IT Pilot Project for Temporary Foreign Workers to End

Once the IT Pilot Project comes to an end on September 30, 2010, Canadian employers will no longer be able to take advantage of the expedited process for bringing foreign information technology (IT) specialists to Canada, unless they are hiring for positions in Québec. In Québec, the facilitated process will remain in place for a limited time.

In a previous TLQ article, we discussed the IT Pilot Project, a collaboration between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources Development Canada (now called Service Canada), Industry Canada, and the Software Human Resource Council (SHRC). This project streamlined the entry of those workers whose skills are in high demand in the software industry and whose entry into the Canadian labour market would have no negative impact on Canadian job seekers and workers.

Under the IT Pilot Project, Canadian employers no longer needed to obtain pre-approval from Service Canada before an IT worker would become eligible for a work permit. To qualify for this expedited process, the offered job had to fit within one of seven job descriptions: Senior Animation Effects Editor, Embedded Systems Software Designer, MIS Software Designer, Multimedia Software Developer, Software Developer-Services, Software Products Developer, and Telecommunications Software Designer.

Each of the seven categories required that the applicant possess a minimum level of education, along with at least two years’ work experience in the appropriate field and proficiency in specific programming languages, platforms and other types of computer-related technology. For foreign national employees who qualified, the IT Pilot Project proved to be a very helpful tool to enable Canadian employers to expedite the process of relocating these employees to Canada and permitting them to enter the Canadian labour market, where they can make a positive contribution to their new company.

Starting October 1, 2010, employers who wish to hire temporary foreign workers previously eligible for IT-facilitated processing will be required to apply for an LMO in advance of being eligible for a work permit. Before employers can apply for an LMO, they will need to advertise the position within Canada for a certain period of time. This requirement will increase the length of time involved in bringing temporary workers to Canada. Because of the delay, it is important that employers start thinking about immigration issues early.