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The Global Talent Stream has helped welcome tens of thousands of workers to Canada since it launched in 2017.

Canada is awesome.”

Those were the words of Shopify CEO Tobias Lutke in a tweet addressing skilled talent that are currently prevented from working in the U.S.

Lutke himself is a German immigrant to Canada who helped build Shopify into a multi-billion dollar global corporation, headquartered out of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

Since its inception three years ago, the Global Talent Stream (GTS) has contributed to over 40,000 people coming to Canada to work in numerous tech roles, such as software engineers, web designers, computer engineers, digital media, and design.

The GTS allows these skilled workers to obtain a Canadian work permit within just two weeks after getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) approval, which also takes about two weeks.

Like with other work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), employers are required submit an LMIA application. However, employers are exempt from the advertising requirements usually associated with an LMIA (normally, an employer needs to show the federal government they advertised for a vacancy and were unable to find a Canadian to do the job).

The U.S. work visa suspension includes the H1-B visa, a popular visa for talented individuals seeking employment in technology and other specialty occupations.

The GTS may prove to become more appealing after the U.S. decided to freeze new work visas for the remainder of the year.

In contrast, Canada’s reputation for being welcoming extends to talented
individuals in specialty occupations. Even with the coronavirus pandemic affecting travel and immigration worldwide, the GTS remains open.

How the Global Talent Stream works

There are two categories under the GTS: Category A and Category B. Both categories help Canadian employers recruit highly skilled talent.

Under Category A, employers must be referred by a designated referral partner (or a Quebec partner for employers in Quebec).

A designated referral partner must prove that the employer operates in Canada, focuses on innovation, is willing to grow and has identified a qualified foreign worker to hire.

In addition, the position must be unique and specialised. This means that the candidate must:

  • • be offered at least an $80,000 annual base salary (or higher depending on the occupation ‘s prevailing wage for the year).
  • • Have advanced knowledge of the industry
  • • Have an advanced degree in an area that is of interest to the employer
  • • Have a minimum of 5 years of experience in the field.

Under Category B, the employer must be hiring to fill one of twelve occupations, listed below with their corresponding National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.

  • •  Computer and information systems managers (NOC 0213)
  • •  Computer engineers (NOC 2147)
  • •  Mathematicians and statisticians (Subset of NOC 2161)
  • •  Information systems analysts and consultants (NOC 2171)
  • •  Database analysts and data administrators (NOC 2172)
  • •  Software engineers and designers (NOC 2173)
  • •  Computer programmers and interactive media developers (NOC2174)
    •  Web designers and developers (NOC 2175)
    •  Computer Network technicians (NOC 2281)
    • Information systems testing technicians (NOC 2283)
    •  Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video games (Subset of NOC 5131)
    Digital Media and Design (Subset of NOC 5241)

In addition, the salary of the position must be equivalent to the occupation’s prevailing wage or higher.

Canada values talent

Canada seems to have an opportunity to become a leader in technology and innovation post-coronavirus.

The Global Talent Stream provides leeway for Canada to achieve this and roar louder.

Following the recent U.S. announcement, many highly talented individuals as well as employers may consider Canada as a more favourable option.

Another major benefit for such individuals is Canada also offers them a defined path to permanent residence. In a given year, some 60 per cent of the over 300,000 people who obtain Canadian permanent residence are economic class immigrants, many of whom are tech workers. If they are eligible for an Express Entry program, GTS workers can obtain
Canadian permanent residence within 6 months or less.

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