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

Alberta’s government is falling behind tech companies trying to hire international talent in a growing sector struggling to fill positions.

The province on Thursday announced the accelerated technology pathway through Alberta’s Immigration Nominee Program. The focus is on fast-track visas for highly skilled foreign technology workers.

“Under this new pathway, tech professionals across Canada and beyond can become permanent residents up to six months early if they have a job offer in a sought-after tech career,”
Labor Secretary Tyler Chandro said.

Read more: ‘We can’t keep up’: Is Calgary short of tech talent?

Chandro said Alberta could nominate 6,250 people for permanent residence, but it was unclear how many of those would be in the tech sector.

The software can’t come soon enough for Vog app developers in Calgary. It currently has up to 30 positions open.

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“The current situation we’re having with a lot of developers is that they’re restricted in the Canadian immigration system,” said CEO Vince O’Gorman.

Read more: How immigrants contribute to Alberta’s economic prosperity

“One of our developers has been through this program for nearly two years now, so if the government can expedite that – and support the Alberta government – it will certainly help the tech industry here.”

It is a common story. Software engineer Victor Alencar lives in Brazil but has accepted a job at Mobsquad in Calgary. The parent of a two-child is relieved that there may be more emphasis on staying longer.

Read more: Alberta government should invest in the tech sector now: Edmonton Global

“I think one of the concerns of moving to a new country is to see if you can stay without worrying about visa status,” Alencar said. “Learning about the app just got easier, and that definitely helps a lot.”

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

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