It is only a few weeks since the Global Talent Stream was launched, and already employers in Canada’s IT/tech sector are noticing how the new initiative may help their business grow.
Companies and workers alike are attracted by the two-week work permit processing standard, which allows positions to be filled quickly. In turn, this feature of the Global Talent Stream should help businesses reach their true growth potential.
However, it should be noted that the Global Talent Stream does not replace any previously existing temporary work permit option. Rather, it has been introduced in addition to those plentiful options. As a result, businesses are weighing up which route is right for them and their employees.
“The most motivating factor of the Global Talent Stream is the quick turnaround of being able to bring someone in from the outside. It’s seamless. The turnaround to bring in a foreign worker is the same as it would be to bring in a worker from here [Canada],” says Ivan Cardona, President at Opticca, a Montreal-based consulting and technology services company that specializes in helping IT organizations align with business objectives.
“With that kind of lead time, you’re making companies like mine way more competitive. To be able to turn around a qualified resource within two weeks is an amazing ability.”
Unless a foreign worker has an open work permit, it is typically the case that he or she needs a job offer before beginning the process of obtaining a Canadian work permit.
Fortunately for these workers, Canada’s tech sector is experiencing a lengthy period of growth that shows little sign of abating. This brings about job opportunities in Canada’s largest cities, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, as well as smaller urban centres such as Waterloo and Halifax, among others.
Although Opticca doesn’t intend on hiring under the Global Talent Stream immediately, Cardona explains that “Anybody who knows the challenges of hiring internationally should be monitoring this program, absolutely. It could change doing business in a very positive way. If I get into high growth — and we all want to — then the program becomes very interesting for me, because then at that point for every foreign worker I bring in who is highly qualified, I could bring in a junior resource from here to train.”
If applicable in their case, employers in Canada may consider bringing workers to the country as intra-company transferees or under an international trade agreement, such as NAFTA. And while employers may pursue the route of applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), certain occupations may be exempt from advertising requirements in certain parts of the country. For example in Quebec, home to the tech hub that is Montreal, no advertising is required when hiring under a range of IT-related occupations.
Typically, the process of obtaining a LMIA includes a minimum advertising requirement that stipulates the length of time the ad must be posted for, as well as where it may be posted. This process can eat into a company’s time and, to some degree, its budget.
On the other hand, as the Global Talent Stream in an entirely new initiative the government will provide a more ‘hands on’ approach to program oversight. This may include more regular interaction with the employer; some employers may see this as a positive feature, while others may prefer a lesser degree of ongoing interaction with government officials.
“The government of Canada recognizes that a ‘one size fits all’ approach would not work, especially in a country and an economy as diverse as Canada’s. Consequently, a range of options are presented for employers and foreign workers looking to work in Canada,” says Attorney Daniel Levy from the Campbell Cohen law firm.
“The increased range of options means that employers and workers may need some guidance in optimizing their international hiring practices.”
Global Talent Stream criteria
Employers seeking to hire in certain categories of the National Occupation Classification (NOC) list of occupations may do so under the Global Talent Stream. These occupations are listed below. The list, which has been developed through collaboration between the government, labour market experts and key stakeholders, is subject to change based on labour market needs.
|NOC code||Occupation||Minimum hourly rate||Minimum annual salary|
|0213||Computer and information systems managers||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2147||Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2171||Information systems analysts and consultants||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2172||Database analysts and data administrators||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2173||Software engineers and designers||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2174||Computer programmers and interactive media developers||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2175||Web designers and developers||Prevailing wage||Prevailing wage|
|2241||Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians||$38.94 or higher prevailing wage||$81,000 or higher prevailing wage|
|2283||Information systems testing technicians||$37.50 or higher prevailing wage||$78,000 or higher prevailing wage|
|5241||Digital Media and Design||$38.46 or higher prevailing wage||$80,000 or higher prevailing wage|
A separate category has been established for high-growth companies who can demonstrate a need to hire specialized talent. Employers under this category must be referred to the Global Talent Stream by a designated referral partner.
Employers in both categories are required to meet conditions relating to the payment of skilled workers. Foreign workers hired through the Global Talent Stream must be paid at the prevailing wage or higher. The prevailing wage is defined as the highest figure of either:
- the median wage for the occupation and job location on Canada’s Job Bank;
- the wage within the range an employer pays current employees in the same position at the same location, with the same skills and experience; or
- the minimum wage floor as defined in the Global Talent occupations list (if applicable).
Other recent changes
In another change brought in on June 12, the same day the Global Talent Stream was launched, workers in occupations classified as NOC skill type 0 or A may enter Canada to work for one 15-day stay within a six-month period, or one 30-day stay within a 12-month period, without first obtaining a work permit.
In addition, researchers undertaking a project in Canada may stay for up to 120 days within a 12-month period without a work permit, as long as they are working on a research project at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.
Pathways to permanent residence
Many foreign workers who come to Canada — across a range of occupations and through various streams and programs — wish to settle permanently. IT professionals are in a particularly strong position when it comes to immigration options in Canada, as their experience and skill sets are in demand across the country.
Over the past year many provinces have prioritized these workers in their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), particularly in their PNP streams that align with the Express Entry selection system. CICNews recently covered how IT professionals have benefited from changes and trends in Canadian immigration over recent months.
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, please complete the form on this page.
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