Tech Talent Immigration to Canada 

So, you’ve decided you would like to access the global talent pool and hire from outside of Canada. Companies of all sizes struggle to hire experienced technology talent and need to look outside of Canada to build their teams.  Hiring internationally can help your company with: 

  1. Hard-to-find skill sets and experience
  2. Maximizing value and budget constraints
  3. Increasing your team’s diversity

Canada continues to prioritize tech immigration, and recently announced new pathways to increase the flow of tech talent into the country, and make it more business friendly. 

H1B Speciality Occupation

The Canadian government recently announced enhancements to its Tech Talent Strategy. The biggest noisemaker was the H1B Visa opportunity for foreign nationals in the United States. Under this program, 10,000 H1B Visa holders can apply for a 3 year open work permit in Canada. This presents an opportunity for Canadian companies to capture a new pool of talent, but we’re skeptical about how attractive or long-term it might be given compensation differences between the US and Canada.  However, this program became fully subscribed within its first 24 hours and we anticipate the government will closely follow its progress and allow for growth in the program. 

New Innovation Stream

The government is also working on 2 new LMIA exempt work permits under the International Mobility Program.  This will enable companies to hire tech talent without a formal sponsorship process, saving candidates and employers time and money. The government has shared they are developing two specific streams for this program: 

  1. Employer-specific work permits for up to five years for workers destined to work for a company identified by the Government of Canada as contributing to specific industrial innovation goals
  2. Open work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations

We’re very excited about this particular enhancement to the International Mobility Program as it removes hiring barriers, and strengthens Canada’s competitiveness to attract the best global tech talent. 

Global Talent Stream

The Canadian government continues to offer the Global Talent Stream as a comprehensive and reliable pathway for companies to hire international tech talent.  The program qualifies for priority processing and the end-to-end process should take less than two months.  New hires receive a closed work permit that’s valid for up to 3 years, and can be accompanied by their spouse and children.  Our team has successfully utilized the Global Talent Stream to help a number of companies hire and immigrate top technology talent to Canada and believe it’s still a great option for companies to consider.

This is not an exhaustive list. We recommend engaging a professional to determine which immigration pathway is optimal for your company’s unique circumstances. Feel free to connect with ICON-IQ’s global mobility team at

And if you’re looking for advice on recruiting international tech talent, be sure to check out our guide on Accessing Global Talent.

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