World News – CA – Trudeau’s Fast Track for Tech Workers Passes Pandemic Dam


Approvals now take months, a far cry from the speedy processing – as little as two weeks – that made the visa popular with the tech industry

Justin Trudeau’s fast-track visa program gave Canada an edge over the US in the global talent race The pandemic is eroding it, leaving some tech startups and their recruits in limbo

The visa has been used to accelerate the arrival of thousands of software engineers, computer programmers and other professionals since 2017 But the number of people entering Canada this year under the Global Skills Strategy program has declined by 49% through August, according to data obtained by Bloomberg Government says it is committed to immigration, but recognizes COVID-19 has caused delays

Approvals now take months, away from the swift processing – as little as two weeks – that made the visa popular with the tech industry, according to companies with pending applications The situation is of particular concern for Canadian startups, which cannot compete on the salaries of global tech giants, but could at least rely on swift immigration procedures to help them recruit staff.

Higher immigration is a hallmark policy of the Trudeau government, which has made welcoming foreigners a cornerstone of Canada’s long-term economic plan In contrast to the US, which makes it increasingly difficult to obtain visas for jobs, Canada touted an open-arms approach to skilled labor, hoping to offset years of brain drain to Silicon Valley

Before the pandemic, Canada planned to welcome 351,000 new permanent residents in 2021, the most in a century and almost 1% of the current population Now Canada will seek to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents in the year Between 2021 and 2023, the objective is to admit an increase of 12 million new permanent residents

EnPowered Inc, a company in Kitchener, Ont., which provides technology to help users control their electricity costs, is an affected startup It waited until most of 2020 to get a work visa for a developer in Nigeria Approval of South African cloud engineer is also pending

« If we can’t get them into Canada, it fundamentally changes how our whole business operates, » said CEO Tomas van Stee. « It poses challenges for the whole team »

EnPowered has found the visa program « phenomenal » in the past, said van Stee, who sees it as one of the main reasons for staying in Canada The company tries to recruit locally as much as possible, but is expanding the search abroad for management positions requiring rare and very specific developer skills, he said

His case is not isolated The Canadian Innovators Council, a technology industry group that plays a lead role in the program, said it has been hearing from affected members since March

« Any delay in immigration has an impact on the potential growth of Canadian businesses, which is why the accelerated visa under the Global Skills Strategy was such an important policy » for start-ups, said the executive director Ben Bergen

Businesses of all sizes benefited, including Canadian outposts of foreign companies French video game publisher Ubisoft Entertainment SA, Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify Inc and Royal Bank of Canada were among the employers who were granted permission to hire foreign workers in the second quarter, a first step in some cases to qualify for prompt processing

While not immune to the pandemic, Canada’s digital economy has been more shielded from its impact than most, according to the Information Technology Council and communications, an Ottawa-based research and policy group From early 2020 to late 2022, this will create 102,000 jobs, council forecasts

Foreign workers want to participate in this growth, according to Ilya Brotzky, CEO of VanHack, an online recruitment platform for Vancouver-based tech workers

About 80% of the jobs on the platform are in Canada Applications are almost six times higher than January levels, Brotzky said But work permits, which VanHack is also helping, are slowly coming in Clearance from government authorities work and immigration took four to six weeks It’s now been four to six months or more, he says

« We used to get them approved quickly Now we don’t really have a timeline, we just submit it and hope it gets approved, » he said « Canada loses tax revenue and economic stimulus »

The government continued to process applications for permanent and temporary immigration during the pandemic, although deadlines were delayed as some application centers temporarily closed, according to Alexander Cohen, spokesperson for the minister of the ‘Immigration Marco Mendicino

Service priorities changed due to virus Immigration officers focused on applicants who worked in essential services and streamlined visa procedures for workers already in Canada who lost their jobs and in have found a new Permits under the Global Skills Program, while also being a priority, may take longer than before, Cohen said

« We will continue to welcome newcomers, who bring the skills our economy needs to recover and grow, » Cohen said

Permanent resident admissions in the first eight months of the year reached 128,430, or about 38% of 2020 targets, while the number of student visas in August was only 36% of the level of the ‘last year

Myant Inc, a Toronto-based company that has developed technology to knit sensors into textiles and use clothing to monitor people’s health, has been caught in the crisis

It was difficult to find programmers who also have textile background, and the company recruited several employees from Bangladesh, India and the U.It’s relatively painless in the past This time bringing in an Italian knit technician and programmer has proven more difficult, said executive vice president Ilaria Varoli

« We started this process to get him a visa in June, we were literally expecting a few weeks, » she said. He finally arrived in October

Because Myant makes a physical product, it was difficult for his new recruit to fully contribute from afar.But as more tech companies say they will let their employees work remotely, the country in which they are based may become less relevant, reducing Canada’s visa advantage

The new deal will intensify global competition for the best workers, according to Jean Le Bouthillier, CEO of Qohash Inc, based in Quebec City, which sells data protection technologies to companies like banks

Le Bouthillier experienced it Two candidates he recently interviewed ended up accepting higher paid offers from US based companies, without having to leave Canada “We all understand that a major change has taken place. produced in the world « , he declared » This will have consequences for workers and wages « 

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Immigration, Canada, Marco Mendicino, Justin Trudeau

News from the world – CA – Trudeau’s fast lane for tech workers crosses pandemic dam



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