Local tech companies will benefit from new fast-track visa program

The two-year pilot program will allow companies, like the tech firms here in Waterloo region, to bring international talent into the country more quickly than ever before.

Companies can now have international talent enter the country within 10 days

Companies, including tech firms, can bring in high-skilled international workers more easily under a new program from the federal government. (CBC News)

Companies in Waterloo region will have an easier time hiring foreign talent as the federal government rolled out a global skills fast-track visa program on Monday.

The two-year pilot program, is part of the Global Skills Strategy, will allow companies to bring international talent into the country in as little as ten days, as opposed to the months it previously took to arrange visas.

"This is really a key part of our growth agenda, a key part of the government agenda to help companies grow and create more Canadian jobs," Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains told CBC's The Morning Edition Craig Norris on Tuesday.

Need to bring international talent

Inga Wehrmann, the human resources manager for Clearpath Robotics in Kitchener, said many companies in the area face the challenge of bringing in high-skilled international workers to fill positions they can't find locally.

"As rapidly growing organizations in the tech space, we need to be able to hire quickly to maintain our competitiveness," she said.

"A lot of our projects depend on bringing in those skill sets. The longer it takes for us to bring in those skill sets the more it impacts our own projects."

She is hopeful this program will help meet their hiring needs. 

Bains said there is no cap in how often a company can apply for the global skills visa program. Start-ups can also take advantage of the program.

As companies grow, there will be more potential to create more jobs for Canadians, according to Bains.

"These individuals come and help the company grow and transfer knowledge to Canadians," said Bains. "The objective is that these are specialized, high-in-demand skills that Canadians can learn and benefit from."

After the two-year pilot project, Bains said that they will evaluate the program and proceed with it if government feels like it was a success.