Canada to increase number of start-up visas

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced a talent attraction strategy on the morning of June 27, including a digital nomad program, allowing more foreigners to work and live in Canada; Foreign workers with temporary work visas will be allowed to attend study courses for more than half a year without applying for a study visa. Start-up visas for entrepreneurs increased from 1,000 to 3,500 per year. This is good news for shipping companies. In terms of ground freight, there is a shortage of large truck drivers in Vancouver.

In a special announcement Tuesday at the Collision Conference in Toronto, Immigration Minister Fraser said the digital nomad strategy will allow employees of foreign employers to work in Canada for up to six months.

“If they receive a job offer here, we will allow them to continue to work in Canada,” Fraser said. He said it is all part of a strategy to attract the most talented professionals from around the world to work in Canada.

Fraser also announced a “new dedicated pathway” specifically for permanent residents employed or working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

A revamped global skills strategy aimed at attracting talent was originally launched five years ago but has been hampered by processing delays. Under the revamped strategy, work permit processing will be completed in as little as two weeks, “so companies can get the talent they need, when they need it.”

Fraser announced six new improvements or ideas to attract global tech talent to Canada.

First, IRCC will introduce a new dedicated permanent residence (PR) pathway for workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Additionally, the Start-up visa program for entrepreneurs with extraordinary potential has been facing some challenges, with more applications being received than places are available. Recently, IRCC increased the number from 1,000 per year to 3,500 per year. “Provides a path to permanent residence for entrepreneurs who create companies that employ Canadians.”

Going forward, IRCC will prioritize applications that have a capital commitment, or are endorsed by a trusted partner. In addition to this, for applications that are normally queued, the applicant and their family members will be issued an open work permit to work in Canada for 3 years while the application is being processed.

This year, Canada will institute new specific processes for employees working at tech companies, regardless of whether they have a job offer.

Canada will introduce a digital nomad strategy, allowing people with foreign employers to come to Canada to work for up to six months and spend time in a Canadian community. If they receive a job offer from a Canadian employer while they are in Canada, they will be allowed to remain in Canada and work.

Finally, Canada will begin a new process on July 16 to allow 10,000 U.S. H-1 B visa holders to come and work in Canada.

Additionally, temporary foreign workers holding Canadian work permits will be allowed to attend study programs lasting longer than six months without the need for a study visa/permit. The new temporary measure, which will apply to everyone with a work permit or whose work permit extension is still in progress, will come into effect from Tuesday (June 27).

The policy will be valid for the next 3 years until June 27, 2026.

IRCC has removed restrictions on the duration of study programs for work permit holders. Previously, work permit holders required a study visa/permit if they wanted to attend a course longer than 6 months.

Fraser said tens of thousands of temporary foreign workers bring their expertise to Canada each year, boosting the economy and helping fill important gaps in the country’s labor market.

Foreign workers, who make a huge contribution to Canada’s gross domestic product, are sometimes restricted from enrolling in educational programs to pursue goals and seize new opportunities, he said.

This new policy will improve employment options for foreigners as well as their chances of permanent settlement. This is good news for those who want to go on to further study and gain additional training, especially those who need to upskill or confirm their international qualifications through specific programmes.

This new temporary regulation is for a period of 3 years and holders are free to study full-time or part-time as long as the work permit is valid or before the policy expires.

Foreign workers must still apply for a study visa if they want to continue their education beyond the time allowed on their work permit.