The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a fast-track stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), has launched as of June 12, establishing a two-week standard for the processing of work permit applications for highly skilled occupations. The two categories of the GTS target high-growth companies, and workers in identified in-demand occupations.
As part of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, the Global Talent Stream enables prioritized processing of applications for work permits in high-demand occupations requiring the specialized talent of global workers. The government of Canada recognizes that in order to promote growth in fast-paced industries such as the tech sector, employers often need to fill a specialized position quickly, and are unable to find Canadian workers for the position.
In such cases, the GTS establishes a processing time standard of 10 business days for Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and work permit applications from workers whose employers have been approved to hire through the GTS. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the department managing this stream, has stated that this pilot program will run for an initial period of 24 months.
The LMIA is a document that proves that the employer could not find a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is ready, able, and willing to perform the job. Once an employer has obtained an LMIA, the worker may apply for a work permit.
Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, has stated that ‘When companies are able to grow and thrive here in Canada, they create good, middle-class jobs for Canadians; our new Global Talent Stream will give companies a faster and more efficient process to bring in global talent, so they can grow and expand their Canadian workforces. We’re keeping Canada competitive in the global marketplace and helping our industries grow and succeed.’
There are two categories under the GTS.
- Category A: High-growth companies with a demonstrated need for the in-demand talent of foreign nationals in order to generate growth; and,
- Category B: Companies requiring high-skilled foreign nationals for occupations on the Skills Shortage List.
It is acknowledged that companies in both of these categories will generate job growth among Canadian workers, in addition to growth in the national economy, as a result of the efforts of foreign nationals. Moreover, the specialized knowledge of these foreign workers will result in greater skills and training of Canadian workers.
Companies in any sector may be eligible for Category A, but must first be recommended to the GTS by a designated partner, and need to be identified as high-growth. The following organizations have been designated as GTS referral partners, as of June 12:
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- BC Tech Association
- Business Development Bank of Canada
- Communitech Corporation
- Council of Canadian Innovators
- Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
- Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service
- ICT Manitoba (ICTAM)
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – Accelerated Growth Service
- MaRS Discovery District
- National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program
- Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
- Ontario Ministry of Economic Growth and Development
- VENN Innovation
Further requirements for Category A are in place, including the need to prove that the company is hiring unique and specialized talent. Future employees with advanced knowledge of the industry, advanced relevant qualifications, and/or a minimum of five years’ specialized experience may be eligible. In addition, the position must be highly paid, usually at $80,000 CAD per year or higher.
Companies who can demonstrate a need for global talent to fill high-skilled occupations on the Global Talent occupations list, and are willing to pay the employee the prevailing wage or higher, fall into Category B.
The following high-demand occupations have been identified as areas in which there is a skills shortage in Canada. This list was developed in consultation with labour market experts and key stakeholders, and ESDC states that it may be updated periodically.
|National Occupations Classification (NOC) code||Occupation|
|0213||Computer and information systems managers|
|2147||Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)|
|2171||Information systems analysts and consultants|
|2172||Database analysts and data administrators|
|2173||Software engineers and designers|
|2174||Computer programmers and interactive media developers|
|2175||Web designers and developers|
|2241||Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians|
|2283||Information systems testing technicians|
|5241 (subset)||Digital Media and Design (positions requiring a minimum of five years’ industry experience only, specific skills requirements apply)|
Positions in occupations 2241, 2283, and 5241 carry minimum wage requirements.
Work permit exemptions
Two new work permit exemptions are also in effect as of June 12. Workers in occupations classified as skill type 0 or skill level A in the NOC may enter Canada for one 15-day stay in a six-month period, or one 30-day stay in a 12-month period, and may work without a work permit. Researchers undertaking projects in Canada may stay for 120 days in a 12-month period, without requiring a work permit, as long as they are working on a research project at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.
Canadian employers: To learn more about your options for hiring foreign workers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A legal expert will provide a free consultation.
Employers may also use the CanadaVisa Work Permit Wizard, designed to help Canadian employers navigate the complex process of hiring foreign workers.
Foreign workers: If you have received a job offer from a Canadian employer and wish to submit an inquiry about getting a work permit and working legally in Canada, please complete the form on this page.
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