(Toronto) Ottawa wants to attract more tech talent to Canada and is expanding pathways for tech workers to enter the country.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser unveiled Canada’s Tech Talent strategy, which includes a new pathway for permanent residents targeting employees and workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“There is no question that we are in a global race for the same pool of talent with competitors all over the world,” he said Tuesday at the Collegiate Technology Conference in Toronto.
He added, “In my opinion, Canada is winning this race, but I think we can win it by a bigger margin.”
To achieve this, the minister believes the government must review the way it prioritizes start-up visa applications, after allocating more places there for 2023.
The new approach also extends the duration of work permits granted to entrepreneurs under the programme.
Candidates can apply for a three-year open-ended work permit instead of a one-year permit limited to owning a startup, and the permit will be available to every member of the entrepreneurship team and “not just the core people.” Come to Canada urgently.”
“For those in line, we have good news,” Minister Fraser said. We will also issue three-year open work permits for them and their families to remain in Canada while they complete their applications. »
An increase in the number of places in the startup visa program is planned for 2024 and 2025, and the government is prioritizing applications backed by venture capital, angel investor groups and business incubators.
As part of the changes announced by Mr. Fraser, the government is creating a work permit stream open to H-1B visa holders in the United States to work in Canada, and developing an innovation stream under the International Mobility Program to attract talent.
Fraser said the government has also addressed delays in tackling the pandemic to its global skills strategy, promising to process work permits in just two weeks.
The latest part of the project is a digital nomad strategy that will allow people who work for foreign companies to stay in Canada for up to six months – and if they receive a job offer while they’re in Canada, the government will allow them to stay and work here,” said Minister Fraser.
Long term vision
These moves come at a time when a wave of layoffs has hit the technology sector after the abundance of investors in this sector has diminished. This happened when consumers returned to their pre-pandemic habits, which led to lower ratings.
Big companies like Meta, Amazon, Google, and Shopify have made cuts, along with Wealthsimple, Clearco, Clutch, and Ritual.
The layoffs.fyi aggregator counted 210,871 people laid off worldwide at 800 tech companies so far this year. It counted 164,709 reductions, compared to 1,058 last year.
When asked why the government would ease immigration pathways when so many workers lost their jobs, Fraser said it was because Ottawa was taking a long-term approach.
“There is no doubt in my mind that having more talented entrepreneurs and tech professionals in this country will be a very good thing half a generation from now,” he said at a news conference.
“On the other hand, if we choose not to seize the opportunity presented by this moment, we will miss what could be a generational opportunity to pursue economic growth in a sector of strategic importance to Canada,” he added.
The minister added that when he talks to people in the immigration sector, the main challenge they pose is finding the talent needed to help their business grow.
If Canada paves the way for future workers, Fraser said it can build a workforce with professionals, including those laid off, who can move laterally to fill jobs and encourage others to go to the country.
“We will actually create a talent pool that will pave the way for more companies to come to Canada in the long run,” he said.
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