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Jobs in tech: 4 countries offering visas to skilled foreign graduates

Countries offering visas for jobs in tech
From cloud computing to machine learning, tech specialists are high in demand all over the world. Source: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Is working abroad the solution to your career advancement? If so, you might want to consider applying for jobs in tech overseas — and getting there is not as impossible as it may seem.   

There’s a reason why tech jobs are often pegged as careers of the future: digitisation is taking over no matter which industry you’re in. Whether in healthcare, finance, or even the arts, the use of new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data is becoming more ubiquitous. The current global workforce, however, can hardly keep up with the pace of its development. 

A sweeping country-by-country report from American consulting firm Korn Ferry found that more than 85 million jobs would go unfilled globally due to talent shortages in filling the labour market. Jobs in tech, media, and communications will have a deficit of over four million workers by 2030, resulting in a nearly US$5 billion revenue loss. 

As multiple countries outline strategies to overcome talent gaps in the workforce, some of these plans include introducing new visa routes for skilled international graduates. 

If you’ve got the expertise, qualifications and work experience, here are four countries eager to welcome and fast-track your arrival on their shores: 

How to land jobs in tech overseas as a foreign graduate 

Canada 

The Great White North sits high on our list as a hiring hotspot for jobs in tech. The Global Talent Stream visa was introduced as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Programme to address short-term domestic labour scarcity in tech and is divided into Categories A and B. Successful hires can earn over 80,000 Canadian dollars annually in the former category, while Category B is a route reserved for employment within the Global Talent Occupations List

The bulk of the application process is undertaken by your potential employer, who must obtain approval from the government to proceed with an overseas hire after demonstrating an actual need for foreign workers to fill in the vacancies.

Once it’s approved, you can use the confirmation letter copy to apply for a work permit work through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and get your permit within two weeks. 

Germany

One of Europe’s most prominent centres in innovation, Germany is now offering a work visa for IT experts who have at least three years of experience in the field over the last seven years. Here’s what you need to qualify for the visa: 

  • You have an IT job offer in Germany.
  • You can prove that you possess at least three years of experience in the sector over the last seven years, and it adequately qualifies you for your intended position. 
  • You can prove your relevant theoretical knowledge required for the job in question through training courses and exams.
  • Your potential job in Germany comes with a gross annual salary of at least 50,760 euros (as of 2022).
  • You must have obtained at least a level of B1 in the German language according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In individual cases, you won’t need to prove your proficiency skills if the language spoken at work is not German.

For more information about entering the German labour market, click here

Portugal 

Portugal is fast becoming a popular destination for startup companies to set up shop in Europe. As such, the government has made it easier to recruit foreign talents through the Tech Visa programme, which is open to non-European Union citizens aged 18 years and above who are qualified in their respective fields. 

Applicants must also satisfy the following requirements:

  • Not be a permanent resident of the Schengen area.
  • Not having a criminal record.
  • Have no pending tax obligations.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. 
  • Possess at least five years of experience in specialised technical functions.
  • Proficient in English, Portuguese, Spanish or French. 

You can find a list of Tech Visa-verified companies to apply for jobs in tech here. Once the company issues you a term of responsibility, you can bring that among other documents required to file for your residency permit. 

Countries offering visas for jobs in tech

Portugal introduced the Tech Visa route for non-EU citizens as a way for companies to simplify the hiring process of highly qualified foreign professionals into the local workforce. Source: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP

UK

The Global Talent Visa scheme allows you to work in the UK if you are deemed a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology. The application process begins with getting an endorsement on GOV.UK as a tech expert with “exceptional promise” or “exceptional talent,” which will be assessed by Tech Nation, the official endorsing body for experts in digital technology designated by the Home Office. 

Once that’s cleared, you can proceed with applying for the visa, and you don’t need a job offer for it to be granted. You can work for up to five years with the visa and renew it as many times as you like, with the possibility of settling permanently in the UK afterwards.