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Global Skills Strategy helps Canada recruit tech workers fleeing U.S.

Canada’s Global Skills Strategy (GSS) has put the country in a position to profit from the mass flight of technology sector workers from the United States, Toronto immigration lawyer Robin Seligman tells

Business Insider recently reported on a survey of Toronto tech companies indicating that as many as 82 per cent of their international applications originated south of the border. In addition, more than half of the respondents claimed they had seen an uptick in interest from applicants based in the U.S.

With processing times of as little as 10 business days, Seligman, principal of immigration law boutique Seligman Law, says the GSS, which launched last summer, is one of the reasons Canada is so attractive to U.S. workers seeking a route out of the country.

“This is a great way for companies to bring highly skilled workers into Canada very quickly,” she says. “It’s very flexible and timely, and it’s promising to see the government doing whatever it can to facilitate the entry of these people. 

“The message is clear: Canada is open for business,” Seligman adds.

In addition to a new stream for the processing of labour market assessments under the Temporary Foreign Workers program, the strategy also made a string of changes to work permit requirements and processing times for highly skilled applicants.

Under the new Global Talent Stream, employers referred to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) by one of its designated referral 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 occupations listed by ESDC, which includes computer engineers, database analysts, web designers and computer programmers.

Rather than participating in the standard Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, 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.

The processing time is also just 10 business days, though employers should plan on proving that they have kept promises made in earlier LMBPs.

The strategy also removes work permit requirements altogether for certain foreign nationals on short-term trips. Workers in National Occupational Classification skill level A and skill type 0 jobs receive a work permit exemption as long as they spend no more than 15 consecutive days in the country over a six-month period (or 30 days or less in a 12-month period), while project-based researchers get up to 120 days in Canada every year permit-free.

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