Canada’s move to make it easier for technology companies to bring in sought-after skilled workers could not be better timed given what is happening across the border.
With a wave of uncertainty spread across the U.S. following Donald Trump’s shock election victory, industry experts see at the very least an initial short term benefit to Canada’s competitiveness in attracting top technology talent.
If Trump follows through on some of the anti-immigration rhetoric that was central to his victorious campaign, Canada’s competitive advantage could grow into something more long term.
But for now, the focus among the big technology firms here is to pick up some talent who are put off the U.S. by the prospect alone of a Trump presidency. Then there are those who may no longer qualify for U.S. immigration because of Trump’s plan to tighten the American borders.
Several Canadian technology companies have reported a surge in interest from Silicon Valley workers looking to make the move north since Trump surged to become the president-elect of the U.S.
Even better news is that Canada has just 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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