Global Talent Stream: Bringing highly skilled foreign tech talent to Canada
Canada currently has north of one million job vacancies across the country. These job vacancies are spread throughout nearly every employment sector, which is why Canada has created several programs to aid employers with hiring foreign talent.
One such program, specific to highly skilled foreign professionals in the tech industry, is the Global Talent Stream (GTS).
The GTS is a fast-tracked program employers can use to bring foreign talent to this country and allow them to utilize their skills in the service of helping innovative Canadian companies grow.
Part of Canada’s larger Global Talent Strategy and contained within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the GTS expedites the processing of work permit applications and temporary resident visas (if applicable) so that qualified applicants can start working in around two weeks from the date of submission.
Accordingly, this program also works to benefit the general Canadian tech landscape, as it ensures that organizations in this space can quickly access the talent they need to continue to thrive.
Note: Two exemptions under the Global Talent Stream enable certain applicants to enter Canada without a work permit.
First, “highly-skilled workers in skill type 0 or skill level A occupations of the NOC” will not require a permit under this program if they are working in Canada for a period of 15 days over six months or 30 days over 12 months.
Additionally, researchers coming to Canada will not need a work permit should they be working in Canada for a period of 120 days over 12 months “on research projects at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.”
Breaking down the Global Talent Stream
Under the Global Talent Stream, there are two distinct categories.
Category A: High-growth companies who are referred to the GTS by one of over 40 designated referral partners (in Canada, excluding Quebec) and can demonstrate the need to hire “unique specialized talent from abroad”.
The list of designated referral partners varies for employers in Quebec, and therefore, also for applicants looking to work in that province. That list can be found in French on the website of Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation, and Integration.
Category B: Companies looking to hire for specific roles designated by the Global Talent Occupations List. This list, which may be updated periodically to reflect changing labour market needs and priorities, includes an expansive list of jobs that have been deemed in demand and appear to suffer from a lacking number of available workers domestically.
Some occupations on the Global Talent Occupations List for Category B include:
- Computer and information systems managers
- Web designers and developers
- Computer network technicians
- Workers in digital media and design
The full list of occupations for this category can be found here.
Wages in the Global Talent Stream
One of the most important elements of this program is the wages that employers pay to successful applicants.
There is a wage-related requirement that employers in either category must meet when bringing on foreign talent through the GTS. This requirement states that employers must pay workers at whichever of the following five rates is highest.
- The occupation’s median wage on the Canadian government’s Job Bank
- The wage within the range that the employer pays to current employees (in the same position, at the same location, and with the same skills/experience)
- The minimum wage floor determined by the Global Talent Occupations list (category B)
- An hourly salary that matches the prevailing wage for the occupation in question and amounts to no less than $80,000 (for the first two positions requested under category A)
Note: For any additional number of positions (more than two), an hourly salary that matches the prevailing wage for the occupation in question and amounts to no less than $150,000
How the Global Talent Stream benefits Canada and Canadians
The GTS benefits both Canadians and the country at large by requiring employers to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan. This plan, established in conjunction with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), identifies how the hiring of foreign talent through this program will work to benefit the Canadian labour market.
Additionally, these plans outline activities the employer will facilitate to encourage job creation or invest in skill development and training for Canadians (the “primary benefits” of the GTS).
More specifically, it is the responsibility of employers in category A to encourage job creation, either directly or indirectly, for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Meanwhile, category B employers are accountable for increasing investments in skills and training for Canadians.
Employers in both categories, in addition to the above, will need to undertake business activities for the purpose of fulfilling an additional two complimentary labour market benefits. These benefits include, but are not limited to, the following two items:
- Transferring knowledge to Canadian citizens and permanent residents
- Improving company performance
The full list of activities that can be used to fulfill any labour market benefit can be reviewed on the Government of Canada’s website. For reference, however, some of those activities include:
- Hiring more Canadian citizens or permanent residents
- Training current employees in new techniques
- Creating paid co-op or internship programs for local students
- Increasing revenue and investments
Finally, it is worth clarifying that employers applying to hire talent in both categories will be required to commit to one activity related to each primary benefit— job creation and skill development/training —as well as two complimentary benefits.
Note: To ensure compliance with the Labour Market Benefits Plan and to monitor the success of the program generally, employers utilizing the Global Talent Stream may be monitored for the duration of the foreign hire’s employment.
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