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| 1 minute read

Southern Ontario Population Boom can benefit WNY Startups and Tech Companies

With populations rapidly growing in cities south of Toronto such as Hamilton, Niagara Falls, St. Catherines, Fort Erie, and Port Colborne, options for Western New York Startups and Tech Companies looking for highly skilled workers are better than ever.  This region presents a unique part of the WNY labor market that they have an opportunity to tap into.

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Canadians and Mexicans may be eligible to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals under the following conditions:

  • Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
  • Profession is on the NAFTA list;
  • Position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
  • Applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for an employer (see Required Documentation). Self employment is not permitted;
  • Applicant has the qualifications, meeting the specific requirements, education, and/or experience, of the profession.

With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. Some professions allow experience or experience plus a diploma to substitute for a degree. For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, see Appendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA Chapter 16.

According to the New York State Labor Department, WNY employers are seeking skilled workers in technical and business jobs, healthcare, computer and electronic production, and advanced manufacturing.

Population projections from a recent report by the Province of Ontario are staggering: By 2031, there will be an estimated 7 million people in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (the regions from Toronto to the Buffalo-Niagara border). Ontario's Niagara Region (includes Fort Erie, Port Coleborne, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls) is projected to grow 21% to 543,000 people. Hamilton is expected to have 680,000 by 2031.


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