Global Talent Stream: Hire Foreign Tech Talent | Get a Free Legal Consultation
The purpose of the Global Talent Stream is to help employers in Canada fast-track the hiring of foreign tech talent.
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Table of Contents
- Category A
- Category B
- Category B Occupations
- Wages for the Global Talent Stream
- Labour Market Benefits Plan
- Work Permit Exemptions
- About the Cohen Immigration Law
The Global Talent Stream allows certain skilled workers to obtain a work permit within two weeks of applying. It is one of the pillars of Canada's Global Skills Strategy, which aims to help innovative companies grow by ensuring they can access the highly skilled talent they need quickly.
Among other initiatives, this work stream establishes a two-week standard for processing of work permit applications (and temporary resident visas, if applicable) for highly skilled talent. The Global Talent Stream is part of Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
There are two categories under the Global Talent Stream:
High-growth companies that can demonstrate a need to recruit unique specialized talent from abroad fall under Category A. Employers in this category must be referred to the Global Talent Stream by a designated referral partner.
The list of designated referral partners for employers located outside Quebec includes the following organizations.
- Accelerate Okanagan
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- BC Tech Association
- Burlington Economic Development Corporation
- Business Development Bank of Canada
- Canadian Economic Development for Quebec Regions
- Cape Breton Partnership
- City of Brampton
- City of Hamilton's Economic Development Office
- City of Mississauga
- Communitech Corporation
- Council of Canadian Innovators
- Economic Development Winnipeg
- Edmonton Economic Development
- Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
- Genesis (Newfoundland)
- Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service
- Government of Alberta, Alberta Labour
- Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology
- Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Education and Training
- Government of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc.
- Government of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade – Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
- Government of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade – Ontario Investment Office
- Government of Prince Edward Island, Island Investment Development Inc.
- Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of the Economy
- Halifax Partnership
- Tech Manitoba
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada - Accelerated Growth Service
- Invest Ottawa
- Invest in Canada
- Kingston Economic Development Corporation
- Launch Academy
- London Economic Development Corporation
- MaRS Discovery District
- National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
- Privy Council Office, Special Projects Team
- Regional Municipality of Niagara
- Regional Municipality of York
- Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
- Toronto Global
- Town of Oakville
- Vancouver Economic Commission
- Venn Innovation
- Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation
- WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation
For the list of designated referral partners located in Quebec for the Global Talent Stream, employers from Quebec are invited to consult Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration website (French only).
Category B is for employers looking to hire certain highly skilled foreign workers for occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations List, which have been determined to be in-demand and for which there is insufficient domestic labour supply. This list may be updated periodically to respond to labour market needs.
Global Talent Occupations List for Category B
Minimum hourly rate
Minimum annual salary
Computer and information systems managers
Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
Sub-set of 2161*
Mathematicians and statisticians
* Positions for actuaries or related occupations are excluded from this subset.
Information systems analysts and consultants
Database analysts and data administrators
Software engineers and designers
Computer programmers and interactive media developers
Web designers and developers
Computer Network technicians
$39.42 or higher prevailing wage
$82,000 or higher prevailing wage
Information systems testing technicians
$38.46 or higher prevailing wage
$80,000 or higher prevailing wage
Sub-set of 5131**
Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video game
** The position requires a minimum of three years' industry experience in the visual effects, video game or animation industries in one or a combination of the following roles: producer, technical director, creative director, artistic director or project manager, senior coordinator, department manager, with three years of job experience in at least one or more of the following skills relevant to the visual effects, video game or animation industries: surfacing and look development; character or simulation rigging; matte painting; managing budgets or teams; or technical pipeline development and application for visual effects, video games, or animation production.
$37.50 or higher prevailing wage
$78,000 or higher prevailing wage
Sub-set of 5241***
Digital Media and Design
***The position requires a minimum of three years' industry experience in at least one of the following digital media design skills: 3D modeling, compositing, paint and roto, layout and match move, digital environment and Matte painting, texture, lighting shading, character effects, effects and simulations, design and scenario, rigging, user interface or user experience, responsive design (for gaming), virtual reality, augmented reality, digital media animation, levels editing for digital media design, software editing for digital media design, pipeline software development or applications relevant for digital media design
$38.46 or higher prevailing wage
$80,000 or higher prevailing wage
Employers in both categories are required to meet conditions relating to the payment of skilled workers. Foreign workers hired through the GTS must be paid at the prevailing wage or higher. The prevailing wage is defined as the highest figure of either:
- the median wage for the occupation on the Government of Canada's Job Bank;
- the wage within the range an employer pays current employees in the same position at the same location, with the same skills and experience;
- the minimum wage floor as defined in the Global Talent occupations list (if applicable).
Wages for the Global Talent Stream
Employers must commit to pay the highest of either:
- an annual salary of at least $80,000, or an annual salary equivalent to the prevailing wage for that occupation if it is higher than $80,000 for the first two unique and specialized positions requested under Category A. For two or more unique and specialized positions requested under Category A, or an annual salary equivalent to the prevailing wage for that occupation if it is higher than $150,000. ESDC says there is no flexibility in the application of the wage requirement for additional positions being requested under Category A;
- the applicable minimum wage for the occupation for a highly-skilled position requested under Category B as identified in the Global Talent Occupations List;
- the wage that is within the wage range that the employer is paying current employees hired for the same job and work location, and with the same skills and years of experience; or
- the median wage on the Government of Canada's Job Bank. The median wage is listed by job title or National Occupational Classification (NOC) code in the middle column, by community or area in Canada's job bank.
Labour Market Benefits Plan
Employers looking to hire skilled workers through the Global Talent Stream are required to work with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan. This plan outlines the positive benefits that foreign talent will bring to the Canadian labour market, and activities that the employer will undertake to encourage job creation, skills and training investments.
Category A employers are required to commit to creating jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. This job creation may be direct or indirect.
Category B employers are required to commit to increasing investments in skills and training for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
In addition to the above mandatory benefits, employers in both categories are required to commit to two further complementary benefits, supported by defined activities. These benefits may include, but are not limited to, job creation, investment in skills and training, transferring knowledge to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and/or improving company performance. Activities to support these benefits may include, but are not limited to, hiring more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, training current employees in new techniques, creating paid co-op or internship programs for local students, and/or increasing revenue and investments.
If employers are applying for positions in both Category A and Category B, they must commit to one activity as part of the job creation benefit and one activity as part of the investments in skills and training benefit, as well as at least two complementary benefits. For the latest list of accepted activities to support mandatory and complementary benefits outlined in an employer’s Labour Market Benefits Plan, visit this government page.
Employers may be monitored to ensure compliance with the Labour Market Business Plan, and to evaluate the successes of the GTS.
Work Permit Exemptions
Under the Global Talent Stream, two new categories of workers are now exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit.
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.
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