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Canada’s New Work Permit Rules For Hiring Foreign Global Talent

Global Talent Stream

On June 12, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced a new two-year pilot project within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program – the Global Talent Stream – as part of the Global Skills Strategy. This stream is meant to provide innovative firms in Canada with a faster way of hiring highly skilled foreign talent, in the event that Canadian citizens or permanent residents are not available to fill these skilled positions.

The Global Talent Stream is available to two (2) categories of employers:

Category A: Firms in Canada that are referred to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s Global Talent Stream by an Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Designated Partner because they are innovative and can demonstrate a need to hire unique and specialized temporary foreign workers in order to scale-up and grow. Unique and specialized talent is indicated by advanced knowledge of the industry, an advanced degree in an area of specialization of interest to the employer, and/or a minimum of five years of experience in the field of specialization, and a highly paid position with a salary of usually $80,000 or more.

Category B: Firms in Canada that need to hire foreign workers for highly skilled in-demand occupations found on ESDC’s Global Talent Occupations List where there is insufficient domestic labour supply.

Regardless of whether an employer is submitting an application under Category A or Category B, an employer will be required to demonstrate labour market benefits and provide details of the employer’s commitment to activities that will have a lasting, positive impact on the Canadian labour market.

Commitments within the Labour Market Benefits Plan are divided into mandatory and complementary benefits.

Mandatory Benefits: Under Category A, employers must commit to creating jobs, either directly or indirectly for Canadians and permanent residents. Under Category B, employers must commit to increasing skills and training investments for Canadians and permanent residents.

Complementary Benefits: In addition to the mandatory benefits for the appropriate category, every employer must also commit to achieving a minimum of two (2) complementary benefits with at least one (1) activity for each benefit. Complementary benefits cannot be the same as the mandatory benefits and can include, but are not limited to, job creation, investment in skills and training, transferring knowledge to Canadians and permanent residents, enhanced company performance and implementing best practices or policies for workforce.

The progress of an employer’s Labour Market Benefits Plan will be monitored/audited at regular intervals to allow ESDC to assess the performance of the Global Talent Stream and to determine an employer’s continued eligibility.

In addition to submitting a completed Labour Market Benefits Plan, employers will be required to demonstrate:

• Active engagement in the business where the temporary foreign worker will be employed;

• Recruitment of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. While there is no minimum recruitment requirement for the Global Talent Stream, employers will be asked to describe any recruitment efforts conducted;

• Wages to be paid to the temporary foreign worker are similar to those paid to Canadian and permanent resident employees hired for the same job and work location, and with similar skills and years of experience. Employers must pay the temporary foreign worker the prevailing wage for their position, which is defined as the highest of: the median wage on Job Bank; the wage that is within the wage range that an employer is paying its current employees hired for the same job and work location, and with the same skills and year of experience; or the applicable wage floor as identified in the Global Talent Occupations List;

• The occupation, including job duties and working conditions, for which the temporary foreign worker is hired;

• Provincial or territorial workplace safety insurance coverage for the temporary foreign worker, where required by law; and

• The position requires only the use of English or French. If another language is essential for the job, a justification must be provided.

As with Labour Market Impact Assessments, employers must pay a processing fee in the amount of $1,000 for each position requested under the Global Talent Stream. Applications submitted under the Global Talent Stream will be processed by ESDC within ten (10) business days, 80% of the time. The 10-business day service standard begins the day after an application is received.

New Work Permit-Exempt Categories

On June 12, 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also introduced new work permit exemption categories as part of the Global Skills Strategy. The purpose of this provision is to facilitate legitimate short-term work of high-skilled individuals coming to Canada.

Two new categories of workers are now exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit:

1. High-skilled workers whose occupation qualifies under either NOC 0 or NOC A categories. Foreign nationals eligible for this category may only enter Canada for the following duration:
a. One short-term work assignment of 15 days (once every six months); or

b. One short-term work assignment of 30 days (once every 12 months).

2. Researchers who will be performing research at the invitation of a publicly-funded degree granting Canadian post-secondary institution or affiliated research institution may enter Canada for 120 days in a 12 month period.

Foreign nationals eligible under this public policy are subject to all other legislative admissibility and selection requirements not exempted under this public policy and must obtain, visas or eTAs, as applicable. Applicant must provide documentation in support of their application for a work permit exemption.

Foreign nationals who do not meet the above work permit-exempt criteria will continue to require a work permit.

For more information regarding the above noted changes please contact Jacqueline Bart and the BartLAW team.

BartLAW News

• BartLAW received the 2017 Global Law Experts Annual Client Choice award – Immigration Law Firm of the Year in Canada

• Jacqueline Bart presented on the Canadian immigration topic: “Post-Work Permit Foreign Workers Legal Issues” at AILA GMS conference, June 21, 2017, New Orleans, USA.