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Not Ready for PR Yet? Work Permit Options for the Tech Worker in Canada

Are you a tech worker unsure about exploring tech jobs in Canada because you are not keen on permanent residence in Canada? Well, it is wrong to presume that Canada tech jobs are available only for those who want to become Canadian permanent residents.

There are multiple options for somebody who wants to work in a tech job in Canada without immediately deciding on permanent residence. Here is an overview of all your Canada work permit options for tech workers.

Global Talent Stream—GTS

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is the primary option for all foreign workers seeking a work permit in Canada. However, as a tech worker, the TFWP should not be your first choice. Rather, this LMIA-mandatory work permit should be your last choice.

Your first choice for a work permit should be the Global Talent Stream of the TFWP. Category B of the GTS covers all occupations included in the Global Talent Occupations List. As on date, this list has 12 occupations or NOC codes and all of them are related to the tech sector.

If you are eligible to apply under the GTS, then your work permit will be processed and approved within just two weeks. This work permit too requires mandatory LMIA approval by the employer.

However, this is not a very complicated process because the Occupations List focuses on in-demand tech occupations for which employers are struggling to find skilled candidates in Canada.

Easy LMIA approval combined with extremely short processing time makes GTS the best option for a tech worker seeking a Canadian work permit.

LMIA-Exempt IMP Work Permits

If you don’t qualify under the GTS, then you should consider LMIA-exempt work permits under the International Mobility Program before exploring the standard TFWP work permit.

IMP work permits are open work permits that don’t bind you to a specific employer in Canada. Further, these work permits don’t require employers to have a positive LMIA in hand before hiring the foreign worker.

There are two IMP options that you can consider as a tech worker seeing to work in Canada. If your employer has offices in Canada as well as in other countries, then you can check if your eligible for the Intra-Company Transfer work permit.

This option is available if your existing employer transfers you to Canada to either set up a Canadian branch from scratch or work in the Canadian branch of the employer.

The other IMP work permit that you can try is the Mobilité Francophone. This work permit is open only to those working in NOC 0, A, or B occupations, which means this is definitely open to tech workers.

To qualify, you must have CLB 7 or higher proficiency in French and you must work outside Quebec. There are no other special requirements applicable to this category, which means any skilled worker with a job offer in Canada can easily qualify provided he or she is proficient in French.


Finally, if you don’t qualify for any of the work permits described above, then you can opt for the standard LMIA-mandatory work permit under the TFWP. Since tech workers are in shortage in the country and Canada is one of the fastest growth tech hubs in North America, getting an approved LMIA for a tech worker is not a very complicated process.

So, you should not face any significant problems in getting a job in Canada and qualify for the work permit for a tech position even if the employer has to apply for get an approved LMIA before hiring you.

Irrespective of the category of work permit under which you are hired by the employer, you will have to be paid wages that’s equal to or higher than the average wage paid for similar positions in the company or across the industry.

Further, the employer will have to submit how you i.e. the foreign worker will either transfer your skills to Canadians or become a Canadian permanent resident yourself. Since work permits are normally issued for a period of three years, you will have to take call on permanent residence within the end of this period.

Of course, work permits do get extended for another three years, but it’s better to have clarity on whether you will apply for Canadian permanent residence or not by the end of the third year.