By Victor Ing,
Special to The Post
On March 9, 2017, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour announced that Canada’s new Global Talent Stream will be launched on June 12, 2017.
The Global Talent Stream is part of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy to attract highly educated and highly skilled workers to enable Canadian companies to compete on the world stage. Originally announced in 2016, the Global Skills Strategy is built upon the cornerstone of an ambitious promise to establish a two-week service standard for processing work visas and permits to bring in-demand and highly skilled workers to begin employment in Canada.
The Global Talent Stream will operate under the framework of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program starting June 12, 2017.
When it comes to filling labour shortages, businesses need and want predictability in the immigration process. What are the requirements for me to bring skilled workers to Canada? How long is it going to take?
The answers to these questions are critical for employers to plan their business operations accordingly. Unfortunately, the current visa and work permit application processes in Canada such as the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, are unresponsive and unpredictable.
Canada’s plans for expedited processing under the Global Talent Stream is intended to attract innovative companies to do business in Canada and help existing companies compete by ensuring they can hire highly skilled workers when they are needed.
The information provided so far about the Global Talent Stream is that visas and permits applied for under the program will be granted within two weeks; however, there have not yet been any details announced about what high-demand occupations will qualify for expedited processing.
A list of eligible occupations is currently under development, and it is expected that jobs in Canada’s technology sector will be well represented.
In addition to expedited processing, the Global Skills Strategy will also create a new work permit exemption for short-term highly skilled work in Canada.
This exemption may be used, for example, to bring highly skilled professionals to Canada on a short-term basis to train and transfer specialized knowledge and skills to Canadian workers or to fill urgent labour shortages as needed.
Canada’s recent announcement of the Global Talent Stream could not be more timely.
In recent months, we have seen the United States take steps to close its borders, as well as make changes to the operations of well-established visa programs, such as the planned suspension of premium processing of H1-B visas in the country.
In contrast to the approach taken by the United States, Canada’s message to the world is one of openness and stability. Canada has announced, through the introduction of the Global Talent Stream, that it is serious about attracting highly skilled global talent.
Stay tuned for details on the list of eligible occupations under the Global Talent Stream and for further details such as any applicable processing fees and other important information.
Victor Ing is a lawyer of Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre. He provides a full range of immigration services.