According to a report published last year by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Canada needs 182,000 new workers in the Information Technology (IT) sector by 2019. Fortunately for Canadian employers and international workers alike, over the past year, Canada’s Express Entry immigration system has helped to address this labour shortage.
Critically, provinces across Canada have recognized their need for skilled IT personnel and have used their ‘enhanced’ Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams to select IT workers specifically. These provincial efforts are in addition to the federal government’s objective of inviting more Express Entry candidates based on their strong human capital factors. As a result, the number of candidates with IT work experience being invited to apply has increased over time.
In addition, the federal government recently launched a new initiative aimed at IT workers and employers known as the Global Talent Stream. This initiative aims to help innovative companies grow by ensuring they can access the highly skilled talent they need quickly. Workers who arrive in Canada under the Global Talent Stream may build up Canadian work experience — a highly-valued factor under Express Entry — and subsequently, immigrate to Canada permanently.
This IT immigration report looks at how IT workers have benefited from immigration trends over the past 12 months.
About Express Entry and provincial nomination
Individuals eligible to immigrate to Canada through a federal economic program can submit a profile into the Express Entry pool, where they are ranked against each other according to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The government of Canada issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence to the highest-ranked candidates on a priority basis through draws from the pool. If a candidate obtains a provincial nomination, 600 CRS points are awarded and that candidate is prioritized for an ITA in a subsequent draw from the pool.
In order to apply for a provincial nomination, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. Provinces use their enhanced PNP streams in different ways. For example, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan open their doors on a first-come, first-served basis to candidates in specific occupations, whereas Ontario searches for candidates in the pool before issuing a provincial Notification of Interest (NOI).
Provinces looking for IT workers
Certain provinces, using their enhanced PNP streams, are explicitly seeking out IT workers in the Express Entry pool.
Let’s take the example of Ontario
Ontario, which is a particularly popular destination for new permanent residents, has a Human Capital Priorities (HCP) stream that only selects eligible candidates in the Express Entry pool. Applications under this stream are submitted through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
On June 28, the government of Ontario made an announcement that it was seeking Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals. While one of the usual requirements of the HCP stream is that candidates must have a CRS score of 400 or above, the announcement clarified that for these ICT occupation-specific searches, Ontario lowered the required minimum CRS score below 400. Candidates with work experience in any of the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes were eligible to receive an NOI, even if they scored less than 400 points under the CRS.
Though the government of Ontario has not stated if or when it may prioritize IT, workers, under the HCP stream again, it is notable that the ICTC report cited at the beginning of this article, states that ‘By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 52,700 in the greater Toronto area, over 9,700 in Ottawa-Gatineau, over 3,800 in the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo region, and over 9,900 in rest of Ontario.’
Consequently, it may be the case that Ontario uses the HCP stream again to prioritize IT, workers.