The Government of Canada has announced the details of the newly implemented Global Skills Strategy (GSS). The GSS is an effort involving two departments that work separately on the admission of foreign nationals to work in Canada, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). IRCC is offering work permit exemptions to certain classes of short term work in Canada and two-week (10 business day) processing of certain classes of work permit applications through a Dedicated Service Channel; ESDC is offering a new stream of application in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program which allows employers who are nominated by partner-agencies or certain occupations to receive expedited Labour Market Impact Assessments.
Exemptions from the requirement of a work permit are now possible in the cases of some very-short duration assignments in Canada in professional or managerial occupations (National Occupational Classification 0 or A). This is possible for assignments of 1-15 days (consecutive calendar) every six months (i.e., six months having passes since the first day of work under prior application under this provision), or for assignments of 16-30 days every 12 months. This applies to applications on or after June 12 2017, and does not apply to inland applications (i.e., applicant must be applying from outside of Canada), nor does it allow for extension.
For foreign nationals working primarily in research at a publicly funded, degree granting institution at the college or university level, or a research institution affiliated with such, exemptions of 120 consecutive calendar days every 12 months are now possible. The academic credentials, expertise, and role of the candidate in the project will all factor into the decision on admissibility under these provisions. Once again, inland applications or renewal are not allowed.
ESDC Global Talent Stream
The government has identified 14 referral partners across the country that may nominate Canadian employers that are innovative for “Category A” the Global Talent Stream (GTS). Innovative employers will be given access to expedited (10 business day) processing of Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications for candidates with unique and specialized abilities. Industry knowledge and experience, education credentials, and wages are all considerations in eligibility for these candidates.
For employers who are not necessarily nominated by the referral partners, the “Category B” of the GTS remains available for employers seeking LMIAs for the following occupations at the prevailing wage, when Canadians are not available for the work:
- Computer and information systems managers
- Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
- Information systems analysts and consultants
- Database analysts and data administrators
- Software engineers and designers
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers
- Web designers and developers
- Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
- Information systems testing technicians
- Digital Media and Design
Employers in the GTS will need to document Labour Market Benefit Plans (LMBP) that satisfies the government that there is a sufficient commitment to activities that will have long term benefits to the Canadian labour market. Such Plans will be used to track benefits to the Canadian economy through eligible employers’ employment of highly-skilled foreign nationals, either through direct or indirect creation of jobs (mandatory of Category A)or increasing skills and training investments for Canadians (mandatory of Category A). The LMPB must also contain two complementary benefits, examples of which may be job creation, investment in skills and training, transferring knowledge to Canadians and permanent residents, enhanced company performance and implementing best practices or policies as an employer for your workforce. LMBP progress will be evaluated by the government on a regular basis to allow employers to remain in the program.
A mandatory requirement of the LMIA process, recruitment for Canadians prior to application, will not apply for cases under the GTS (apart from unionized positions). However, employers will still be required to provide an informal summary of recruiting efforts. Other standard LMIA requirements such as prevailing wage, language restrictions, and Employer Compliance obligations will remain intact.