The Canadian government has pledged to speed up immigration processing times for skilled workers hoping to join technology firms in the country.
“We have all heard too many horror stories of agile cnompanies facing challenges when trying to bring in bright new employees to support business growth and opportunities,” said Small Business Minister Bardish Chagger as the government launched a new innovation strategy yesterday. “Highly skilled workers, researchers and entrepreneurs should be welcomed in Canada in higher volumes and at a faster rate than other OECD countries.”
Through the Express Entry immigration programme, launched at the start of 2015, the government aims to process visa application from the most in-demand migrants within six months. While the government says it hit its six-month target 80 per cent of the time last year, Immigration Minister John McCallum, speaking at a separate event yesterday, admitted that for many firms six months is still not quick enough.
“Their idea of a quick [immigration] processing time is more like six days rather than six months,” he said. “Six days would be a stretch. But at the same time… 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 option the government might consider, Minister McCallum indicated, was dropping the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement for tech firms. “We are generally on the lookout for ways to make our programmes more effective in attracting people to Canada rather than having them go elsewhere,” he said.
An LMIA is required by all Canadian employers who wish to hire foreign workers to prove they have been unable to find Canadians to do the job.
Article by David Fuller