Alberta looking to attract tech talent with new immigration program

Alberta is creating a new tech-focused immigration policy with the hope it will make attracting talent to the booming industry a little easier. 

The province says the Accelerated Tech Pathway will provide a fast track to permanent residence for skilled tech workers who want to move to Alberta. 

Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Doug Schweitzer says it comes as technology companies — many of them relatively new and quickly growing — search for talent amidst a small pool of trained professionals. 

“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 Thursday.

“It will also ensure Alberta continues to be a top destination for tech investment, which helps diversify our economy.”

The province is now home to more than 3,000 tech companies, according to a study done by the Alberta Enterprise Corporation (AEC), compared to just 1,238 companies in 2018, and AEC’s data shows startups are pouring into the province and expanding.

The date shows that between 2018 and 2020, the number of companies with 25 or more employees increased from 13 per cent to 25 per cent. 

But that boom has come with its issues. 

Software developers are in high demand, and now that working from home is no longer an exclusive ‘tech perk,’ companies are having to impress talent in new ways. 

“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.”

The provincial government says Alberta’s new Accelerated Tech Pathway will allow professionals from across Canada and overseas with a job offer in Alberta to be fast-tracked, getting them to permanent residence sooner.

It’s part of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, a federal-provincial program that nominates individuals for permanent residence in Alberta if they have skills to fill job shortages or are planning to buy or start a business in Alberta.

The incoming influx of openings is also leading to some of Alberta’s post secondary schools revamping curriculum to make sure young talent can enter the workforce. 

SAIT is one of the facilities capitalizing on the opportunity, offering upgrading courses in its new School for Advanced Digital Technology.

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