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Simplified Entry Process Extended in BC for IT Workers

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has extended the facilitated process for temporary foreign work permit applications from Information Technology (IT) specialists seeking to work in British Columbia. The facilitated process, which was to expire in British Columbia on March 31, 2011, has been extended to September 30, 2011.

The facilitated process was developed for IT specialists in high demand occupations by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada and CIC in cooperation with employers and the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). Under the facilitated process, employers wanting to hire temporary foreign workers (TFWs) do not first require a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from HRSDC before they can hire. The following specific occupations qualify under the facilitated process:

• Senior animation effects editors
• Embedded systems software designers
• MIS software designers
• Multimedia software developers
• Software developers – services
• Software products developers
• Telecommunications software designers

A year earlier, in May, 2010, HRSDC/Service Canada had issued a notice to employers that the simplified entry process for certain IT occupations was to end and that effective October 1, 2010, employers who wished to hire TFWs previously eligible for IT facilitated processing were required to apply for an LMO. Further to this, the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec requested that HRSDC/Service Canada extend the exemptions in their provinces to allow them to consider other facilitative measures for IT workers and federal-provincial foreign worker agreements.

In addition to extending the program, under new instructions to immigration officers released May 11, 2011 (Operational Bulletin 225-C), employers interested in hiring TFWs for positions located in British Columbia in one of the seven occupations covered under the IT facilitated process will be required first to notify Service Canada and the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development of their offer of employment before proceeding to have the foreign workers apply to CIC to obtain a work permit.

In Quebec, facilitated processing for IT workers continues as per the previous standard operating procedures.

For further information on the facilitated processing of work permits for IT workers in British Columbia and Quebec, or for assistance generally with the requirements and procedures in applying for a Work Permit in Canada, please contact us.