2023-01-17T17:44:50-05:00Jan 18, 2023|

Global Talent Stream: Working in Canada

As a foreign worker, finding a job in Canada and qualifying for a work permit is no easy feat. For Canadian companies, the process of recruiting temporary foreign workers is long and complicated. Consequently, most employers only look for talent outside Canada if there’s a severe shortage of local labour in their industry.

To make it easier for high-growth Canadian employers to meet their labour requirements, the Global Talent Stream (GTS) allows foreign workers hired by eligible companies to get their work permits processed faster. In this article, we explain what the Global Talent Stream is, how employers can qualify under this program, and how you can apply for a work permit under the Global Talent Stream and move to Canada to work.

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What is the Global Talent Stream (GTS)?

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a Canadian immigration program which allows certain highly skilled foreign workers to get a Canadian work permit within two weeks of applying. Part of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program, the Global Talent Stream allows fast-growing Canadian companies to meet their labour requirements by accelerating the work permit process for selected foreign job candidates.

The Global Talent Stream includes two categories:

  • Category A: For innovative companies who are looking to fill a unique and specialized position and have already identified a qualified foreign worker to hire. Companies can only apply under Category A if they have been referred by a GTS designated partner.
  • Category B: For companies looking to hire skilled workers in one of the occupations on the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Global Talent Occupations List. Some occupations on this list (as of December 2022) include computer engineers, civil engineers, mathematicians, computer and information systems managers, database analysts, and more.

All employers looking to hire temporary foreign workers under the Global Talent Stream are required to develop a Labour Market Benefits plan which outlines the positive impact foreign talent will have on the Canadian labour market. This plan should also outline how the employer will improve job creation and invest in skill development and training to reduce their reliance on foreign labour in the long term.

Employer eligibility requirements for Category A of the Global Talent Stream

To be eligible to hire foreign workers under Category A of the Global Talent Stream, an employer must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have operations in Canada.
  • Be innovation-focused with the potential for scaling up.
  • Be referred to ESDC by a designated partner, such as the Business Development Bank of Canada, Invest in Canada, TECHNATION, etc.
  • Be looking to hire a highly skilled foreign worker for a unique and specialized position and should already have a potential candidate for the role.
  • Be looking to hire only one or two temporary foreign workers per year under the GTS. ESDC rarely accepts more than two referrals per year from eligible companies.
  • Commit to creating jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
  • Pay foreign workers hired under the GTS an annual salary of at least $80,000 or equivalent to the prevailing wage, whichever is higher.

Employer eligibility requirements for Category B of the Global Talent Stream

While only companies with strong growth potential and referrals are eligible to hire foreign workers under Category A of the GTS, eligibility for Category B is based on the occupations an employer wants to hire for.

To hire foreign workers under Category B of the Global Talent Stream, an employer must:

  • Have operations in Canada
  • Be looking to hire skilled foreign workers for an in-demand occupation for which there is inadequate local talent supply. This occupation must be listed on the Global Talent Occupations List.
  • Commit to increasing investment for skill development and training of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to reduce long-term reliance on foreign talent.
  • Offer foreign workers hired through GTS wages equal to or more than the minimum hourly wage floor listed in the Global Talent Occupations List or the median wage for the position according to the government’s Job Bank, if no wage floor has been defined.

Employers don’t need a referral from a designated organization to hire foreign workers under Category B of the GTS.

What is the processing fee for GTS applications?

The application processing fee for Global Talent Stream is $1,000 per position. This fee must be paid by the employer and cannot be passed on to or recovered from the foreign worker being hired. Note: this fee only includes the employer’s GTS application processing cost, not your work permit application fee.

Am I eligible to work in Canada under the Global Talent Stream?

You may be eligible to work in Canada under the Global Talent Stream if you are in:

An occupation on the Global Talent Occupations List (Category B) 

If you are in an in-demand occupation listed on the Global Talent Occupations List, you’ll likely find several Canadian employers looking to recruit skilled workers from outside Canada. The Global Talent Occupations List is maintained by the ESDC and includes jobs for which there is insufficient local talent in Canada. This list is revised periodically based on labour market needs.

Any Canadian employer can apply to the GTS to hire foreign workers for these positions, provided they meet certain basic criteria, such as developing a Labour Market Benefits Plan, getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and committing to paying fair wages.

A unique and specialized role (Category A)

Finding employment under Category A of the Global Talent Stream may be more complicated since there are no pre-defined occupations under this category. Since employers must be referred to ESDC to hire under Category A of the GTS, you may find fewer eligible companies looking for specialized talent. However, employers can use this category to hire foreign workers in any occupation, provided the role is unique and specialized.

Unique and specialized roles are defined as jobs that require: 

  • Advanced knowledge of the industry
  • A high degree of specialization in a particular field that is of interest to a Canadian employer, and 
  • At least five years of specialized work experience.

Employers can only apply for Category A of the Global Talent Stream after they’ve shortlisted a suitable foreign candidate through an intensive recruitment process. Typically, you’ll need to pass the resume screening and several interview rounds to be selected. You’ll only know if you qualify for expedited work permit processing after the employer’s GTS application is approved.

Tips Icon  Tip: To find a job in Canada from outside the country, don’t limit your search to jobs posted online. Most open positions in Canada are filled through networking, so be sure to polish your LinkedIn profile and connect with Canadian employers to explore your options and understand their requirements. Read our guide on networking for newcomers to Canada for tips on building your Canadian network from scratch.

Salaries under the Global Talent Stream

In addition to the expedited work permit process, another advantage of being hired under the Global Talent Stream is that you’ll earn at least the median wage for your occupation.

All employers hiring through the Global Talent Stream must commit to paying foreign workers at least the prevailing wage for that occupation. The prevailing wage is defined as the highest of:

  • The median hourly wage for that occupation in the province as listed on the Government’s Job Bank, or
  • The salary the company pays existing workers (foreign or domestic) in similar roles, or
  • The minimum hourly wage floor for the occupation defined in the Global Talent Occupations List (where available).

Except for occupations under NOC 51120 (producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video game),  NOC 21233 and NOC 21234 (web designers and developers), for which the minimum wage floor is lower, all other foreign workers hired under the GTS can expect to earn an annual salary of $80,000 or more. This does not include bonuses, commissions, profit-sharing, and other non-guaranteed income.

Moreover, employers must also review the salaries being paid to foreign skilled workers being hired under the GTS annually to ensure they remain in line with the prevailing wage requirements.

Do employers need an LMIA to hire under the GTS?

Canadian employers require a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before hiring temporary foreign workers under the Global Talent Stream. 

LMIAs are issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to determine how the hiring of foreign talent will impact the local labour market. A positive LMIA confirms that there is a shortage of skilled local talent for that particular occupation and that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact the Canadian job market. For the LMIA application, the employer will need to provide evidence of any recruitment efforts undertaken to fill this position locally.

Employers hiring under the Global Talent Stream can apply for an LMIA that’s valid for up to three years, depending on the company’s labour requirements. 

How to get a work permit after receiving a job offer under GTS

Once you receive a formal job offer or employment contract from your Canadian employer, along with a copy of the positive LMIA they’ve received, you’ll need to apply for a work permit. Foreign workers being hired under the Global Talent Stream qualify for two-week processing of their employer-specific work permit.

You should apply for your work permit as soon as you receive the LMIA decision letter from your employer. You’ll need to complete the work permit application online and pay the applicable processing fees. To ensure there are no delays in your work permit processing, it is recommended to complete the following tasks before applying for your work permit:

  • Check if a medical exam is required and schedule an appointment.
  • Gather police certificates, if needed.
  • Gather certified translations of any essential documents that are in a language other than English or French.

If biometrics are required for your application, make sure you submit your biometric results within two weeks of applying for the work permit.

Tips Icon  Tip: For more information on the types of work permits in Canada and the application process, read our article on How to get a Canadian work permit.

Work permit processing time under the Global Talent Stream

If you’ve been selected for a job in Canada under the Global Talent Stream, you are eligible for expedited work permit processing. Typically, work permits under the GTS are processed in two weeks or 10 business days. 

However, the actual processing time for your work permit application may vary depending on the total number of applications under process, the completion status of your application, and the ease with which your information can be verified by IRCC.

How long will my GTS work permit be valid?

Work permits issued under the Global Talent Stream may be valid for up to three years. However, the validity of your work permit will align with the employment duration requested by your employer and the validity of the Labour Market Impact Assessment they receive. In exceptional cases where the employer provides sufficient rationale for a longer employment duration, your work permit may be for more than three years.

As a foreign worker hired under the Global Talent Stream, you have an opportunity to gain Canadian work experience and use your skills to help an innovative Canadian business grow. Moreover, your Canadian experience can make it easier for you to qualify for permanent residence in Canada later.