June marks the launch of the Canadian government’s new and improved innovation strategy which aims to speed up the immigration process for foreign skilled workers joining fast-growing technology firms.
Specific details are yet to be announced but it has been confirmed that waiting times will be significantly cut for these foreign workers. In a typical immigration process, candidates usually have to wait 6+ months but it has been established that, in the fast paced industry of technology, time is of the essence and thus needed to be reduced. Many employers have, in fact, claimed that the government delays hinder their economic and professional growth by preventing them to recruit foreign workers and candidates outside Canada for these skilled positions.
John McCallum, Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has recognized these claims and acknowledged that even though 80% of the last year’s applications were processed in 6 months, the tech industry may need an even smaller time bracket. He further stated; “we want to open our doors to the best and the brightest…so, obviously, I will be working very hard to try to accommodate their needs as best I can.”
One of the major causes of delay is the federal government’s Express Entry immigration selection system requirement for a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Under this requirement, Canadian employers are meant to prove that they are unable to find a Canadian with the necessary skills to fill the position before advertising the position for foreign workers.
The advantage of this system is that it alleviates the threat of being exposed for cheaper labour from Canadian employers looking to cut corners but at the same time, the skills and talent needed from new recruits are generally found outside Canada. A six month waiting period is therefore too long to wait as it may allow international competitors to get ahead during that time.
McCallum went on to state the following: “We are generally on the lookout for ways…to make our programs more effective in attracting people to Canada rather than having them go elsewhere,” and as such, has committed himself to reducing wait the waiting period for foreign workers joining the tech industry.