Amazon has announced plans to expand its presence in Vancouver, in a move that will create an additional 3,000 jobs in the city, specifically in high-tech fields like e-commerce learning, cloud computing and machine learning.
“Vancouver is home to an incredibly talented and diverse workforce and these thousands of new employees will invent on behalf of our customers worldwide. Thank you to Prime Minister Trudeau, Mayor Robertson and all our partners across Vancouver and Canada,” said Alexandre Gagnon, Vice President of Amazon Canada and Mexico, in a press release.
Amazon’s expansion in Vancouver is separate from the company’s search for a second headquarters. Toronto is in fact the only Canadian city that made that shortlist — Amazon will pick a location later this year.
“Today’s announcement is proof that Canada is the right place to shape innovation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared at an event in Amazon’s Vancouver Tech Hub this morning to announce the expansion.
Last June, the Canadian government launched the Global Skills Strategy, an immigration program designed to make it easier for high-skilled foreign tech workers to obtain work visas in Canada. The program significantly cuts the amount of time that a foreign applicant will need to get a visa, from months to as little as two weeks.
This stands in sharp contrast to immigration policies south of the border, which have become increasingly unwelcoming to foreign applicants under the Trump administration.
Industry experts predict that Trump's immigration policies could in fact weigh in heavily when Silicon Valley giants think about where to expand their operations. According to a recent study by the job search website Indeed, the average U.S.-based job seeker sends 12 percent of their applications to Canadian employers but that in the last few months of 2017, that number surged to 30 percent specifically among tech industry workers.
Amazon currently employs 2,000 people in Vancouver. The new headquarters will be located at Vancouver’s old Canada Post headquarters at 349 West Georgia Street, and is expected to open in 2022.