Why Immigration is Essential for the BC Tech Industry

Date: July 12, 2017
Category: BC Tech Blog

Immigration has become a hot topic on both sides of the border since the election of Donald Trump. Unlike many industries, tech companies rely heavily on immigrant talent to help create, launch, and maintain the products and services they sell. According to the 2016 TechTalentBC report, one in three job vacancies at BC’s tech companies is filled by foreign talent.  Immigrants have been and will continue to be vital to the province’s tech industry and will play pivotal roles in BC becoming a top ten ecosystem worldwide.

The BC tech sector is facing a talent shortage. By 2021, it is estimated that 30,500 jobs will go unfilled if actions aren't taken to bring more talent to the industry. This lost opportunity will not only impact the tech industry's ability to grow but will also cause untold economic losses across the province.  In most cases, international talent is needed to fill mid to senior level roles.  These qualified candidates bring with them a wealth of experience and the leadership necessary to expand teams and create innovative solutions. They also help to level-up Canadian talent by sharing their knowledge and training local hires.

As the BC government continues to work with school districts and post-secondary institutions to increase the number of students pursuing careers in tech, immigrants will play an essential role in filling the talent gap and keeping our tech sector globally competitive. Without them, the province’s tech sector would grow at a much slower rate. The 2015 Startup Compass report cited Canada’s lack of employees with hands-on experience as the main reason why Canadian companies were scaling more slowly than their international counterparts.

Canada’s attitude towards open immigration and creating diverse population has also meant that many American tech companies are opening satellite offices locally. These offices are not only bringing some of the best talent from around the globe but also boost job growth locally. In the past couple of years, companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook have opened offices in the province creating hundreds of jobs. 

Over the past year the BC Tech Association has advocated to create a new immigration stream to help local companies bring talented individuals to Canada quicker.  As a result the federal government launched the Global Skills Strategy last month. The Strategy allows high-skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis to benefit from two-week application processing times for themselves and their families, and when necessary, temporary resident visas. It also has lifted the work permit requirement for highly-skilled workers and researchers who need to come to Canada for a very short-term projects

BC Tech is a designated Referral Partner to the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Learn more about how we can help your company expedite the entry of global, highly skilled talent.