• David Campbell

Toronto gearing up to become the largest tech talent hub in North America

With the Trump administration tightening immigration rules, most tech firms are making a beeline to Canada. Despite the highly skilled tech workers acute need in the U.S., the noose has been tightening with criteria getting more stringent and unwelcoming. Many big companies have already started making a move to Canada. Amazon has posted about 20 job vacancies in Toronto in the last couple of weeks. One of the biggest tech giants, Microsoft plans to open its new headquarter in Toronto by September 2020, and expecting to add about 500 full-time jobs and 500 internships.

According to a recent study conducted by Envoy Global, about two-third (65%) of companies that participated in the survey said they prefer Canadian Immigration policies over those in the U.S. and importing the workers there is much more effective. Hence, to avoid the processing delays and inconsistent judgment the tech professionals are now moving away from the United States.

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) of Canada is the fastest way for employers to bring their new hires to Canada. Established in 2017, the GTS allows certain high-skilled workers to get a work permit in as less as 2 weeks of applying. More than 24,000 skilled workers have migrated to Canada under the GTS program in the last 2 years. While the GTS requires Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), there are a few other work permit programs that allow the employers to skip the LMIA process. Multinational companies can apply for Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit to send their current employees to their Canada office. They may also opt for NAFTA Professionals Work Permit stream if the employee meets the eligibility criteria and falls under an eligible occupation.

Ontario, one of the 13 provinces of Canada is opening doors for skilled workers to settle in Toronto through one of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). The Human Capital Priorities Stream leverages the Express Entry to invite candidates for Canadian permanent residence through provincial nomination draws. The OINP conducted a tech draw on August 1 and issued 1,773 invitations. The second draw took place on August 15 which invited 997 candidates to apply for provincial nomination.

Canada’s ultra-fast visa processing and welcoming visa policies are attracting major tech firms to make a shift to Canada to fulfill the foreign skilled worker needs.

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