Overseas Developers Coming to Canada

By: Ashley Viens, Corporate Relations, Ascension Innovation Management

Where have all the developers gone?

A wave of overseas talent has found its way to Canadian shores following the strict travel and immigration bans from U.S. President Trump, and B.C. employers are welcoming the increased access to a skilled workforce with open arms.

Based on projections in the tech industry, the Canadian government is aiming to fill over 200,000 IT positions by 2021; more than 20,000 of those new jobs will be filled in B.C. alone. By 2019, over 15,000 of those positions will be in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, almost 2,000 in Victoria, and over 3,500 throughout the rest of B.C.

Because of a shortage of skilled and qualified talent in Canada, many employers are looking outside our borders to hire people they so desperately need to maintain an edge in this competitive and growing technology industry.

The report released in April 2017 that outlines the nearly 216,000 IT and tech jobs to be filled states, “Much of the rising demand for tech professionals is attributed to transformative and rapid advancements of technology,” such as AR/VR, AI, and blockchain.

Over 150 Canadian tech leaders recently signed an open letter that outlines their priority on hiring diverse and skilled workers in their workplaces. An excerpt reads: “Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world.”

In our own company, we’ve seen the impact of this lack of skilled talent first hand. Our team specializes in managing software systems for small to medium sized businesses, many in the Lower Mainland, and we have discovered there is a significant shortage of developers who have experience with enterprise software.

“Some of our industry’s top players have thousands of developers with over a decade of Salesforce experience, but they are under pressure to migrate the client support to North America,” says Matthew Unger, CEO of Ascension Innovation Management. “One of our competitors, with eight of North America’s top banks as clients, saw every one of their 150 U.S. working visa applications denied after the recent change in U.S. leadership. We are now working together to bring those already established incomes from India to Canada instead of the United States.”

Two of Vancouver’s powerhouse businessmen, Shafin Diamond Tejani and Ray Walia, are also working diligently to bring more Indian developers to Canada. “This provides a great opportunity for the best talent from India to come, live and work in Canada,” Shafin told the Economic Times.

While political tensions and hiring frictions increase south of the border, many Canadian companies, including technology startups like Ascension, have an exciting opportunity to win over this talent and increase their competitive advantage over much larger, more established U.S. competitors.

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