Hiring qualified, educated and experienced foreign talent is critical for Canada's economic recovery. The government welcomes foreign workers and has worked to introduce new programs and make current programs more efficient to help alleviate the labour shortage. Canadian businesses who can't find local Canadians for jobs may benefit from the Global Talent Stream (GTS) program that was designed to expedite and streamline the hiring process of temporary foreign workers for Canadian employers. GTS was designed to support the international talent requirements of innovative firms in Canada that have a need to "hire unique and specialized temporary foreign workers in order to scale-up and grow."
Depending on the type of workers you want to hire, Canadian companies can bring foreign talent to your company in 2 weeks processing time, which is one of the fastest processing times in the world. This immigration option is used very frequently by Canadian tech companies that want to quickly employ highly-skilled international workers. In 2021, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program approved nearly 5,000 positions in Canada through the Global Talent Stream.
In April, the Workforce Solutions Road Map made updates to Canada's Global Talent Stream to make it easier for businesses to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada:
- The maximum duration of employment for High-Wage and Global Talent Streams workers was extended from 2 years to 3 years. This extension will help workers access pathways to qualify for permanent residency, enabling them to contribute to the Canadian workforce long term.
Canada's Global Talent Stream is often compared to the U.S. H-1B visa program that allows skilled foreign workers to temporarily live and work in the United States. As the H-1B visa has become increasingly difficult to get, more international workers are choosing Canada with its more flexible immigration requirements and pro-immigrant programs and policies.
Global Talent Stream Eligibility Requirements
There are 2 categories to apply for immigration to Canada under the Global Talent Stream as a temporary foreign worker:
Category A: Designated Partner Referral
The Canadian employer must be referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of the Global Talent Stream’s Designated Partners if you are hiring an individual with unique and specialized talent.
Category B: In-Demand Occupation:
The Canadian employer must be hiring to fill a position on the Global Talent Occupations List of high-skilled, in-demand occupations. The position must pay a salary equal to or above the prevailing wage for the position.
Employment and Social Development Canada Global Talent Stream requirements include:
- If you hire a worker through the Global Talent Stream, you must develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan that demonstrates your employer-specific commitment to activities that will have lasting, positive impacts on the Canadian labour market. Progress Reviews of your Plan will be conducted annually to assess how well you are meeting your commitments.
- Progress Reviews of your Labour Market Benefits Plan as a Global Talent Stream employer are separate and distinct from all compliance-related activities conducted under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
GTS Processing Times
Expedited process times of 2 weeks to 4 weeks are available under the Global Talen Stream. Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) processing times are available online for current processing times. IRCC has experienced delays and backlogs due to the global pandemic closures; in April, the government committed to meeting the pre-pandemic service standards. Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
- ESDC will aim to process Global Talent Stream applications within 10 business days, 80% of the time. The 10-business day service standard will begin on the business day after we receive the application.
The 2 week processing time applies to foreign workers who don't need visas such as Americans or western Europeans.
Common Global Talent Stream Delays and Problems
A Global Talent Stream application can be delayed or denied if it is not completely accurately and completely:
- Review the application requirements to ensure your Global Talent Stream application is as complete as possible
- Your principal employer contact should be available to address any potential questions from ESDC on your application, including the documentation required to support your application and your Labour Market Benefits Plan
- If you do not submit a complete application or if your principal and alternate employer contacts are unavailable or unresponsive to ESDC questions, your application will likely be denied or delayed.
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