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Immigration

Permanent Global Talent Stream cements Canadian tech sector advantage

Making the Global Talent Stream permanent establishes Canada’s advantage over the U.S. when it comes to attracting in-demand tech-sector workers, says Toronto immigration lawyer Andrew Carvajal.

The federal government used its recent budget to announce that the two-year pilot would become a permanent part of the country’s immigration system, and Carvajal, partner with Desloges Law Group, says the experiment has been a big hit with employers.

“We are very happy because the program has kept us busy. It’s extremely popular with our corporate clients, and especially among tech companies,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “It’s been particularly effective in making Canada more attractive than the U.S., where the visa process is slower and more difficult.

“In our practice, we’ve found companies are opening up offices in Canada when they could have established a base in the U.S., or they’re moving their people here from the U.S. using the stream,” Carvajal says.

There are two distinct pathways under the Global Talent Stream, first introduced in June 2017 as part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is designed to provide employers with expedited access to specialized and highly skilled workers.

  • First, employers referred to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) by one of its designated partners can hire foreign workers with “unique and specialized talent” to help the business grow.
  • Alternatively, companies can hire without a referral as long as the foreign national is highly skilled in one of the fields on the Global Talent Occupations List that’s kept and continually updated by ESDC, which includes computer and software engineers, database analysts and web designers.

Rather than participating in the standard Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, which Carvajal says can be cumbersome and time-consuming, the stream requires employers to draw up a Labour Market Benefit Plan (LMBP) that makes the case for the lasting positive effect of the hires on the labour market, and includes commitments to employ and train Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

“We’ve been able to come up with some good ideas in partnership with clients, including co-ops, lunch-and-learns and mentorship programs involving foreign talent that can help companies hire new people and grow,” he says.

From an employer’s point of view, Carvajal says one of the most attractive features of the program is its 10-business-day processing time.

“The regular process can take two or three months, so this has been a great way to bring someone quickly to Canada,” he says. 

On the one-year anniversary of the program’s launch, the governing Liberals reported that more than 1,500 applications were received inside its first 10 months from employers in a wide range of industries, including information and communications technology, visual effects and animation, video-gaming and entertainment, advanced manufacturing and finance.

“They are targeting specific occupations where we know there is demand, and the list can be changed any time, which means it can be adjusted to labour market needs,” Carvajal says.

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