How Blockchain & Other IT Companies Can Recruit Foreign Workers

Authors: Reis Pagtakhan, Steven Robertson

Companies that develop blockchain and mine for cryptocurrencies are, at their core, IT companies. While there are certainly issues surrounding the marketability of cryptocurrencies, the multiple uses of blockchain technology, and how blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being regulated, for companies looking to develop blockchain technology or mine cryptocurrency in Canada, it is important that key IT personnel be able to work for these companies in Canada.

As countries seek to regulate and even restrict cryptocurrency mining, cryptocurrency miners and blockchain developers are increasingly looking to locate their businesses in less restrictive countries. Because of the immense electrical power needed to power these computers, Canada is being looked upon as a viable option for locating these businesses.

As with any company wishing to locate to Canada, the question then becomes: What needs to be done to ensure that key, non-Canadian employees can work in Canada?

Canada has worked hard in recent years to communicate to global IT companies that its immigration system makes Canada open for business.

One of the common misconceptions is that the only way a foreign national can work in Canada is if it can be proved that there are no Canadians or Canadian permanent residents willing and able to do the job. While this process is true for many instances, Canada has tried to make it easier for IT employees to work in Canada.

When a tech business looks to locate in Canada, one of the first things that should be done is to identify the employees who need to work in Canada. Once these employees are identified, identifying the most efficient immigration process for them becomes much easier.

Here are some of the immigration programs IT companies can use to move their personnel to Canada.

The Global Talent Stream

Canada’s Global Talent Stream allows for expedited entry to Canada of virtually all types of IT personnel. While the Global Talent Stream is certainly a great program for the IT industry, it can also be used by non-IT business looking to hire IT workers. Companies looking to hire foreign nationals through the Global Talent Stream need not recruit for workers in Canada first.

While the Global Talent Stream is an important tool for bringing IT workers into Canada, this program is actually the last immigration program that should be considered for IT professionals. Before using the Global Talent Stream, businesses should first consider other options such as the ones discussed below.

Mobilité francophone

The Mobilite francophone immigration program allows business outside of Quebec to hire French speaking IT professionals (and other professionals or skilled workers) to work in Canada.

While Mobilité francophone does require that the employee be proficient in French, it does NOT require the employee to work at a French-speaking job. Since Mobilité francophone does not require that the business hiring the foreign worker undertake any Canadian recruitment before hiring from abroad, there are no additional recruitment requirements under this program.

NAFTA, CETA or other free trade agreements

Entry to Canada under free trade agreements such as The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and Canada’s free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia, Peru and Chile are quicker and less complicated immigration programs than the Global Talent Stream and Mobilité francophone.

Unfortunately, most of the IT occupations covered under these agreemetns are generally limited – with the exception of individuals coming to Canada under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). For the most part, the list of IT occupations under CETA is identical to the Global Talent Stream. If an applicant qualifies under a free trade agreement, this is normally a better option than the Global Talent Stream.

Intra-company transfers

Another option for bringing workers into Canada is through an intra-company transfer. The intra-company transfer only applies to workers transferring to work for an employer in Canada from a related employer abroad. As a result, this category does not work for new hires.

In addition, this category only applies to employees who have worked outside of Canada for one year in the last three years at the foreign-related company in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity.

The intra-company transfer category is not limited to IT workers but can be used by any executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.