For highly skilled workers from all over the world looking for opportunities to use their expertise to move to a new country, the options are narrowing – and that could be playing into Canada’s hands.
With U.S. President-elect Donald Trump promising to clamp down on immigration, and the U.K.’s borders expected to tighten as ‘Brexit’ becomes a reality, two of Canada’s key competitors in attracting the best and the brightest are about to dramatically change their policies.
Traditionally Canada has struggled to hold on to its bright young people, with an estimated 350,000 of them lured to Silicon Valley or other parts of America.
They could be about to be forced to beat a retreat back home, and Canada is waiting with open arms to welcome them.
Conservative estimates suggest Canada will have 182,000 vacancies in the technology sector by 2019. The growing sector is driving the economy, with 71,000 companies employing 5.6 per cent of the workforce and responsible for 7 per cent of the country’s output.
More people are employed in technology than a combination of oil and gas, mining and forestry – a startling indication the Canadian economy is undergoing a significant transition, meaning it needs workers with the right expertise.
The British Columbia city of Victoria is growing as a technology hub, but companies are spread all over Canada looking for the right kind of people to help them grow. There are jobs everywhere for those with the required qualifications.
The message is simple: If the U.S. and the U.K. no longer want these skilled workers, Canada is ready to take them.
Several Canadian technology companies have reported significant interest from Silicon Valley workers looking to make the move north since Trump’s election victory.
The federal government has backed the industry, having recently tweaked its immigration policy in favour of the most qualified talent, as well as international students.
It means these groups will find it easier to qualify via the Express Entry System, the immigration tool used to select the most qualified out of those interested in moving here.
The changes – which see relatively more points awarded to candidates in certain selected professions over those qualified in other areas – came into effect on Saturday, November 19 2016.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s next Express Entry Draw will be watched with a keen eye for changes in the required points threshold and number of new immigrants issued with Invitations to Apply (ITAs).
At the same time, the federal government has also outlined a new fast-track visa specifically for technology talent, something the business community has been yearning for since the Liberals came to power in 2015.
Canadian technology giants Shopify and Hootsuite were among those lining up to praise the government’s initiative, which comes after hearing months of feedback saying the current system was inadequate.
The new plan is to allow companies that qualify to get visas and work permits approved inside two weeks as standard – under the current system the minimum processing time is six months.
Planned changes will also see the creation of a 30-day work permit that can be spread across a year, meaning companies can bring in workers for short stints without the need to apply for new paperwork each time.
The firms say they too often lose important hires to competitors in other countries because of the drawn-out process for obtaining a visa. Some have moved to employ talent from overseas to circumnavigate the visa issue.
The issue centres around the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a tool designed to assess if a Canadian is available to fill the required position.
Under the new rules, companies will be able to qualify for the fast-track visa by proving they need highly-qualified foreign talent for investments, to create jobs or to transfer knowledge to Canadians. Multinationals making big investments will also be able to access the new system.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
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