Visa Crunch

Alberta Aims At Launching New Immigration Program To Attract Tech Talent

Alberta is currently developing an immigration policy that aims to focus on tech talent in the hopes of making it simpler to attract talent to the expanding industry.

According to the province, the Accelerated Tech Pathway will enable skilled tech employees who desire to relocate to Alberta with a faster path to permanent residence. The Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, Doug Schweitzer, says it comes as technological businesses, many of which are fairly recent and rapidly developing, look for talent among a tiny pool of skilled personnel.

“This accelerated immigration pathway will help attract the best and the brightest talent from across the globe to Alberta to meet this growing demand,” Schweitzer said on January 13. “It will also ensure Alberta continues to be a top destination for tech investment, which helps diversify our economy.”

According to research conducted by the Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC), the province now has more than 3,000 tech firms, up from 1,238 in 2018, and AEC data suggests that startups are flowing into the province and increasing.

According to the data, the number of enterprises with 25 or more employees climbed from 13% to 25% between 2018 and 2020. However, the boom has not been without its drawbacks. Software engineers are in high demand, and since working from home is no longer an exclusive ‘tech benefit,’ firms must find new methods to wow talent.

“It has been absolutely bonkers,” TalentMarketplace founder and recruiter Qaid Jivan told CTV News in August. “There are people who are getting multiple offers who normally wouldn’t be getting one.”

According to the provincial government, Alberta’s new Accelerated Tech Pathway will allow professionals from throughout Canada and abroad with a work offer in Alberta to be fast-tracked, allowing them to obtain permanent residence sooner.

It is part of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Initiative, a federal-provincial program that nominates persons for permanent residency in Alberta if they have skills to fill job shortages or want to buy or start a business in the province.

The rush of opportunities is also prompting several of Alberta’s postsecondary schools to revise their coursework to ensure that young talent can enter the industry. SAIT has been one of the facilities taking advantage of the opportunity, with its new School for Advanced Digital Technology offering upgrading courses.

To apply, job applicants must first go through the process of starting an express entry profile with the Government of Canada, as with other express immigration routes in Alberta. Candidates then submit this information, as well as their employment or job offer from an Alberta tech business, to the Alberta government online.

After provincial officials review the material, prospective candidates will receive an email encouraging them to apply to Alberta’s expedited program. Through its numerous immigration programs, the Alberta government has the authority to nominate up to 6,250 people.

NDP Labour critic, Christina Gray, criticized the current government in a statement on Thursday (January 13) for cancelling an NDP program announced in 2018 that sought to provide 3,000 technology-related post-secondary positions over five years.

Alberta, like the rest of the world, is suffering from a labour shortage, notably in North America. The new program, according to Irfhan Rawji, founder and CEO of Calgary-based MobSquad, will make Alberta the easiest area in the country to bring technology specialists.

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