Global Talent Stream (GTS)

Overview of the Global Talent Stream Program

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a program designed as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program to provide innovative firms in Canada with the ability to recruit highly skilled foreign talent when Canadians or permanent residents are not available. It also aims to help such firms scale up and grow by ensuring they have the required talent to compete on a global scale. A distinctive feature of the GTS is its expedited process, which significantly speeds up the time it takes for skilled workers to get their work permits and begin employment in Canada.

This program is part of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, which was launched in 2017 with the intention of promoting global investment in the Canadian economy by creating and supporting highly-skilled and high-paying jobs for Canadians. The Strategy recognizes that Canadian businesses need to attract the best and brightest talent from around the world in order to innovate and grow, and the GTS is specifically tailored to help meet this objective.

The GTS is divided into two categories:

  • Category A, which is for employers who have been referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) designated partners and who need to fill an unique and specialized position.
  • Category B, which is for employers seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers to fill positions in occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations List, a list which contains in-demand occupations, particularly in the tech sector.

Key to the GTS application process is the development of a Labour Market Benefits Plan, where employers must commit to creating lasting benefits for the Canadian labour market. This plan is a crucial component as it outlines the company’s commitment to activities that will have lasting, positive impacts on the Canadian workforce, including job creation, investment in skills and training, and the transfer of knowledge to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The GTS program facilitates collaborative efforts to boost the availability of highly skilled and specialized foreign workers which can help Canadian companies thrive in the competitive global marketplace. These collaborations aid in bolstering Canada’s talent pool, driving innovation, and ultimately empowering Canada’s position as a leader in the global economy.

Eligibility Criteria and Application Process for GTS

To be eligible for the Global Talent Stream (GTS), employers must fall into one of two categories. For Category A, employers must receive a referral from one of the program’s designated partners—a group that includes venture capital firms, business incubators, and similar entities recognized by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This referral is intended for companies seeking to fill unique and specialized roles. For Category B, the eligibility criteria are slightly different, as it is geared towards businesses looking to hire foreign workers for specific, in-demand positions, especially in the technology sector, which are listed on the Global Talent Occupations List.

The application process for GTS is streamlined and employer-driven, requiring several critical steps. Firstly, employers must showcase that they have tried to recruit Canadians and permanent residents for the position(s) before turning to the GTS. Once this has been established, they must submit an application to ESDC, including the relevant Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which weighs the potential impact that hiring a foreign worker may have on the Canadian job market. The LMIA specifically for GTS applications has a reduced processing time, reflecting the program’s aim to quickly fill labour market needs.

Alongside the LMIA, employers are required to develop and submit a Labour Market Benefits Plan. This plan plays a pivotal role in the acceptance of the application, as employers must detail their commitments to creating enduring positive effects on the Canadian labour market such as:

  • Job creation – Demonstrating how hiring global talent will lead to more jobs for Canadians and permanent residents, either directly or indirectly.
  • Investing in skills and training – Outlining plans for providing training or skill development to enhance the abilities of the Canadian workforce.
  • Knowledge transfer – Ensuring that Canadian workers benefit from unique skills and expertise that the foreign national possesses.

Employers must also provide a clear explanation of how they plan to meet these commitments with measurable objectives and a time frame for their implementation. The Labour Market Benefits Plan is not a one-time requirement; employers must report on their progress annually to ensure they are fulfilling their commitments.

The application must also include proof of business legitimacy, a completed application form for each position needing to be filled, and the associated fee for the LMIA processing. When the application is approved, the skilled worker can then apply for their work permit, which is usually processed within two weeks for GTS—much faster than standard work permit applications.

The rapid process makes GTS a highly attractive pathway for employers needing in-demand and specialized foreign talent swiftly, helping them to innovate and compete at a global level. Skilled workers, on the other hand, benefit from expedited work permit processing and the opportunity to bring their expertise to Canada—a win-win scenario for both employers and foreign talent.

Benefits and Impact of GTS on Employers and Skilled Workers

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) presents several advantageous outcomes for both Canadian employers and international skilled workers seeking employment opportunities in Canada. Employers, especially those in high-growth sectors, often face acute skill shortages which can impede their development and competitive edge in the global market. As such, the GTS has been designed to mitigate these challenges by offering a swifter, more efficient pathway to recruit top-tier global talent.

For employers, the benefits of participating in the GTS are substantial. By gaining access to a larger pool of talent, they can quickly fill critical positions which require specialized skillsets not readily available within the Canadian labor market. The expedited visa and work permit processing times are particularly impactful, allowing businesses to onboard global talent within weeks rather than months. This responsiveness to workforce needs is crucial for companies that must adapt rapidly to changes in the market and technology advancements.

  • Streamlined recruitment process – GTS dramatically reduces the time and complexity involved in hiring foreign workers, with the added convenience of not requiring a transition plan normally associated with the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • Enhanced innovation – By employing highly skilled workers from around the globe, companies can infuse new ideas, perspectives, and techniques that can drive innovation and increase their competitive advantage.
  • Economic growth – As companies grow by leveraging global talents, this contributes to the overall economic prosperity of Canada through job creation and investment opportunities.
  • Corporate planning – With more predictable timelines for hiring, companies can better plan their projects and strategies without the delays often associated with international recruitment.

Skilled workers from abroad also experience significant advantages when they come to Canada under the GTS. The fast-tracked process enables them to begin their Canadian employment expeditiously, which is beneficial both personally and professionally. Moreover, the opportunity to work in a highly innovative and supportive environment can lead to career advancement and fulfilling work experiences. Workers can be assured that their contribution is not only recognized but also serves as a linchpin for economic advancement within Canada.

  • Shorter waiting periods – The usual anxiety associated with prolonged immigration processes is greatly alleviated due to the program’s priority processing times.
  • Career progression – Working within Canadian companies renowned for innovation and investment in talent development can lead to significant career progression opportunities for international skilled workers.
  • Job security and stability – Employment in Canadian firms under the GTS often brings with it a degree of job security and stability, thus providing favourable conditions for long-term career planning.
  • Knowledge exchange – Skilled workers contribute their expertise to Canadian companies, while also benefiting from the transfer of knowledge and experience within the diverse Canadian workforce.

The symbiotic relationship fostered by the GTS between employers and skilled foreign talent thus contributes to a vibrant, innovative, and competitive economic environment in Canada. It not only supports businesses to flourish and maintain their edge in the global market but also enhances the professional lives of the skilled workers who come to participate in and contribute to Canada’s economic growth and innovation landscape.