New immigration pathways needed to attract tech talent - New Canadian Media
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New immigration pathways needed to attract tech talent

A new study calls on Immigration Canada to introduce special visas and a "nomad strategy" to attract global tech talent.

Canada’s growth in the digital economy at large will trigger demand for an additional 250,000 jobs next year and the current workforce is not positioned to meet this demand.

In a report calling for new immigration pathways for tech talent, the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) now estimates that by the end of 2025, employment in the digital economy will reach 2.26 million or roughly 11 per cent of all employment in Canada.

“Canada’s current workforce is not positioned to meet this demand. Right now, there are hundreds of domestic companies commercializing innovative new products and services, and they are all desperate for highly skilled talent,” said the report.

Recommendations to enhance immigration pathways

The Council’s Talent & Skills Strategy report contains 13 key recommendations for federal and provincial labour, training, and economic development ministries, and agencies to address the issue.

The foreign talent-related recommendations include;

  • Introduce a High Potential Tech Visa, to give the most in-demand professionals a path to Canada without a job offer in hand.
  • Launch a Digital Nomad Strategy to make Canada a destination for the growing ranks of remote workers.
  • Review and revise the National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes more regularly to better reflect the shifting nature of technology jobs in Canada.
  • Ease pathways to permanent residency within the Global Talent Stream visa program.
  • Expand the recognition of international and alternative credentials for Canadian visa applicants.
  • Enhance the Global Skills Strategy immigration program with a targeted 48-hour visa processing time.

Several other studies recently also mirrored the CCI findings.

According to data from Salesforce Research in its Global Digital Skills Index 2022 report, 86 per cent of Canadians say they are not prepared to meet the digital skill requirements of the future. 

A poll conducted by KPMG revealed that 80 per cent of the businesses surveyed say they need more workers with digital skills and two-thirds of them are having trouble finding and hiring needed talent.

Provinces like Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have now implemented special pathways to attract foreign tech talent through the provincial immigration nominee programs.

Late last month, Meta  announced the creation of a new Canadian engineering hub, to be based in Toronto, and plans to hire up to 2,500 employees for remote and in-office positions across Canada over the next five years. 

Many of the roles in Canada will be engineering focused and are expected to span across building extended reality experiences and Meta technologies.

“This major investment builds on Meta’s long-term commitment to our province and is a strong vote of confidence in our skilled and diverse workforce,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “It sends a clear signal to the rest of the world that Ontario is, once again, the best place anywhere to do business.”

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A multiple-award winning journalist, Fabian Dawson is an internationally acclaimed author, filmmaker and media expert. His work over the last four decades spans the globe and he also serves as a consultant/strategic advisor to a variety of international companies. As deputy editor-in-chief of The Province, part of the Postmedia chain, Dawson led initiatives within a special publications group to provide directed content for a variety of organisations. He was named the 2019 recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at Jack Webster Awards. Dawson has been invited by the governments of India, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and the United States to act as a media observer/advisor on a variety of Asian-Canada issues. Dawson, now operates FD Media, which specializes in harnessing editorial assets to revenue generating opportunities.

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