The 2019 budget includes a significant change to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program that will create a “dedicated stream to help Ontario’s technology sector attract highly skilled employees” who would be nominated for permanent residency.
According to media reports, a persistent shortage of tech workers is hurting the industry and the only way to alleviate this crushing shortage is to bring in tech workers as permanent residents.
The province cited a report from the Information and Communications Technology Council, which says Canada will be short nearly 220,000 skilled workers by 2021.
But some question the numbers. Meanwhile there are reports stating that the federal government is demanding its money back after Waterloo smart eyewear start-up North laid off its workers.
Layoffs in the tech industry is almost routine and happens quite frequently so it tends to raise questions as to whether there is a shortage given that at some time or the other, there are tech workers who’ve lost jobs and are looking for jobs.
According to the 2016 census, job vacancies in the high tech sector are higher than at the provincial aggregate level, which would support this type of government initiative.
More recent Statistics Canada data on job vacancies provincially and locally in Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie show a slight upward trend in provincial vacancies from 2015-2018 — but no explosion in demand, particularly in the local market. The number of job vacancies hasn’t meant significant wage growth over the same three year period, and that’s difficult for labour economists to explain.
When a labour market is full of workers, prospective employees will compete for jobs by offering to work for less.
Some experts in the field caution that the government should pay close attention to how well immigrants arriving through this program are adjusting.
Otherwise it is easy for the program to be misused by entrepreneurs and other businessmen to simply use permanent residency as a bait to bring in cheap techies from places such as India rather than recruit local talent at good wages. -CINEWS