Here are 10 programs to help you find your next job opportunity in Canada’s tech sector

Plus: 10 open roles at tech companies in Canada.

Interest in Canadian tech jobs is rising, and much of this is coming from outside of the country. 

According to a 2023 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada ranked as the most attractive destination for immigrant startup founders.

About 900 entrepreneurs have become permanent residents through Canada’s Start-Up Visa program since 2013.

Canada’s booming tech sector and high quality of life make it a magnet for international talent, but breaking into this industry can be tough. Despite its high immigration targets, Canada is known for its highly competitive immigration process, often marked by lengthy wait times and backlogs.

For those looking to work at a tech startup or scale their own in Canada, there are several programs designed to accelerate the process.

For entrepreneurs

Canadian entrepreneurship has been on the decline in recent years, with one BDC report finding that there are 100,000 fewer entrepreneurs in 2023 than there were in 2000.

For international founders looking to fill Canada’s entrepreneurship gap, the federal government’s Start-Up Visa (SUV) program is a top choice. This program offers a pathway to permanent residency in Canada for entrepreneurs who secure support from a designated organization.

To qualify, applicants need to receive either an investment of at least $200,000 from one of the designated venture capital funds, $75,000 from a designated angel investor group, or acceptance into a designated business incubator.

The federal government claims roughly 900 entrepreneurs have become permanent residents through the SUV since it began piloting it in 2013, adding that number represents the launch of more than 300 startups. 

However, this program is set to become more competitive since the government recently announced it would start accepting applications for no more than 840 individuals per year. The government is also now prioritizing applications from entrepreneurs whose startup is supported by Canadian capital or member incubators of Canada’s Tech Network.

The opportunities don’t end there, though. For deeptech entrepreneurs, there are also programs like ventureLAB’s Canada Catalyst initiative, which looks to be a springboard for international, growth-stage companies looking to establish a presence in the Canadian market.

Provinces also have their own Nominee Programs, allowing applicants to identify the specific skills each province is prioritizing for immigration. Some of these provinces, including ones in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta, have dedicated streams for entrepreneurs. 

For skilled workers

For those who aspire to bring their technical chops to an existing Canadian tech company, there are many public and private programs designed to accelerate their entry. Take the Federal Skilled Worker program, for example. This is for skilled workers who are applying to live outside Québec, who have work experience, and want to become permanent residents–those wanting to live in Québec need to apply to the Québec-selected skilled workers program. 

For the Federal Skilled Worker Program, applicants need to meet all minimum requirements for skilled work experience, language ability, and education. This includes having at least one year (or 1,560 hours total) of work experience, passing approved tests in English or French, and being in the possession of a completed education credential. 

Canada’s Global Talent Stream is a part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program designed to help Canadian employers access highly skilled global talent quickly and efficiently. The program aims to offer a streamlined application process with a target of processing eligible work permit applications within two weeks. 

Still, the program has faced challenges. According to Ilya Brotzky, CEO of VanHack, the normal processing time to bring in highly skilled tech talent to Canada was four to six months in 2022. 

Luckily there are a number of other organizations and programs designed to bring international talent to Canada. Calgary-based MobSquad, for example, hires software engineers from all over the world, brings them to Canada, and contracts their services out to clients across North America.

Vancouver-based VanHack also aims to offer startups a faster, more cost-effective way to find candidates and fill open tech roles with global hires. VanHack has helped over 600 companies hire from its global community of over 400,000 candidates to date.

Alongside Québec-specific programs, there are a number of region-specific programs that allow provinces to take in immigrants based on their unique needs. 

Also regionally, there’s the Atlantic Immigration Program for those who want to live and work in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces, including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland, and Labrador. And lastly, there’s the Rural and Northern Immigration program, which began as a pilot of 11 communities but was announced as a permanent program in March this year.

Canadian tech is hiring

Joining Canada’s tech sector is an exciting opportunity, but it requires careful planning, preparation, and paperwork. Understanding the various pathways available to tech workers and entrepreneurs is critical to ensuring a smooth transition.

For those looking to make their mark in the Canadian tech market, there’s good news: many local companies are hiring. Here are just a few open positions right now:

Canada’s top tech companies are hiring: visit the BetaKit Job Board to discover your next role.

Feature image courtesy Jason Goodman on Unsplash.

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Amanda Kavanagh

Amanda Kavanagh is a Dublin-based journalist and content writer with over a decade of experience writing and editing across digital, print, and social.

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