Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Amazon plans to double its tech staff in Vancouver

Reuters, VANCOUVER

Amazon.com Inc on Friday said it would open a second corporate office in Vancouver, doubling its staff in the western Canadian city by early 2020 as it looks to tap into a burgeoning local tech workforce.

The Seattle-based company said the Vancouver expansion has been in the works for some time and is not related to the hotly contested race by cities across North America to land the e-commerce company’s US$5 billion “HQ2.”

“These will be largely software engineering, tech and non-tech jobs, and they’ll be contributing to products that are used globally,” Vancouver office general manager Jesse Dougherty told reporters.

The expansion comes as companies in the US have struggled to secure visas in a timely fashion to import foreign workers to fill highly skilled and technical jobs.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has made it tougher for skilled foreigners to work in the US, challenging visa applications more regularly than under former president Barack Obama.

Amazon officials did not answer questions on whether the new office was in response to difficulties bringing foreign talent to its US offices.

“Amazon likes to hire the smartest people we can find, and so Vancouver certainly is a place where we like to get that growth,” Dougherty said.

Canada launched a fast-track visa program for highly skilled workers in June, as it seeks to take advantage of a tougher immigration environment in the US.

The expansion would see Amazon double its workforce in Vancouver to 2,000 by early 2020. The company currently employs about 4,400 people full time in Canada. Amazon employs more than 380,000 globally, with around 150,000 working outside the US.

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