A two-year pilot program called Global Talent Stream helps fast-growing Canada-based tech companies hire people from other countries quickly and easily – a permanent resident visa and work permit can be approved in as little as two weeks.
North alone has hired 26 people from around the world, including China, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, among others.
“It has been a huge advantage we’ve had in Canada to be able to recruit these people, especially with south of the border (having a) more restrictive immigration policy,” said Stephen Lake, North’s chief executive officer. “It’s been a huge benefit when we are recruiting. We can say: ‘Look, we have a two week process now to get highly-skilled people into the country.’ It’s been tremendously successful.”
Talent must fit in one of two categories to qualify. The first covers sales, marketing and administrative jobs, and the second covers technical positions like software developers, designers and engineers. The program is limited mostly to those disciplines that fuel growth in tech – for example, local companies have used the Global Talent Stream for hiring data scientists, hologram engineers, experts in artificial intelligence and robotics.
Some voices – including Waterloo EDC CEO Tony LaMantia – would like to see the program broadened to include positions that can help advanced manufacturing companies grow.
“I would like to see the categories expanded,” said LaMantia. “Right now Global Talent Stream is limited to tech-centric, specialized disciplines with advanced degrees, but I think there is a broader need.”