Saturday, July 14, 2007

from acm: Growth in Canada software development predicted

Software Development, Eh? Canada Seeks Foreign Tech

Computerworld (07/11/07) Thibodeau, Patrick

Canada is quickly becoming the next place to develop software thanks to the absence of a H-1B visa cap, an immigration system that favors tech workers, an exchange rate that puts the Canadian dollar almost even with the American dollar, and an endorsement from Microsoft. Microsoft recently announced it will open a software development center in Vancouver, evidence that Canada's efforts to expand its economy are working. The Canadian
government has specific programs designed to attract high-tech workers with
certain skills. The process can take between two to eight weeks, according to immigration attorney Evan Green. Green says if a company needs a worker with specific skills, education, and work experience, and will be paid a salary equal to what a Canadian would earn, a foreigner can get a work permit. Unlike the United State's H-1B visa program, there is no numerical limit on the number of foreign workers entering Canada. Microsoft says it decided to open the Vancouver facility partially to "recruit and retain
highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S." Canadian consultant John O'Grady says notes that Canadian high-tech workers can be paid as much as 20 percent less than what U.S. workers are paid. Paul Swinwood, president of the Information and Communications Technology Council in Ottawa, estimates that there are about 620,000 high-tech workers in Canada. He says the number of available jobs is expected to increase by about 100,000 over the next few years, but Canadian schools will produce only about 15,000 students with the necessary skills. Swinwood says an employee brought into the country on a temporary bases can usually get
permanent residency.

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