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Minister Fraser launches Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy at Collision 2023

Title: Minister Fraser Launches Canada's First-Ever Tech Talent Strategy at Collision 2023 Toronto, June 27, 2023—Today at Collision 2023, Canada's premier tech conference, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, unveiled Canada's inaugural Tech Talent Strategy. Recognizing the pivotal role of high-growth industries in shaping the future job market, this strategy aims to provide businesses in Canada with access to top talent, fostering innovation and propelling emerging technologies forward. The Tech Talent Strategy encompasses a range of new measures and enhancements to existing ones, designed to empower Canadian businesses and enhance their competitiveness. Minister Fraser introduced several aggressive attraction measures as part of this groundbreaking strategy:

  1. Open Work Permit Stream for H-1B Visa Holders: The creation of an open work permit stream enables H-1B specialty occupation visa holders in the United States to apply for a Canadian work permit. Additionally, accompanying family members will have study or work permit options.

  2. Innovation Stream: Under the International Mobility Program, an Innovation Stream is being developed to attract highly talented individuals. Notable options within this stream include employer-specific work permits for up to five years, targeting individuals destined to work for companies identified by the Government of Canada as contributing to industrial innovation goals. Moreover, open work permits for up to five years will be available for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations.

  3. Streamlining Work Permit Processing: The Global Skills Strategy will revert to the 14-day service standard for work permits, ensuring expedited processing for eligible applicants.

  4. Promotion of Canada as a Destination for Digital Nomads: Canada will actively promote itself as an attractive destination for digital nomads seeking opportunities to live and work remotely.

  5. STEM-Specific Draw: A dedicated draw under the category-based selection system will be introduced, allowing for additional invitations to apply under the Express Entry program specifically targeting individuals with backgrounds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

  6. Start-up Visa Program Enhancements: The Start-up Visa Program will undergo improvements, including increased allocation of spots for the program in 2023, with further expansions planned for 2024 and 2025. Notable changes include the extension of work permits from one year to three years, the availability of open work permits for all members of the entrepreneurial team, and prioritization of applications supported by venture capital, angel investor groups, and business incubators.

The Government of Canada is embracing its emerging role as a global leader in tech talent recruitment and attraction. By prioritizing the acquisition of essential skills and business talent, Canada aims to not only fulfill the demand for in-demand jobs today but also foster an environment that creates the jobs of tomorrow. For detailed information on each element of the Tech Talent Strategy, please refer to the accompanying backgrounder. Quotes: Minister Fraser expressed his enthusiasm for the ambitious immigration goals, emphasizing their strategic importance: "With Canada's first-ever immigration Tech Talent Strategy, we're targeting newcomers who can help establish Canada as a world leader in various emerging technologies. This strategy has been developed in close collaboration with the tech, start-up, and business communities, who have provided invaluable insights. Our fast and flexible approach, backed by broad Canadian support, is truly Canada's immigration advantage." Quick Facts:

  • The Innovation Stream will be launched by the end of this year, incorporating feedback received from stakeholders during recent consultations.

  • The new work permit option for H-1B specialty occupation visa holders will be available from July 16, 2023. Approved applicants will receive an open work permit for up to three years, enabling them to work for any employer in Canada. Accompanying family members will also be eligible to apply for temporary resident visas, along with work or study permits as required.

  • The Global Skills Strategy, launched in 2017, has successfully met the two-week standard for processing Global Talent Stream labour market impact assessments and work permit applications.

  • Changes to the temporary work permit option for Start-up Visa Program applicants, as well as the new application prioritization plan, will be implemented later this year.

  • Canada's information and communications technology sector employed nearly 720,000 Canadians, contributing to over 44% of private research and development spending in Canada in 2021. This sector accounted for more than 15% of Canada's overall GDP growth between 2016 and 2021.

  • Canadian cities were prominently featured in CBRE's report on the concentration of tech talent for 2022, with 11 cities among the top 62 markets in North America. Additionally, Canadian cities accounted for seven of the top ten rankings in tech industry job growth between 2016 and 2021.

  • A 2023 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked Canada as the most attractive destination for immigrant entrepreneurs. The ranking considered various factors, including access to capital, corporate tax rates, workforce skills, quality of universities, quality of life, and immigration policies for entrepreneurs and their families.


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