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Canadian Employers: What you need to know about the Global Talent Stream

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Whether you’ve heard about the Global Talent Stream or not, I’m sure you can agree that hiring and keeping amazing tech talent is as competitive as ever in Canada. Because of this, the Canadian government implemented a new work permit program last summer — the Global Talent Stream (GTS) — to combat the difficulties Canadian tech companies are facing.

This article will briefly introduce what you need to know about the GTS and the benefits it could provide to your company. If you'd like to learn more, feel free to reach out and I'd be happy to go into further detail.

The Global Talent Stream — Key Facts

The GTS is a 2-year pilot program that provides eligible Canadian companies a way to hire foreign tech talent in as little as 3–4 weeks for 80% of applications. Here are the 3 most important things to know:

1. You need to be eligible

There are two ways to be eligible for the Global Talent Stream.

Under Category A (the less common route), you are:

  • Referred by one of the GTS designated partners (for example, BDC or MaRs Discovery District. For the full list, see here)

AND

  • Hiring someone with advanced knowledge of their industry, an advanced degree in their industry OR 5 years of experience in that industry, and a highly paid position of $80,000 or more.

Under Category B (the more common route): you are hiring one of these 11 tech roles considered in high demand by the Canadian government (don’t worry — software engineers, computer programmers and the other usual suspects are on the list).

2. You Will Work With Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

The most important part of the GTS application is the Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP). With the help of ESDC, you will develop an LMBP by committing to 3 benefits that ensure your hire contributes a positive impact on the Canadian labour market.

Examples include increasing skills and training investments for Canadians, hiring additional Canadian employees, and increasing growth of revenue, employment or investment at your company. The list is not exhaustive and the assistance of a professional will make the application much easier. You can expect this plan to take a few hours of your time to flesh out with a professional, and a phone call every 6 months to participate in an audit.

Note: this isn’t a traditional application where you send it in, cross your fingers and pray for a positive response. Instead, you will receive a call from ESDC to assist in completing the application so it’s approved within their target processing time of 10 days.

3. Fee

Applying through the GTS costs $1,000 per employee you hire, and then another $155 to get their individual work permit. You can also apply through the GTS for multiple employees at the same time, including employees you may not have hired yet — shortening the overall process.

For more info on fees, eligibility or other details of the GTS program, shoot me an email at the contact info at the end of the article.

Why the Global Talent Stream?

Despite the obvious reason of needing tech talent as soon as possible, there are other great benefits to the program.

Loyalty

Canadians in particular are well below the global average in terms of loyalty to their employers.(1) Not only will your foreign employees be more loyal, they’re also linked to your company for the duration of the GTS permit (2 years). For this reason, even if they wanted to switch jobs they’d have to apply and get approved for a new work permit with a new employer first.

Diversity

It’s no secret that diversity is a good thing — but studies also prove that “companies with an ethnically diverse labour force perform better financially than those with more homogeneous workforces.”(2)

A recent report from the BDC claims “that diverse teams are more effective. The quality of their output is better and their engagement is deeper. A diverse workforce is also better positioned to understand and anticipate the needs of an increasingly diverse marketplace.”(3)

Untapped Market

The same BDC report also found that “only 6% of [respondent entrepreneurs] reported that they are relying on immigrant workers to fill their needs for skilled employees.”(3) With an increase in immigration numbers continuing in Canada(4) and a lack of Canadian companies taking advantage of this new talent stream, your company can get ahead of the competition by targeting foreign skilled workers.

What’s Next?

If you’re struggling to fill tech roles, the GTS can be a great solution for your company. A simple first step is to start considering foreign applicants for roles you are looking to fill now that you know how much quicker the process can be.

I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have - shoot me an email at josh@joshuaschachnowlaw.com to discuss further. I've helped multiple companies through the process and would love to share my experiences.

Thanks for reading.

(1)ADP Canada, Me vs. We: Disconnect Between Employees and Employers Leads to Wandering Eyes in Canadian Workplaces, February 2018

(2)McKinsey & Company, Diversity Matters, February 2015

(3)Business Development Bank of Canada, Future-Proof Your Business, October 2017

(4)https://globalnews.ca/news/3836805/340k-immigrants-per-year-by-2020-government-unveils-new-immigration-targets/

joshua schachnow