By Moustafa Daly
Canada is adopting a new strategy that will open new residency pathways for foreign tech workers and entrepreneurs, aiming to attract top talent and enhance the current Startup-Visa program.
Introducing its ‘tech talent strategy,’ Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser said on Tuesday that five-year work permits will be offered to skilled immigrants in select occupations.
“Canada reinforces its intention to continue growing the Start-Up Visa program: this is not a surprise but always great to hear,” said Julien Tétrault, president of Quebec-based JTH Lawyers Inc.
“The greatest news from this announcement for our clients is that the government would finally be going ahead with the suggestion to prioritize start-ups that are capitalized, which is rewarding our investor clients for their capital contribution,” Tétrault adds. “The message sent on Monday by Immigration Minister Fraser is strong: if you have financial backing from a Canadian Angel Fund or Venture Capital Fund, you will get priority.”
Canada focuses on STEM fields and attracting H-1B visa holders from United States
As part of Canada’s efforts to attract highly qualified foreign talent, its innovation minister François-Philippe Champagne also announced that holders of the United States’ H-1B visa will get a fast-track to Canadian residency. Applicants in specialty R&D occupations (typically STEM-related) obtain these visas.
Specifically, Champagne said that a special work permit would open up to H-1B applicants starting July 16, 2023, and valid for three years.
Applicants to this permit would be able to bring their families and dependents to Canada with no restrictions; their spouses and family would also be able to take up employment or study in the country.
This work permit would be available for one year or until a 10,000 primary applicant quota is reached.
The government also plans to launch an innovation stream within the International Mobility Program to attract exceptionally skilled professionals – expect to materialize and become available fully in late 2023.
The innovation stream will include work permits tailored to specific employers endorsed by the government for advancing the country’s ‘industrial innovation objectives’ – granting five-year residencies for foreign talent nominated by said employers.
Open work permits will also be offered to proficient individuals in sought-after occupations, extending up to five years. The full details are yet to be made public.
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