Canada: New Global Skills Strategy launched today

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Jun 17

In Brief

The highly anticipated Global Skills Strategy was launched today and is expected to facilitate the entry of high skilled workers into Canada by introducing a new stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), new work permit exemptions, expedited processing of work permit applications, and a dedicated service channel.


Although further details of the Global Skills Strategy are expected to emerge as the regulatory process eventuates, current details of this multi-faceted strategy are as follows:

1.   Global Talent Stream
2.  New short-term work permit exemption
3.  Two week processing for eligible applications
4.  Dedicated Service Channel


1. Global Talent Stream

The Global Skills Strategy has resulted in a new Global Talent Stream under the TFWP, managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications under this particular category will be prioritized and are targeted to be processed within ten (10) business days.

Applications filed through the Global Talent Stream will be identified as either Category A, or Category B, distinguished as follows:

Eligibility Requrements

Category A

The employer has been referred by one of fourteen (14) designated partners and is seeking to hire unique and specialized talent.

“Unique and specialized talent” is indicated when an applicant possesses:

–  Advanced industry knowledge
–  Advanced education credential in a relevant area of specialization and / or at least five years experience in a relevant area of specialization; and
–  A high salary, usually of at least CAD $80,000

Category B

The employer wishes to hire a highly-skilled foreign national in an occupation designated on the Global Talent Occupations List, including:

–  Computer and Information Systems Managers (NOC 0213)
–  Computer Engineers (except Software Engineers and Designers) (2147)
–  Information Systems analysts and Consultants (2171)
–  Database Analysts and Data Administrators (2172)
–  Software Engineers and Designers (2173)
–  Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers (2174)
–  Web Designers and Developers (2175)
–  Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technologists and Technicians (2241)
–  Information Systems Testing Technicians (2283)
–  Digital Media and Design (5241)

In addition to meeting requirements for the high-wage LMIA stream, as well as the occupation-specific requirements for Category B applications, qualifying employers must include a Labour Market Benefits Plan as part of the LMIA application. The Labour Market Benefits Plan must include the following commitments:

Labour Market Benefits Plan Requirements

Category A

–  Employers must commit to new job creation for Canadian citizens and permanent residents; and
–  An additional two (2) complementary benefits.

Category B

–  Employers must commit to upskilling and making investments into the training of Canadian citizens and permanent residents; and
–  An additional two (2) complementary benefits.

Of significant note, applications filed under the Global Talent Stream will also benefit from and be required to meet the following:

–  Recruitment: No minimum recruitment, however, if conducted, details of such should still be provided;
–  Wages: The prevailing wage must be met, with only guaranteed compensation considered; and
–  Working conditions: All conditions relating to work and workplace safety must comply with applicable employment standards legislation.


Based on the anticipated popularity of the Global Talent Stream, Category A prospective-employers are advised to contact a designated partner as soon as possible for information on obtaining a referral to the program.


2. Short-term work permit exemption categories

Effective immediately, qualifying foreign nationals will be able to enter Canada for a time-limited, non-renewable duration as work-permit exempt visitors under the following conditions:

1. Eligible high-skilled workers employed in NOC skill level 0 or A occupations are able to enter Canada once for a maximum period of fifteen (15) consecutive calendar days within a six (6) month period, OR once for a maximum period of thirty (30) consecutive calendar days within a twelve (12) month period; and

2. Researchers coming to Canada to perform project-based research at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution are able to enter Canada once for a maximum period of 120 days every twelve (12) months.

Foreign nationals seeking to rely on this new work permit exemption are required to present an application demonstrating they meet the requirements, whether entering at a Canadian port of entry or applying at a Canadian visa office abroad. They should further track their entries, as foreign nationals may be required to demonstrate their compliance with the requirements in response to concerns from Officers.

Renewals and consecutive uses of this exemption are not permitted.


As a result of this work-permit exemption, the entry of qualifying skilled workers or researchers will be facilitated, thereby significantly increasing cross-border collaboration and innovation.

Employees seeking to utilize this exemption are also advised to consider their corporate tax obligations, and consult with their local PwC Advisor before utilizing this category.


3. Two Week Priority Processing for Eligible Work Permit Applications

Those foreign workers submitting work permit applications from outside of Canada under the Global Skills Strategy on or after June 12, 2017 will be granted access to a targeted two-week processing standard, provided their applications are complete, have been filed online, and fall within one of the following categories:

–  The foreign national is applying for an LMIA-exempt work permit under Canada’s International Mobility Program, for an employer-specific position in a NOC skill level 0 or A occupation; or

–  The foreign national is submitting an LMIA-based work permit application pursuant to an LMIA approved under the Global Talent Stream (regardless of NOC code).

Those foreign nationals wishing to access the two-week processing standard for an LMIA-based work permit under the Global Talent Stream must identify as such when making their online work permit application. Further, those foreign nationals requiring medical examinations should ensure they submit this information upfront. Those requiring biometrics must pay the appropriate fee at the time of submitting the e-application, and obtain biometrics within two (2) weeks (if applicable).

This 2-week standard does not apply to applications lodged before June 12, 2017, to those filed under an International Experience Canada program, or to inland applications and renewals, which will continue to process under standard posted processing times.


Previously subject to processing times of up to twelve (12) weeks for work permit applications submitted in India, fifteen (15) weeks for those submitted in the United States, and seven (7) weeks for those submitted in China, all qualifying foreign nationals can expect to be able to join their Canadian employer much sooner than would otherwise be possible, provided all criteria have been met.


4. Dedicated Service Channel

ESDC will offer a Dedicated Service Channel (DSC) to both employers making a significant job-creating investment in Canada, as well as universities and research institutions. DSC personnel will be available to answer questions and provide guidance to those employers who have been referred to the DSC by one of the 21 organizations listed on IRCC’s DSC designated partner list.

For more information on the Global Skills Strategy or any other immigration matter, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.

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