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Canada Announces Implementation of Global Skills Strategy

23 Jun

Canada has recently announced the implementation of a Global Skills Strategy aimed at prioritizing the adjudication of work permit applications in key “high-demand” occupations. As part of the new Strategy, the LMIA process will be streamlined through the removal of standard recruitment activities for certain qualifying employers. Additionally, certain work permit applications will be able to be placed in a “fast track” stream for adjudication within 10 business days. There has also been two new work permit exemptions created to facilitate the short term transfer of certain “skilled occupations”.

Global Talent Stream Provides Simplified LMIA Process

As part of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, the Canadian government has implemented a pilot program, the Global Talent Stream (GTS). Notably, Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications that qualify under the GTS will be exempt from the normal recruitment requirements, meaning that advertisements will not need to be placed for qualifying LMIAs. Additionally, LMIAs under this category will be adjudicated by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 10 business days.

There are two methods by which companies can be eligible to file LMIAs under the GTS:

  • Category A: High-growth companies that have a need for foreign “in-demand talent” in order to generate growth. Companies in any sector may be eligible for category A as long as they have been identified as high growth, recommended to the GTS by a designated referral partner, and the company provides evidence that they are hiring “unique and specialized talent” and paying a high wage.
  • Category B: Companies requiring high-skilled foreign nationals for occupations on the Skills Shortage List. A company will qualify for category B if it demonstrates a need for global talent to fill high-skilled occupations that are on the shortage list and are willing to pay at least the required prevailing wage.

Two Week Adjudication of Certain Applications

Another component of the GTS is the creation of a fast-track stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that establishes a two-week standard adjudication timeframe for work permit applications in certain highly skilled occupations for employers that have been approved under the GTS program.

In order to qualify for the two week adjudication, the work permit application must be eligible in one of two ways:

  1. Be LMIA exempt (i.e. intra-company transferee, treaty based visa category, Canadian interest, etc.) and the employer-specific job offer must fall under either the Skill Type 0 (managerial) or Skill Level A (professional) classification of the National Occupation Classification (NOC); or
  2. Receive a positive LMIA for an employer-specific job eligible under the GTS.

Work Permit Exemptions

As of June 12, 2017, two work permit exemptions went into effect for worker occupations classified as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A in the National Occupation Classification (NOC). Workers in these classifications may enter Canada for one 15-day stay in a six-month period, or one 30 day stay in a 12-month period without a work permit. In addition, individuals working on a research project at a publicly funded, degree-granting institution, may enter for a period of 120 days in a 12-month period without a work permit.

Foster will continue to monitor the implementation of the Global Skills Strategy and all changes to Canadian immigration processes and requirements. Future updates will be made available via our website at www.fosterglobal.com or Immigration Updates©.