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Tech group wants new visa to allow skilled workers to enter Canada without a job offer

April 14, 2022

By CIC News |

To help address labour shortages in the tech sector, the Council of Canadian Innovators is calling on the federal government to pilot a new visa that would allow high-skilled tech workers to come to Canada without a job offer.

The CCI recently released its Talent and Skills Strategy, offering 13 key recommendations for policymakers to support Canada’s growing tech industry.

The proposed visa, called the High Potential Tech Visa, would target in-demand professions like software developers and data scientists. It would allow holders to work, change jobs, and help them obtain Canadian permanent residency.

In its report titled the Talent and Skills Strategy, CCI noted that most people seeking work visas in Canada need a job offer to qualify. This requirement creates a barrier for highly skilled talent who want to work in Canada. The report says if software developers, data scientists, and other professionals working in in-demand occupations were allowed to enter Canada to seek work they would likely find it.

In addition, the pandemic has made remote work increasingly more common. As a result, CCI says the Canadian government should consult with the private sector to pilot allowing highly skilled foreign workers to come to Canada for a designated amount of time without a job offer.

This proposal is loosely based on a program being proposed in the UK, which would allow software developers, engineers, or data scientists to enter the country without a job offer.

The proposed tech visa would complement the existing Global Skills Strategy, which aims to process work permit applications in as little as two weeks for in-demand roles. The CCI, however, is calling for a 48-hour visa processing time for this program.

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