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“Can I Immigrate to Canada as a Software Engineer?”

A Big Yes! We live in an age where technology makes the world spin. Canada, with its booming technological landscape, understands this best. It’s no wonder that the “Great White North” as it warmly welcomes a plethora of skilled talent each day, particularly in the tech sector.

Canada is home to hundreds of tech companies with a rising need for tech professionals, especially software engineers. If you’re a software engineer looking forward to expanding your horizons as a professional, applying for Canadian immigration may be the way to go.

This guide aims to break down the often-confusing process of immigration into manageable steps. In this journey of ‘Software Developer to Canadian resident’, you’ll be guided through each stage of the process. So, grab a cup of coffee and let us unravel the steps to your dream of moving to Canada.

Overview of Software Engineering Prospects in Canada

Over the last few years, there’s been a surge in the demand for tech professionals in Canada, thanks to the latest developments in technology and increased globalization. The rising demand of the tech industry attracted hundreds and thousands of tech professionals, opening doors of opportunities around the world. Between April 2022 and March 2023, over 32,000 tech professionals, including software engineers, immigrated to Canada, and the numbers will likely grow in the next few years.

The tech industry in Canada is thriving. With places like Toronto and Vancouver leading as top tech hubs, there is an increased demand for skilled IT professionals, making Canada an appealing prospect to software engineers and developers around the world. The Canadian government acknowledges this demand and highlights IT professionals under its Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), easing the path for software developers and engineers to immigrate.

If you’re a software engineer eager to learn about career prospects in Canada, you need to understand the Canadian immigration system so you can make the right choice for your future. Let’s learn more about the Canadian immigration system for software engineers.

Overview of the Canadian Immigration System

Canada offers multiple immigration pathways for skilled professionals, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). You can also explore provincial nominee programs that are specifically tailored according to the needs of different provinces. Tech professionals can also apply for immigration by obtaining a work permit in Canada.

NOC TEER Codes for Software Engineer/Developer

One of the critical aspects of Canadian immigration is understanding the National Occupation Classification (NOC). It provides a standardized system categorizing every job in the Canadian market with a specific code. The code also includes a detailed job description.

Occupation NOC Code Work Experience Requirement
Computer systems developers and programmers 21230
Software engineers and designers 21231
Software developers and programmers 21232

NOC TEER Codes are particularly important for immigrants, especially for those applying through the Express Entry system. The correct identification of your NOC code will help you get the required points for the Express Entry application and improve your chances of becoming a permanent resident.

Let’s learn more about the different systems for getting permanent residence in Canada.

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Express Entry: A Popular Route for Software Engineers to Enter Canada

Perhaps the quickest way to immigrate to Canada as a software developer or engineer is through the Express Entry system. This online system manages applications for the three federal economic immigration programs mentioned earlier. Eligible candidates enter a pool where they are ranked according to a points system known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Highest-ranking candidates are regularly invited to apply for permanent residency.

The program invites skilled workers who are in high demand in Canada to apply for a faster immigration process. Software engineers may qualify for Express Entry as their jobs are in high demand in the country. These two Express Entry programs are relevant for Software Developers/Engineers.

1. Federal Skilled Workers Program

Canada’s Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) is a popular immigration pathway for tech professionals globally. The program uses a points-based system, focusing on skills, work experience, language ability, and other factors.

Understanding the point system

The FSWP point system is designed to assess your eligibility for immigration. You’ll need at least 67 points out of 100 to qualify. Here’s a brief breakdown:

  • Education: Maximum 25 points
  • Language ability: Maximum 28 points
  • Work experience: Maximum 15 points
  • Age: Maximum 12 points
  • Arranged employment in Canada: Maximum 10 points
  • Adaptability: Maximum 10 points

Check Your Score here: FSW Points Calculator

2. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program can be an excellent channel to speed up your immigration process. This program primarily targets individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year and aims to make their permanent resident status easier and quicker.

Eligibility criteria for software developers/engineers

To qualify, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Have at least one year of full-time (or equivalent part-time) skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years.
  • Have work experience in a designated NOC TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 job. For software developers and engineers, the relevant NOC TEER codes are 21232 and 21231, respectively.
  • Have proven language skills at CLB 7 for NOC TEER 0 or 1 jobs and CLB 5 for NOC TEER 2 or 3 jobs.

6 Pathways to Obtain Canada PR for IT Professionals

Preparing for Immigration – Self-Assessment

Before you start packing your bags for Canada, it’s critical that you do a thorough self-assessment to ensure that you’re a viable candidate for immigration.

Importance of evaluating your credentials

Evaluating your credentials is the first and possibly the most critical step. You must make sure you have the appropriate qualifications to be a software developer or engineer in Canada. It’s not just about having a degree or professional certifications – your work experience, language proficiency, and other factors can also significantly influence your eligibility.

Steps to assess your eligibility

Here are some steps to assess your eligibility:

  • Research the requirements: Visit the official Government of Canada website to understand the specific requirements for immigration.
  • Evaluate your skills: Consider how your skills align with those demanded in Canada’s software industry.
  • Get an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA): This assessment measures whether your education is equal to Canadian standards.
  • Take a language proficiency test: English and French are Canada’s two official languages. You may need to prove your proficiency in one or both of these languages.

Remember, doing a comprehensive self-assessment will help set you up for success in your journey to Canada.

Targeted Express Entry for Software Engineers

The targeted Express Entry aims to facilitate the immigration process of certain professionals, including software engineers. Targeted Express Entry allows professionals from the following categories to have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence even with a lower CRS score.

  • Healthcare professionals,
  • Trade personnel,
  • Agriculture and food professionals,
  • Professionals associated with transportation,
  • STEM professionals and
  • Individuals with high French Language Proficiency

Software engineers applying through the Targeted Express Entry Programme must have at least six months of relevant experience in the last three years.

A Guide to Targeted Express Entry for Software Developers 2023

Tech Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP)

Individuals who apply through Express Entry can also apply through the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP), a part of the Express Entry system that invites foreigners to become permanent residents of a province.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are a popular preference for those working in tech to immigrate to Canada. It is an expedited immigration process for crucial technology occupations.
Many Canadian provinces, including Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia, offer nominee programs that are specific to individuals in a particular industry, including software engineering.
The most popular PNP for tech professionals include the following.

British Columbia’s BC PNP Tech Program

BC PNP Tech program is designed to provide expedited application processing for candidates who have a job offer in British Columbia and fall in one of the 27 prioritized tech occupations. Software engineers and designers fall into one of the preferred tech categories.

Alberta Accelerated Pilot Program

Similar to BC PNP Tech, the Alberta Accelerated Pilot Programme offers accelerated immigration support for candidates in a variety of tech occupations, including software engineering.

Ontario Human Capital Priorities Stream

Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream is an immigration option for overseas tech workers who don’t yet have a Canadian job offer. The stream conducts targeted tech draws by inviting tech occupation works from the Express Entry applications.

Work Permit – Another Gateway to Entry in Canada

Canada offers around 50,000 work permits to foreign workers each year. These work permits are often temporary and allow professionals from around the world to work in Canada for a specific time.

However, if the employer offers permanent employment to individuals with temporary work permits, then you’re eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the skilled worker stream.

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Canada Immigration Process for Software Engineers/Professionals

Now that you’re aware of the possible ways to enter Canada as a tech professional, here’s a step-by-step guide to the immigration process for software engineers.

Step 1: Check Eligibility as a Software Engineer

The first step in the immigration process is to check your eligibility as a software engineer. You can conveniently check your eligibility finding your NOC TEER Code here.

The NOC TEER Code will help you determine if you meet the basic  skilled worker requirements. After that you must check your Comprehensive Ranking Score using our CRS Score Calculator.

An increase in your CRS score gives you a higher chance of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA). You can improve your CRS score by gaining higher education, improving language skills, or gaining Canadian work experience.

Step 2: Acquiring Your Credentials and Documents

Before you apply for immigration, make sure you have all the relevant documents that show your education and experience to your potential employer. Documents you may need include the following:

  • Degree, certifications, and transcripts from college and/or university showing your qualifications,
  • Letter of reference and experience from your employer as evidence of your work experience and
  • Letters from professional or regulatory bodies showing your association with your industry in your homeland.
  • Passport or travel documents
  • Language test results (IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF)
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report if you studied outside of Canada
  • Proof of work experience
  • Medical examination and police clearance certificates

Step 3: Plan Your Entry

Once you have your documents and credentials, you can plan your entry into Canada. You can create your Express Entry profile, or if you have a job offer, you can also apply for a work permit.

To apply for a work permit, you will need additional documents, including a job offer letter and proof of financial support.

You can also apply for immigration through Tech PNP and targeted Express Entry.

Step 4: Receiving an Invitation and Applying for Permanent Residence

The last step is to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Given that several immigration programs allow you to apply for a Canada PR as a software engineer, it’s critical to know the requirements of each application process so you can get the desired outcome.

Top Cities in Canada for Tech Jobs

Canada’s tech industry is primarily centralized in a few key cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa. These cities are renowned for their tech-forward economies, with firms ranging from dynamic start-ups to established tech giants. The tech job market in these cities is incredibly vibrant and offers software professionals a wide array of opportunities.

Get Ready to Move to Your New Home!

In the end, the road to Canada as a Software Developer or Engineer lays heavily on preparation. It’s vitally crucial to conduct comprehensive research and gather all necessary documents. Despite its complexity, the immigration process is manageable and worth it considering the attractive tech opportunities in Canada.

If you’re a software engineer planning to move to Canada, connect today with Elaar Immigration. Our Regulated Immigration Consultants are there to assist you at each step and ensure that you meet each visa requirement.

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