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CANADA: IT Workers and Work Permits

Although Canada does not have an equivalent work visa to that of the U.S. H-1B temporary work visa, for years information technology workers could rather easily secure a Canadian Work Permit on obtaining a Canadian job offer under what was known as the Information Technology Worker Program. The IT Worker Program existed from 1997 until recently when it was shut down in all provinces.

Canadian work permits for IT workers are still possible if a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) Service Canada Labour Market Opinion is obtained:

  1. if the employment is in the province of Québec under a February 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the provincial Québec government if the worker will be employed in one of 44 occupations (which include, among others, IT Consultants, Software Engineers and Designers, Computer Programmers, and Interactive Media Developers);
  2. if the employment is in the provinces of Ontario or British Columbia and in the video gaming and digital animation/visual effects industries and requires a Software Engineer and Designer or a Graphic Designer and Illustrator; or
  3. if the first two possibilities do not apply, then if the Minimum Advertising Requirements of HRSDC have been met and a determination made by HRSDC that the employment of the foreign national is likely to have a neutral or positive effect on the labor market in Canada.

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