Canadian ImmigrationIT WorkersPrioritized OccupationsQuebec Immigration

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Tech Worker

Published on: February 27th, 2015
Last updated: February 3rd, 2022

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.

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Due to the high demand in the tech industry, 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 for tech workers to immigrate to Canada in 2022:

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 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
  • Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)

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 27 prioritized tech occupations include,

  • 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 engineers technologists and technicians (NOC 2241)
  • Electronic service technicians (households 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)

3. Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway

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 0013)
  • Human resources managers (NOC 0112)
  • Telecommunication carriers managers (NOC 0131)
  • Engineering managers (NOC 0211)
  • Architecture and science managers (NOC 0212)
  • Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)
  • Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts (NOC 0512)
  • Corporate sales managers (NOC 0601)
  • Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (NOC 1123)
  • Human resources professionals (NOC 1121)
  • Human resources and recruitment officers (NOC 1223)
  • Civil engineers (NOC 2131)
  • Mechanical engineers (NOC 2132)
  • Electrical and electronics engineers (NOC 2133)
  • Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) (NOC 2147)
  • Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries (NOC 2161)
  • 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)
  • Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians (NOC 2232)
  • Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians (NOC 2233)
  • Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians (NOC 2241)
  • Drafting technologists and technicians (NOC 2253)
  • Computer network technicians (NOC 2281)
  • User support technicians (NOC 2282)
  • Information systems testing technicians (NOC 2283)
  • Medical laboratory technologists (NOC 3211)
  • Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants (NOC 3212)
  • Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health) (NOC 3219)
  • Business development officers and marketing researchers and consultants (NOC 4163)
  • Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (NOC 5131)
  • Graphic designers and illustrators (NOC 5241)
  • Electricians (except industrial and power system) (NOC 7241)
  • Industrial electricians (NOC 7242)
  • Telecommunications installation and repair workers (NOC 7246)

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 0213)
  • Electrical and electronics engineers (NOC 2133)
  • Information systems analyst and consultant (NOC 2171)
  • Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC 2174)
  • Electrical and electronics engineers technologists and technicians (NOC 2241)
  • Computer network technicians (NOC 2281)
  • Audio and video recording technicians (NOC 5225)
  • Graphic designers and illustrators (NOC 5241)
  • Producer, director, choreographer and related occupations, but only if your job is in the visual effects sector (NOC 5131)

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 2020, 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 Analysts & Consultants (NOC 2171)

Average Wage: $41/hour
Example Titles: 

  • IS Quality Assurance Analysts
  • Systems Auditors
  • Information Systems Business Analysts
  • Systems Security Analysts

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 2172)

Average Wage: $37/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 2173)

Average Wage: $48/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 2174)

Average Wage: $38/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 2147)

Average Wage: $46/hour

Example Titles:

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

Job Description: Computer engineers research, plan, design, develop, modify, evaluate and integrate computer and telecommunications hardware and related equipment, and information and communication system networks including mainframe systems, local and wide area networks, fibre-optic networks, wireless communication networks, intranets, the Internet and other data communications systems.


 

Interested in coming to Canada as a tech worker? Complete our free online assessment form for a full evaluation of your immigration options!

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