How to Get a Work Permit as an IT Professional

The Government of Canada fast-tracks work permits for individuals in the IT sector.

The technology sector is vital to the Canadian economy and Canada is in high demand for global technical talent. In fact, there are many different work permit options for individuals in the IT sectors, and the Canadian government expedites the processing of these permits.

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The main work permit options for IT businesses include Global Talent Stream, CUSMA Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees.

Global Talent Stream

The goal of the Global Talent Stream is to help Canadian employers hire foreign technical talent. The Global Talent Stream allows some skilled workers to obtain a work permit within two weeks of applying.

In addition, under the Global Talent Stream, employers who wish to hire IT professionals can qualify for an accelerated Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which aims to ensure that the arrival of a foreign worker will not harm workers in Canada.

Examples of qualified technical professions include software engineers and designers, computer programmers, media developers, information systems analysts and consultants, and computer and information systems managers.

CUSMA Professional

Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), eligible US and Mexican citizens can obtain a Canadian work permit. Work permits granted under CUSMA typically do not require an LMIA prior to applying, which means Canadian employers can bring in foreign IT professionals to work much faster.

Under CUSMA, there is a list of approximately 60 occupations or occupations that qualify for a work permit called the CUSMA Professional Work Permit. Many of the occupations listed are related to IT and include computer systems analyst, graphic designer, technical publication writer, and computer engineer.

Intra-Company Transferees

Intra-company transfer (ICT) is another work permit option that does not require an LMIA. To be eligible for an ICT work permit, the foreign employee must have been employed with a company abroad for at least one year and have a qualifying relationship between the two companies (i.e. subsidiary, associate, parent or branch) needed.

For ICT work permit, there are three different categories under which a worker can qualify. The third category is for workers who have “specialized and proprietary knowledge of the company or its products”, and generally IT professionals may be eligible for an ICT work permit.

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