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Tech workers heading to Canada

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

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Dear Mr Brown,

I work in the information technology industry. I have heard about the growing information technology industry in Canada and am wondering if I can obtain a job there.

— JC

Dear JC:

The normal trend regarding the brightest minds in technology leaving for Silicon Valley has changed in recent times, according to a recent survey which revealed that many job applicants have been heading to Canada instead.

According to the survey, which was sent to 42 Canadian, high-growth technology firms, 62 per cent of respondents have noticed a significant increase in job applications from the United States.

For example, Ottawa-based e-commerce platform Shopify Inc reported receiving 40 per cent more applications from the US in the first quarter of 2017 than it did during an average quarter in 2016.

The Canadian technology industry has been marketing itself as a friendlier alternative for immigrants, in response to the policies of the Donald Trump Administration. Many immigrants feel unwelcome in the US given Trump's public statements and policy stance.

In January 2017, 150 people from Canada's leading tech companies and accelerators published an open letter denouncing an executive order from Trump barring travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Trump has also pledged to restrict a special American visa programme known as H-1B that allows foreigners to work or run businesses in the US, and is heavily used by the tech industry.

In addition to the increase in applicants, observers have noticed:

• An increase in general investors;

• An increase in venture capitalist making trips to Canada;

• Technology workers looking for economic opportunity and social stability for their work environment, and to raise their families.

• A general sense of momentum in the Canadian technology industry, amidst the political concerns in the US.

Canada's Global Talent Stream (GTS)

Canada makes it easier for Canadian companies to recruit and retain global talent. The programme is assessed based on merit, according to stipulated requirements.

The GTS, which forms part of the Government's Global Skills Strategy, has two categories regarding eligibility for the GTS, namely:

• Category A, which covers high-growth companies with a demonstrated need for unique talent to scale up and grow; and

• Category B, which covers companies with a demonstrated need for highly skilled foreign nationals for occupations found on a skills shortage list.

The list contains several occupations in the technology industry.

Eligible employers will benefit from expedited processing times for certain Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt work permits as well as a new LMIA programme, with quicker processing times in days instead of months. After the LMIA application is approved, the work permit application process should take 10 business days.

In response to your question, although it is possible to obtain a job offer, I am not sure of the probability of obtaining one, as there are many candidates already in Canada with open work permits who have studied in Canada.

Please visit JAMAICA2CANADA.COM for additional information on Canadian Permanent Residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to jamaica2canada@gmail.com

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