The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is Canada’s answer to an economy in need of highly-skilled workers. According to data released in June 2019, nearly 40,000 foreign workers had come to Canada through the Global Talent Stream over the previous two years. Of these newcomers to Canada, nearly 24,000 were highly skilled workers in occupations such as computer programming, information system analysis, and software engineering.

So, what’s the Global Talent Stream all about? As part of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, the Global Talent Stream is an immigration program that allows Canadian employers to expedite the hiring of foreign workers to fill specialised occupations when Canadians aren’t available for specific roles.

Canada aims to process Global Talent Stream work permit applications in only two weeks, making the program the fastest immigration pathway for eligible workers seeking a new life in Canada.

Consequently, it’s easy to see why more than 1,100 Canadian employers used the Global Talent Stream in its first two years. These employers have committed to creating more than 48,000 jobs and more than 12,500 paid co-op positions, while dedicating over $113 million in skills development and training.

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What is the Global Talent Stream?

Global Talent Streams applications are processed under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), a collection of work permit streams that brings newcomers to Canada on temporary work permits to fill specific labour needs. The Global Talent Stream is the wing of the TFWP for highly-skilled workers in specialised occupations, prioritising those with experience in engineering and tech-related fields.

The Global Talent Stream was fist introduced in June, 2017 and has since become a mainstay of Canada’s immigration strategy. The program is jointly managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Since being introduced, thousands of skilled foreign workers have successfully moved to Canada through the GTS, with many more workers expected to arrive in the years to come.

Why does Canada need the Global Talent Stream?

Canadians recognise the importance of immigration to the economy. With the highest job vacancy rate in decades, immigration is necessary in Canada to ensure the country has enough workers to fill its many open positions. The Global Talent Stream is one of the many ways in which Canada welcomes foreign workers.

The Global Talent Stream also helps Canada to remain competitive in the global market, especially with regards to Canada’s southern neighbour, the United States. In recent years, the United States has implemented increasingly restrictive immigration policies for their H-1B visa program which, similar to the Global Talent Stream in many way, has allowed skilled workers to work temporarily in the US.

Under the Trump Administration, H-1B visa applicants encountered the suspension of premium processing and an increase in the number of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and visa denials. With Canada’s increasingly relaxed immigration requirements and high rate of job openings, many skilled workers are choosing Canada over the United States in a phenomenon that’s been deemed Canada’s brain gain.

Another difference between the Global Talent Stream and the H-1B is that spouses and partners of GTS applicants bound for Canada may obtain an open work permit, allowing them to work in Canada for any employer and to switch jobs if they wish to do so; spouses and partners of H-1B workers bound for the US may experience difficulty in securing the right to work in the US.

The Global Talent Stream is an excellent option for Canadian employers who need to fill specialised positions quickly and for foreign nationals with highly-skilled work experience, especially in engineering and tech-related fields. In the next two sections, we’ll look over the eligibility requirements and application procedure for Canadian employers and for foreign workers.

How does the GTS work? – Employers

All TFWP immigration streams use Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs) to determine if a Canadian employer can hire a foreign worker. An LMIA is a document that assesses whether or not an available position can be filled by a Canadian worker. A positive LMIA indicates that there is no Canadian talent available to fill a position, thereby enabling the employer to hire a foreign worker.

Normally, an LMIA application takes months to prepare, submit, and process. With the Global Talent Stream, many steps to the LMIA application are removed and the processing time is much faster. This allows Canadian employers to remain competitive in the global market, quickly bringing in talent to fill labour market needs.

In order to be eligible for the Global Talent Stream, a Canadian employer must fit one of two categories:

Category A – Designated Partner Referral:

To be eligible through this category, the Canadian employer must be referred by one of the Global Talent Stream designated partner organisations, and be hiring unique and specialised talent. To find a referral, interested employers can consult the list of designated partners below and contact those most relevant to their industry.

Designated Partners - Global Talent Stream
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 Citizenship and Immigration – 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
As of June, 2020

To be considered unique and specialised talent, the employee being hired must be paid a minimum of CAD $80,000 per year (or higher if the occupation’s annual prevailing wage is above this level), plus demonstrate advanced knowledge of the industry through either an advanced degree in a specialised area or at least five years of experience in a specialised position.

Category B – In-Demand Occupation:

To be eligible through this category, the Canadian employer must be hiring to fill a position on the Global Talent Occupations List, a list of high-skilled, in-demand occupations. In addition, the position must pay a salary equal to or above the prevailing wage for the position.

Global Talent Occupations List
NOC CodeOccupationMinimum Wage Requirement (annual)Minimum Wage Requirement (hourly)
0213Computer and information systems managersPrevailing wagePrevailing wage
2147Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)Prevailing wagePrevailing wage
Sub-set of 2161*Mathematicians and statisticians (Positions for actuaries or related occupations are excluded from this subset)Prevailing wagePrevailing wage
2171Information systems analysts and consultantsPrevailing wagePrevailing wage
2172Database analysts and data administratorsPrevailing wagePrevailing wage
2173Software engineers and designersPrevailing wagePrevailing wage
2174Computer programmers and interactive media developersPrevailing wagePrevailing wage
2175Web designers and developersPrevailing wagePrevailing wage
2281Computer network technicians$82,000 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
$39.42 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
2283Information systems testing technicians$80,000 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
$38.46 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
Sub-set of 5131Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager – Visual effects and video game (The position requires 3+ years of experience in the visual effects, video game and/or animation industries)
$78,000 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
$37.50 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
Sub-set of 5241Digital media designers (The position requires 3+ years of job 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)$80,000 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
$38.46 or higher prevailing wage
(Please note Quebec has unique wage requirements)
Last updated June, 2020

Once an employer has confirmed their eligibility for one of the two streams, they can begin their Global Talent Stream application. The application form is available on the GTS webpage and can be submitted online, by mail, or by fax. The application requires information regarding the employer, the foreign worker, as well as the job offer, including details about compensation and benefits.

All employers applying to Global Talent Stream for the first time must also submit a Labour Market Benefits Plan demonstrating how they will benefit the Canadian labour market by hiring a foreign worker. Each application must identify one mandatory benefit. For Category A, employers must show how they will increase job creation for Canadians and for Category B, employers must show how they will increase skills and training investment for Canadians. Additionally, employers must show how they will achieve two complementary benefits from this list:

  • Job creation
  • Investment in skills and training
  • Increase in workplace diversity
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Enhanced company performance
  • Best company practices or policies

Finally, employers must pay a processing fee of CAD $1,000 per foreign national they wish to hire.

Global Talent Stream applications are typically processed within 10 business days. If an application is successful, the employer will receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which enables the foreign worker to apply for a work permit. Work permit applications that are submitted for a Global Talent Stream position also qualify for expedited processing: averaging 10 business days!

Employers in Quebec

Employers in Quebec wishing to hire through the Global Talent Stream also have to submit an application to Quebec’s immigration authorities, as Quebec jointly manages immigration applications with the federal government.

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How does the Global Talent Stream work? – Foreign Workers

As a foreign worker, the first thing to understand is that you cannot apply directly to the Global Talent Stream. Only a Canadian employer can apply to the Global Talent Stream, and the foreign worker(s) they wish to hire are listed on the application. This means that if you want to get a Global Talent Stream work permit, your first goal should be to land a job offer from a Canadian employer who qualifies for the program.

As discussed above, there are two Global Talent Stream categories through which a Canadian employer can apply.

  • Category A is for employers who are referred by designated partners of the Global Talent Stream and who are hiring unique and specialised talent.
  • Category B is for employers who are hiring for positions on the Global Talent Occupations List.

If you are a worker hoping to find a job offer that qualifies under the Global Talent Stream, you should check to see if you meet the definition of “unique and specialised talent” or if your occupation falls on the Global Talent Occupations List.

If you believe that you meet the conditions for one of the Global Talent Stream categories, then your next step is securing a job offer. In addition to building your network of contacts, we also suggest consulting the Moving2Canada Jobs Board to search for available positions. The Government of Canada also operates a Job Bank database where you may be able to find positions aligned with the Global Talent Stream.

Again, you cannot apply directly to the Global Talent Stream, so after securing a job offer, your potential employer will have to submit an application that includes your information. If the employer’s application is successful, they will receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). You can use this LMIA to apply for a Canadian work permit that will be processed in around 10 business days.

Once you are approved to obtain a work permit, you’ll be authorised to travel to Canada and start your new job!

It’s also worth noting that even though the Global Talent Stream only results in a temporary work permit, the program is an excellent pathway to permanent immigration to Canada. Many Canadian immigration programs require a person to have one year of Canadian work experience in order to qualify. This includes the Canadian Experience Class of Express Entry, as well as a host of Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams. Once you have a year of experience, chances are you’ll be in a great position to pursue Canadian permanent resident status.

Canada is on track to welcome more than one million new immigrants between 2021 and 2023, with nearly two-thirds of those immigrants coming through economic streams. In the current immigration system, young, highly-skilled workers with Canadian experience are prioritised for permanent immigration, so participating in Global Talent Stream is a smart way to set yourself up for a future in Canada.

If you want to learn more about the Canadian immigration process, register for a Moving2Canada account! You’ll receive our Getting Started Guide, as well as regular updates about important updates to Canadian immigration programs.

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