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How this Canadian startup is disrupting the way people immigrate to Canada

Visto.ai is a tech platform that makes it easier to determine the most fitting immigration programs - by aggregating immigration requirements for more than 65 distinct immigration pathways to Canada.

Just as the global pandemic continues to rage on, shutting down borders and nearly stopping international travel, Canada has released an immigration report for 2019, citing more than 5.7 million immigrants admitted to Canada last year.

To put this in perspective — this amounts to 15% of the Canadian population — the number of people that crossed the border to study, work, or visit the country in 2019. 

Despite a gloomier outlook for 2020, the future still looks bright. Canada has traditionally relied on foreign talent to accelerate its economic growth and to offset the aging population. Canada vowed to attract 1.2mil of permanent residents over the next 3 years, to help close the gap between the supply and demand for skilled talent, reconnect families, and protect refugees. 

Yet, the immigration process remains quite overwhelming when it comes to identifying fitting immigration programs, collecting the required paperwork, and then awaiting the decision.

Canada has over 80 economic class pathways to immigration, which are meant for qualified persons with sufficient education and work experience to immigrate to Canada and obtain Permanent Residency (PR). 

This means that in addition to 15 Canada-wide immigration programs (such as Express Entry), each province has created a variety of its own programs called “Provincial Nomination Programs”, or PNPs, to attract immigrants that meet their own unique criteria.

All this makes it quite tedious to sift through all the immigration programs, to identify the one that best matches the applicant’s unique background.

Enter Visto Qualify, a tech platform that makes it easier to determine the most fitting immigration programs for an applicant. Visto aggregates immigration requirements for more than 65 distinct immigration pathways in Canada — including Permanent Residency through Express Entry, Work Permit, as well as all the Provincial Nomination Programs PNPs, among many others. 

Founded by Josh Schachnow with the goal to make the immigration journey as smooth as possible, Visto.ai has been helping its clients to immigrate to Canada for the past 1.5 years.

Instead of taking out a fancy downtown address and charging clients a typical lawyer fee north of $500/hr, Josh — who is a licensed immigration lawyer — decided to position Visto as a more approachable and affordable immigration solution, powered exclusively by tech. 

“Before we started Visto, I worked with a lot of tech companies helping them bring technical talent to Canada. We saw all these companies doing an awesome job disrupting all these other industries — and there was nobody doing that in immigration, despite a lot of it being repeatable and automatable.” — says Josh.

Later in 2019, his startup was admitted into Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone — Canada’s largest incubator for companies that are looking to disrupt the legal industry with the help of technology. 

More than 4,000 people, who signed up for Visto over the past 1.5 years, now have full access to the Qualify tool that was released in late November 2020. 

And while immigration lawyers are here to stay, the technology is surely making it easier for people to immigrate to Canada, despite all the setbacks created by the global pandemic.


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