Alberta announces plans to fast-track visas for foreigners hired into province’s tech industry

The Alberta government is getting behind tech companies trying to recruit international talent to the growing sector that is struggling to fill positions.

On Thursday, the province announced The Accelerated Tech Pathway through the Alberta Immigration Nominee program. The focus is to fast-track visas for highly-skilled foreign tech workers.

“Under this new pathway, tech professionals across Canada and overseas can be permanent residents in as early as six months if they have a job offer in an in-demand tech occupation,”
said Labour Minister Tyler Shandro.

READ MORE: ‘We just can’t keep pace’: Does Calgary have a shortage of tech talent?

Shandro said Alberta can nominate 6,250 people for permanent residence, but it’s unclear how many of those would be in the tech sector.

The program can’t come soon enough for Calgary-based Vog App Developers. It currently has up to 30 positions open.

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“The current situation we have with a lot of developers is they get tied up in the Canadian immigration system,” said CEO Vince O’Gorman.

READ MORE: How immigrants contribute to Alberta’s economic prosperity

“One of of our developers has been through that program for almost two years now, so if the government can fast-track that — and the support of the Alberta government — it’s definitely going to help the tech industry here.”

It’s a common story. Software engineer Victor Alencar lives in Brazil but accepted a job with Mobsquad in Calgary. The father of soon-to-be-two children is relieved there may be more assurance of staying longer term.

READ MORE: Alberta government must invest in tech sector now: Edmonton Global

“I think one of the fears of moving to a new country is knowing if you can stay without worrying about your visa status,” Alencar said. “Knowing the application is becoming easier, that helps a lot for sure.”

His baby daughter is due any day now. The family hopes to move to Calgary in April if all the paperwork comes through.

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