Canadian flags flutter in the breeze in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

A new pilot program has launched, introducing two-week processing times for work permit applications for certain highly-skilled foreign workers. The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is part of the Canadian government’s Global Skills Strategy, an initiative designed to facilitate access to uniquely specialized foreign workers in order to promote Canada's economic growth and job creation. It is also part of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

The two-week processing standard also applies to open work permits for accompanying spouses/common-law partners, and study permits for accompanying dependants, if applicable.

There are two categories within the GTS. Category A accommodates organizations who are identified as high-growth, and have been referred to the program by a designated referral partner. Category B allows employers to recruit foreign workers with unique and specialized talent in 10 occupations of the National Occupational Code (NOC).

The below Global Talent occupations list details the NOC codes currently eligible for Category B. This list may be updated.

NOC code Occupation Minimum hourly rate Minimum annual salary
0213 Computer and information systems managers Not applicable Not applicable
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) Not applicable Not applicable
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants Not applicable Not applicable
2172 Database analysts and data administrators Not applicable Not applicable
2173 Software engineers and designers Not applicable Not applicable
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers Not applicable Not applicable
2175 Web designers and developers Not applicable Not applicable
2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians $38.94 $81,000
2283 Information systems testing technicians $37.50 $78,000
5241 Digital Media and Design (positions requiring a minimum of five years' industry experience and specific skills only) $38.46 $80,000

Employers recruiting foreign nationals through the GTS are also required to work with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan. This document outlines the employer’s commitments to creating positive benefits for Canada’s labour market, through activities such as job creation and training for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

In addition, work permit exemptions have also been introduced for workers and researchers coming to Canada for short-term projects. Highly-skilled workers in skill type 0 or skill level A occupations of the NOC may enter Canada to work for 15 days in a six-month period, or for 30 days in a 12-month period, without obtaining a work permit. Researchers working on research projects at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution may come to Canada for 120 days in a 12-month period, without requiring a work permit.

The two-week processing standard is also extended to encompass applications submitted through the International Mobility Program for employer-specific work permits for workers exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement, in an occupation under skill type 0 or skill level A of the NOC. 

Canadian employers: To learn more about your options for hiring foreign workers, please contact wp@canadavisa.com. A legal expert will provide a free consultation.

Foreign workers: If you have received a job offer from a Canadian employer and wish to submit an inquiry about getting a work permit and working legally in Canada, please complete the form on this page.