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STEM professionals have numerous immigration and work visa options in Canada.

There are numerous choices for foreign nationals interested in working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Canada. Prior to the latest announcements, Canada has already provided numerous permanent residence and work visa options to global STEM talent. However, in order to maintain its economic growth and global competitiveness, Canada has recently attempted to open its doors even wider to STEM talent.

In light of recent news, here is a look at some of Canada's most well-known permanent and temporary residence pathways for STEM professionals.

Express Entry is a popular federal option for obtaining permanent residence:

Express Entry is the primary method by which the federal government of Canada welcomes skilled immigrants.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the start of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates on May 31st. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will prioritize Express Entry candidates who have strong French language skills or professional experience in the following fields:

  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

  • Healthcare

  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors

  • Transport

  • Agriculture and agri-food

The IRCC launched its first-ever STEM category-based draw on July 5th, inviting 500 individuals in STEM fields to apply for permanent residence.

In both targeted and general drawings, Express Entry draws welcome top-ranking individuals who can help fill Canadian labor and labor market vacancies and advance economic goals.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool are ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking approach (CRS), a point-based approach. Candidates are ranked based on their age, education, language skills, work experience, and other factors.

To be eligible for an invitation through a category-based draw, you must meet all of the IRCC standards for that draw.

Global Talent Stream-Work Permits:

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a facilitated work permit alternative for foreign nationals working in the information technology sector. The GTS, among other things, establishes a two-week standard for processing work permit applications for highly qualified IT professionals.

The GTS is divided into two categories: Category A and Category B:

  • Category A is for high-growth firms that can establish a need to hire highly specialized foreign talent. A designated referral partner must refer employers in this category to the GTS.

  • Employers in Category B are aiming to hire certain highly qualified workers for jobs on the Global Talent Jobs List that have been considered to be in demand and have an insufficient labor supply.

STEM workers may be eligible under Category B because many of the vocations are related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

It's worth noting that the GTS is also available in Quebec.

Work Permits in Quebec's Facilitated Processing Stream:

Under the Facilitated Processing Stream, Quebec employers can hire temporary foreign workers in certain targeted occupations and benefit from a process that waives some of the labor impact assessment (LMIA) requirements, such as advertising the position or other recruitment efforts.

Although the Quebec company is not compelled to publicize the post for which foreign workers are being hired, the firm must demonstrate the following:

  • That the foreign worker fits the job's educational and experience qualifications, as well as the National Occupational Classification requirements;

  • That the hourly wage provided to temporary foreign employees is comparable to the wage rate paid to Canadians and permanent residents in the same occupation and geographic location;

  • All high-wage LMIA applications must include a transition strategy. A transition plan, however, is only required for the second or subsequent application for an LMIA in the same occupation and area under Quebec's streamlined process.

All kinds of occupations eligible for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are included on Quebec's facilitated occupations list. Many of these vocations are in STEM fields.

On July 16, a new H1-B Open Work Permit Program will be implemented.

The IRCC has stated that the new H1-B open work permit program will be available beginning July 16th, 2023. The program's eligibility requirements and other specifics are still being worked out.

What we do know is that holders of certain H1-B specialty occupation visas in the United States will be eligible for a simplified work permit to come to Canada. Approved applicants will obtain an open work visa for up to three years if they are eligible for the program, allowing them to work for nearly any firm in Canada.

This step, according to IRCC, will increase available options for qualified employees to continue pursuing careers in the high-tech industry while contributing to North American economic growth.

Applicants' spouses and dependents will also be able to apply for a temporary residence visa with a work or study permit, if appropriate.

This measure will be in place for a year, or until IRCC receives 10,000 applications. Only principal applicants will be included in the application cap, not their accompanying family members.


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