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Visa process for IT professionals working in Canada:

As per the latest survey from the human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and Statistic Canada, there are more than 30,000 jobs to be filled in the IT industry with qualified software programmers at all levels. Moreover, an average Canadian company is facing almost 4% of vacancy in the IT industry.

In order to fill these vacancies, the Canadian government has changed the immigration regulations in the hiring/ recruiting of software programmers outside of Canada.

The old regulations required a Canadian company to make an application to the HRDC, formerly known as the Employment Center, for hiring foreign workers. The companies also needed to satisfy the government that there were no Canadians, with similar qualifications, available to fill those positions.

The companies were also required to give two advertisements in a Canadian national newspaper in an attempt to fill the vacancies before hiring any foreign worker. This process was known as employment validation. This was a very lengthy procedure and on average took about 9- 15 months to complete.

However under the new regulations known as the SOFTWARE PILOT PROJECT, no such validation is required from the HRDC. This is because the Canadian government has issued a national permit to recruit software programmers from outside of Canada. In fact under the new regulations the Canadian employer is only required to provide the employee and the Canadian government with a letter stating the terms and conditions of employment along with the duties to be performed by the employee.

Once this job offer is issued, the employee can directly approach the Canadian High Commission office to apply for employment authorization and a visa to work in Canada. The employee must present himself before the concerning officer with proof of education, work experience and the job offer letter.

This streamlined process is designed to ensure the timely and speedy issuance of a temporary permit to work in Canada. This process is often quickly completed within a day or may take about 2-3 weeks at the most.

The different types of Software programmers eligible to apply under this program are as follows:

1. Senior Animation Effects Editor.
2. Multimedia software Designer.
3. Embedded Systems Software Designer.
4. MIS Software Designer.
5. Software Products Developer.
6. Telecommunications Software Designer.
7. Software Developer, Services.

There is no quota in issuing this type of visa. Moreover as per the new regulations dated 18th October 1998, spouses of software programmers working in Canada can also obtain a work permit to work in Canada in any occupation category. They are not required to be highly qualified. This regulation is specially designed to make Canada a more attractive place to work and stay compared to other western countries.

View comparison between:Old Regulations/New Regulations

Mr. Ajmera's views were quoted on the " Software Pilot Project" in the June/July 1999 issue of "HR Professionals" the magazine for Canadian Human Resources Professionals,published from Toronto,Ontario,Canada.

For further resources visit: Our Canadian Employment Link


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