Since last November, there has been a lot of chatter within the tech industry about moving operations to Canada. For software engineers, in particular, it can be a perfect match as their skills are in high demand in a vibrant environment that’s growing from strength to strength.
The startup scene in Vancouver coupled with US tech giants like Facebook and Amazon already maintaining a presence, relocating IT operations to Canada can be rewarding. But before you pack everything up and head north, what do you need to do to make everything legit?
Here are some steps that can help to get you going.
1. Figure Out What Kind of Legal Residency Best Suits you
There are several ways to gain legal residency in Canada, but the most suitable will be the Express Entry for Skilled Workers category. It’s the most effective way for professionals to gain Canadian residency.
To qualify, IT professionals must have at least a year of experience in a full-time managerial, professional, highly skilled work experience. If you go down this route, officials will consider your education, age, work experience, and the industry you would be working in.
For investors or tech companies looking for easier access to talent, there’s also the option of a startup or investor visa. This type of visa is best suited for entrepreneurs and professional investors who have a net worth of least CAD 10 million.
If you’re a self-employed IT professional, you can also apply for a self-employment visa, but you will have to prove an income of as least $40,000 per year. Further, you will also have to prove that you will be able to earn a similar figure while living in Canada.
2. Complete the Application
After you figure out the category that best suits you, fill out the appropriate application. Skilled workers have the option of completing the Express Entry profile online to speed up the process. The profile will require personal information, language skills, and your credentials.
However, once you complete your Express Entry profile, you will have to register with the Government of Canada’s Job Bank (if you don’t already have a job offer). For a startup visa or self-employed visa, you have to apply via snail mail.
3. Pay the Application Fee & Wait
Once you have filled out the application, you will have to pay the application fee. To avoid surprises down the road, pay the application fee in full to ensure that your application is processed.
Now all you can do is wait to find out if your application has been accepted or rejected. Further, you must also keep in mind that this process can take a long time. For example, if you applied using the Express Entry form, you might have to wait for as long as six months to get a response.
So if you have a job that’s waiting for you, don’t waste time, start filling out your application right away. If your application is rejected, then you will have to reapply. But considering the costs involved, only do so if your situation has significantly changed.
If you plan on moving, make sure that you keep the Canadian visa office updated on the change of address. The same applies to changes in marital status or name changes. It’s also good to note that if authorities aren’t informed regarding changes in your situation, it can slow down the whole process.
So whether you work in IT or any other industry, properly completed applications with documentation and communication with relevant authorities regarding changes will make this process run much smoother.
After maintaining four years of residency, you can apply to become a legal Canadian citizen. During this time, you should also be proficient in Canadian social protocols and be able to pass a Canadian government and politics exam.