Express Entry Helping to Address Canada’s Need for IT Workers
According to a report published last year by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Canada needs 182,000 new workers in the Information Technology (IT) sector by 2019. Fortunately for Canadian employers and international workers alike, over the past year Canada’s Express Entryimmigration system has helped to address this labour shortage.
Critically, provinces across Canada have recognized their need for skilled IT personnel and have used their ‘enhanced’ Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams to select IT workers specifically. These provincial efforts are in addition to the federal government’s objective of inviting more Express Entry candidates based on their strong human capital factors. As a result, the number of candidates with IT work experience being invited to apply has increased over time.
In addition, the federal government recently launched a new initiative aimed at IT workers and employers known as the Global Talent Stream. This initiative aims to help innovative companies grow by ensuring they can access the highly skilled talent they need quickly. Workers who arrive in Canada under the Global Talent Stream may build up Canadian work experience — a highly-valued factor under Express Entry — and subsequently immigrate to Canada permanently.
This IT immigration report looks at how IT workers have benefited from immigration trends over the past 12 months.
About Express Entry and provincial nomination
Individuals eligible to immigrate to Canada through a federal economic program can submit a profile into the Express Entry pool, where they are ranked against each other according to a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The government of Canada issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence to the highest-ranked candidates on a priority basis through draws from the pool. If a candidate obtains a provincial nomination, 600 CRS points are awarded and that candidate is prioritized for an ITA in a subsequent draw from the pool.
In order to apply for a provincial nomination, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. Provinces use their enhanced PNP streams in different ways. For example, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan open their doors on a first-come, first-served basis to candidates in specific occupations, whereas Ontario searches for candidates in the pool before issuing a provincial Notification of Interest (NOI).
Provinces looking for IT workers
Certain provinces, using their enhanced PNP streams, are explicitly seeking out IT workers in the Express Entry pool.
Example 1: Ontario
Ontario, which is a particularly popular destination for new permanent residents, has a Human Capital Priorities(HCP) stream that only selects eligible candidates in the Express Entry pool. Applications under this stream are submitted through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
On June 28, the government of Ontario made an announcement that it was seeking Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals. While one of the usual requirements of the HCP stream is that candidates must have a CRS score of 400 or above, the announcement clarified that for these ICT occupation-specific searches, Ontario lowered the required minimum CRS score below 400. Candidates with work experience in any of the following National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes were eligible to receive a NOI, even if they scored less than 400 points under the CRS.
Though the government of Ontario has not stated if or when it may prioritize IT workers under the HCP stream again, it is notable that the ICTC report cited at the beginning of this article states that ‘By 2019, cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent are expected to be over 52,700 in the greater Toronto area, over 9,700 in Ottawa-Gatineau, over 3,800 in the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo region, and over 9,900 in rest of Ontario.’
Consequently, it may be the case that Ontario uses the HCP stream again to prioritize IT workers
Example 2: Nova Scotia
Halifax, the capital and largest city in Nova Scotia, was recently titled ‘Canada’s fifth-biggest tech hub’ by CTV News. This is no mean feat, considering that Halifax is the 13th largest metropolitan area in Canada.
Of the 16 occupations on Nova Scotia’s list of targeted opportunity occupations for its Nova Scotia Demand: Express Entry stream, four are IT occupations:
This Express Entry-aligned stream most recently opened last week on July 5, reaching its intake limit within hours. However, the government of Nova Scotia expects this stream to open and close over the next year.
Candidates with experience in one of these occupations improve their chances of successfully submitting an application to the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration if they prepare their documents and forms in advance and stay alert to news from Nova Scotia regarding this stream.
Example 3: Saskatchewan
Earlier this month, the government of Saskatchewan began to let nominees and other stakeholders know that a new tech careers web page is now available, showing the range of tech-related jobs in the province, which is located in Western Canada. Saskatchewan’s Labour Demand Outlook for 2016 to 2020 shows that salaries in IT professions are expected to be high.
Since July, 2016, the International Skilled Worker – Express Entry sub-category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) has opened on five occasions. This sub-category allows eligible Express Entry candidates with experience in an in-demand occupation to submit an application to the SINP. No job offer is required, and applications are received on a first-come, first-served basis.
For the most recent intake, which ran from May 16 to May 24, 2017, no IT occupations were included on the list. However, for the previous intake periods Computer and Information Systems Managers (NOC 0213) and Information Systems Analysts and Consultants (NOC 2171) were included.
Saskatchewan’s list of in-demand occupations is subject to change, and Express Entry candidates across the IT professions may benefit in the future, as they have done so in the past.
Example 4: New Brunswick
This time last year New Brunswick, located in Atlantic Canada, was inviting certain IT professionals to submit their resume through the ‘Open Category’ of the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) Express Entry Labour Market Stream, before potentially applying for provincial nomination under the program.
New Brunswick was looking for newcomers in the following occupations:
Though this category stopped receiving applications on July 15, 2016, it may reopen in the future, either with the above list of occupations or with some other variation.
Express Entry Changes Benefit IT Candidates
When IRCC released its year-end report for 2016, statistics showed that invited candidates by profession had shifted towards higher-skilled professions, principally in IT.
In 2016, candidates working as IT professionals were the largest group of invited candidates. According to the IRCC report, ‘In September 2016, when invitation round sizes began to grow, candidates with higher human capital but without a valid job offer, such as those in occupation groups NOC 11, 21 and 40, were invited in greater numbers. Since November 19, 2016, this trend has become even more pronounced.’ As the table above shows, many IT professions come under NOC group 21.
Because the improvements that came into effect last November brought a change in the value of a job offer under the CRS — from 600 points to either 50 or 200 points, depending on the position offered — many candidates without a job offer improved their ranking. This placed more of these candidates in line to receive an ITA, with or without a provincial nomination or a job offer.
Moreover, so far 2017 has seen more candidates invited than ever before. At the time of writing, a total of 54,487 ITAs have been issued this year. This number more than triples the 15,286 ITAs issued over the first half of 2016, and far surpasses the total number issued in the whole of last year.
To apply for Canadian Skilled Worker or Provincial Nomination programs, fill out the Assessment form here