In response to a shortage of global talent in Canada, the government has moved to reduce the processing time for skilled foreign worker visas to two weeks. The government’s decision has been welcomed by the country’s tech industry, which they see as improving Canada’s competitiveness by making it easier to recruit top foreign talent on Canadian visas.
Bill Morneau, Canada’s finance minister, announced the new policy as part of an economic update. He said: “Ottawa will reduce the processing time for visas and work permits to two weeks, a drop from the many months it takes now.”
The scheme, which is aimed at high-growth businesses, will also feature a temporary work permit that will enable foreign workers to work in Canada for 30 days a year. It’s expected that the new initiative will begin in early 2017.
Employing overseas nationals on Canadian Visas creates Labour market benefits
Under the terms of the scheme, companies will be required to demonstrate how recruiting foreign talent on Canadian work visas will lead to labour market benefits like investment, training and Canadian job creation for Canadian companies and global corporations investing large amounts of money in Canada.
Alexandra Clark, the head of government relations at one of Canada’s biggest tech industry success stories, Shopify said: “One of the big things that this now creates is certainty. This is a direct response of this government hearing from Canadian companies that labour and access to talent has been a major barrier for us to be competitive.”
According to sources, the Canadian government has identified the tech industry as a way of attracting investment and jobs that could lead the economy out of a ‘slow growth environment.’
It’s long been known that failure to attract the necessary talent stifles tech companies to scale up their businesses and they argue that access to global talent is key to taking their companies to the next level.
CEO of Cambridge-based cybersecurity company eSentire, J. Paul Haynes, said: “This has been a conversation for 10 years and we’re just so happy the government is acting. The changes make Canada one of the most accommodating countries in the world for foreign tech talent.”