CEO Ruairi Spillane launched the business to "democratize" basic info
People often assume that Ruairi Spillane’s inspiration to start an immigration support platform is based on his own experience.
“That would be a fantastic genesis story, but it was actually quite different,” he says of his move from Dublin to Vancouver in 2008. “I had everything set up for me—I had a relocation company, I had all expenses paid for in the first six weeks, I had a lawyer to deal with my initial work permit and then my PR application. The challenge for me was that my friends didn't.”
At the time, Spillane was working in the financial software sector. When he arrived with a job offer, he found himself gravitating towards other immigrants, most of whom had a much more difficult time settling in. Many of them had to pay for vague orientation programs just to get basic information like how to open a bank account, find a place to stay or get a phone number. It was particularly hard for Spillane to see his friends “falling through the cracks of the system” every year—friends who met the language and eligibility requirements to relocate under a temporary status, only to be abandoned by job opportunities.
“There's a complete misalignment between the labour market and the immigration system,” says Spillane, noting that even though there's a labour shortage, and even though the immigration system is delivering highly skilled immigrants, employers still turn their noses up at newcomers. “It's, We prefer to hire someone with local experience; we'll leave the role empty for six months waiting for that unicorn to come along.”
When Spillane opened Moving2Canada as a Facebook page in 2011, the idea was to “democratize” basic information that newcomers need to settle in. He launched it as a full business a year later, followed by another venture, Outpost Recruitment, which connects international talent with construction and engineering opportunities.
Moving2Canada translates “bureaucratic” IRCC language, according to its founder and CEO Spillane, and offers resources to help people work, study and live in Canada. It partners with products and services that the community needs, like financial institutions, insurance aggregators and airlines. It's also working with government programs to accelerate its “innovative product,” which creates personalized checklists for prospective newcomers.
“We've done campaigns for Huggies in the past because immigrants have more babies,” Spillane adds. “The value of newcomer marketing is if you can become part of their journey, you have a unique opportunity to build a relationship with a new potential customer pre-arrival.”
Partnerships and recruitment are big drivers of Spillane’s business, which generated $1.5 million in revenue last year. “There's a gap in terms of information, there's a gap in terms of the interactivity of how things work, and our goal is to try and plug that gap,” he maintains.