic designers and illustrators (NOC 52120)
Motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and performing arts assistants and operators3. Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway (NOC 53111)
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) offers an accelerated pathway to permanent residence for certain tech professionals with Alberta job offers. To be eligible under this program, candidates must have a job offer in one of 37 tech occupations, or with an employer in one of Alberta’s identified tech sectors.

This program operates through Alberta’s Express Entry stream. That means that candidates must be eligible for AINP’s Express Entry stream to apply under this pathway.

Like BC, Alberta’s Accelerated Tech Pathway offers letters of support to successful nominees that can be used to apply for a work permit in lieu of the lengthy LMIA process. Eligible tech occupations include:

Senior managers – financial,

communications and other business services (NOC 00012)
Human resources managers (NOC 10011)
Advertising, marketing and public relations manager (NOC 10022)
Telecommunication carriers manager (NOC 10030)
Human resources professionals (NOC 11200)
Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (NOC 11202)
Human resources and recruitment officers (NOC 12101)
Engineering managers (NOC 20010)
Architecture and science managers (NOC 20011)
Computer and information systems managers (NOC 20012)
Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (NOC 21210)

Data scientists (NOC 21211)
Cybersecurity specialists (NOC 21220)
Business system specialists (NOC 21221)
Information systems specialists (NOC 21222)
Web designers (NOC 21233)
Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 21223)
Software engineers and designers (NOC 21231)
Computer systems developers and programmers (NOC 21230)
Software developers and programmers (NOC 21232)
Web developers and programmers (NOC 21234)
Civil engineers (NOC 21300)
Mechanical engineers (NOC 21301)
Electrical and electronics engineers (NOC 21310)

Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) (NOC 21311)
Biological technologists and technicians (NOC 22110)
Drafting technologists and technicians (NOC 22212)
Computer network and web technicians (NOC 22220)
User support technicians (NOC 22221)
Information systems testing technicians (NOC 22222)
Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (NOC 22301)
Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians (NOC 22302)
Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (NOC 22310)
Medical laboratory technologists (NOC 32120)
Other medical technologists and technicians (NOC 32129)
Medical laboratory assistants and related technical occupations (NOC 33101)

Business development officers and market researchers and analysts (NOC 41402)
Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts (NOC 50011)
Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (NOC 51120)
Graphic designers and illustrators (NOC 52120)
Corporate sales managers (NOC 60010)
Electricians (except industrial and power system) (NOC 72200)
Industrial electricians (NOC 72201)
Telecommunications equipment installation and cable television service technicians (NOC 72205)

Quebec Immigration

In April 2021, the Quebec government launched an immigration pilot program that benefits certain tech workers. The pilot program allows foreign workers in certain tech occupations to settle permanently in Quebec. The pilot program has two streams: artificial intelligence and information technologies and visual effects.

Quebec’s artificial intelligence stream targets two types of tech professionals: graduates from a Quebec college or university, and foreign-trained workers. Though a Quebec job offer is required for Quebec graduates, the same is not required of foreign workers if they have sufficient work experience in Quebec. The stream also requires candidates to have relevant education that minimally corresponds to a Quebec bachelor’s degree.

The information technology (IT) and visual effects stream targets workers that have experience in one of 10 select occupations. At least two years of work experience in this occupation must have been completed within the past ten years. Candidates applying under this stream must have a job offer, or be working in their field, in Quebec. Applicants must also have completed education that corresponds to a Quebec diploma of technical training or a Quebec bachelor’s degree. Eligible occupations under this stream include:

Computer and information systems managers (NOC 20012)
Electrical and electronics engineers (NOC 21310)
Information systems analyst and consultant (NOC 21222)
Software engineers and designers (NOC 21231)
Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 21230)

Electrical and electronics engineers technologists and technicians (NOC 22310)
Computer network technicians (NOC 22220)
Audio and video recording technicians (NOC 52113)
Graphic designers and illustrators (NOC 52120)
Producer, director, choreographer and related occupations, but only if your job is in the visual effects sector (NOC 51120)
Both streams require applicants to be at least 18 years old, intend to settle and work in Quebec, respect the conditions of their permit in Quebec, and demonstrate financial self-sufficiency.

Candidates that do not speak French can apply under the “Francization” profile. Instead of demonstrating French proficiency, these candidates must sign an agreement that they will learn French upon arriving in Quebec. Quebec offers free language courses for immigrants to help support their integration into the province.

What are Your Employment Prospects Like?
Demand for tech workers in Canada is higher now than ever. With a growing demand for tech professionals, more and more Canadian tech employers are looking to immigrants to fill labour market gaps. In past years, over one-third of jobs in Canada’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector were held by immigrants.

Not sure where to start? Visit our blog post dedicated to finding a job in Canada.

Salary:

The average yearly salary of an IT worker in Canada ranges from $68,000-$100,000 CAD. Whether you are in the higher or lower end of the salary spectrum will depend on your preferred location in Canada and your qualifications once you are a Permanent Resident of Canada.

Information Systems Specialist (NOC 21222)
Average Wage: $42/hour
Example Titles:

Computer systems analyst
Information systems quality assurance (QA) analyst
Management information systems (MIS) analyst
Systems auditor or consultant
Job Description: Analyze systems requirements, develop and implement information systems development plans, policies and procedures, and provide advice on a wide range of information systems issues.

Database Analysts & Data Administrators (NOC 21223)
Average Wage: $39/hour
Example Titles:

Data Processing Specialist
EDP Analyst
Data Miner
Database Designer
Job Description: Although they are slightly different positions, data administrators and database analysts are contained under the same NOC code. Database analysts are expected to design, develop and administer data management solutions using database management software. Data administrators develop and implement data administration policy, standards and models.

Software Engineers & Designers (NOC 21231)
Average Wage: $49/hour

Example Titles:

Application Architect
Software Architect
Software Testing Engineer
Software Technical Architect
Job Description: Research, design, evaluate, integrate and maintain software applications, technical environments, operating systems, embedded software, information warehouses and telecommunications software. Being a team leader of software engineers also means you fall under this category.

Computer Programmers & Interactive Media Developer (NOC 21232)
Average Wage: $49/hour

Example Titles:

Web Programmer
Computer Game Developer
Programmer Analyst
Systems Programmer
Job Description: This profession is like many other NOC codes in that it covers two professions that are very similar to each other. Computer programmers write, modify, integrate and test computer code for microcomputer and mainframe software applications, data processing applications, operating systems-level software and communications software. Interactive media developers write, modify, integrate and test computer code for internet applications, computer-based training software, computer games, film, video and other interactive media.

Computer Engineers (NOC 21311)
Average Wage: $46/hour

Example Titles:

Network Test Engineer
Systems Designer – Hardware
Computer Telecommunications specialist
Hardware Technical Architect

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