Thinking of a fast-track immigration program to permanent residence in Canada? If so, this could be the best time to consider it as it seems that stalled immigration reforms in the United States are paving way for Canada to attract young skilled foreign nationals into its burgeoning tech-sector employment.
The federal employment minister Jason Kenney is heartily endorsing his government’s efforts to entice educated immigrants north of the 49th parallel as a direct counter to American policy obstacles that deter immigrants from settling down there even after earning highly-prized degrees.
“We’re seeking very deliberately to benefit from the dysfunctional American immigration system. I make no bones about it,” told Kenney emphatically to journalists at a West Vancouver news conference.
According to Kenney, the government aspires to capitalize off the “super smart” graduates being produced in the US, where thousands of young people from all over the world attend prestigious schools like Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California.
He said that Canada plans to aggressively promote the opportunities it provides – which includes its budding start-up visa program, and its incoming fast-track program to permanent residency for entrepreneurs who wish to launch companies but find themselves blocked from procuring green cards.
The government plans to issue a maximum of 2,750 visas for each year of the five-year pilot, which is limited to entrepreneurs who already have the backing of a venture capital firm in Canada.
“If the United States doesn’t want to open the door to permanent residency for them, that door will be opened in principle for them to come to Canada,” Kenney said.
Last year, Kenney had travelled to the San Francisco Bay area, where Silicon Valley had already claimed about 350,000 Canadians, and campaigned for foreign talent. The federal government put up a massive billboard, emblazoned with a giant red maple leaf, advertising directly to foreign nationals burdened with US visa troubles.
Kenney said that the “Pivot to Canada” billboard generated “massive interest and buzz” in the Silicon Valley tech sector.
Questioned whether Canada might get any criticism from the US for openly courting its grads, Kenney mentioned that he had raised the government’s objectives “very openly” in Washington.
“And the (US) advocates for immigration reform have used Canada’s activity there and the Silicon Valley (scenario) as an argument for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington,” he said.
“We’ll leave that to the Congress and (US President Barack Obama) to resolve, that’s their policy domain, not ours.”
Ever since Kenney became the immigration minister, he has been continuing the drive for global talent. Recently he made another important announcement that is aimed at improving recognition of foreign credentials. He revealed a $3.3 million funding package for the British Columbia government, aimed at matching more skilled immigrants with work.
The funding is slated for more than 30 projects that work on removing barriers faced by newcomers who are trained overseas, with a particular focus in B.C. in the energy and resource sectors.
These projects help employers to remove obstacles for new Canadians entering the workforce, making available more information online, promoting the in-demand jobs in Canada, and working with regulators to hasten the credential-recognition process.
B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton, said the “renewal” of funding will assist the province fill an expected one million job openings expected by 2022, including in its developing liquefied natural gas industry.
“Letting a group of people languish because their credentials are not recognized is not good for them, nor is it good for our province,” she said.