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Global Skills Strategy (Global Talent Stream)

Initially announced in November 2016, the Canadian government launched its new Global Skills Strategy to promote global investment in Canada and facilitate faster entry into Canada for top international talent. This Strategy was developed to give Canadian employers a faster and more predictable process to attract global talent and individuals with specific skills to Canada.

In terms of international mobility, the Global Skills Strategy includes the following important changes:

  • Two new work permit exemptions for short-term work in Canada;

  • Two-week work permit processing times for eligible high-skilled workers under the existing International Mobility Program; and

  • The creation of a Global Talent Stream for skilled occupations in shortage and for employers with unique talent needs.

New Work Permit Exemptions

Two new work permit exemptions were implemented with the launch of the Global Skills Strategy and these exemptions apply to:

  • Highly-skilled workers (all individuals whose jobs are listed under NOC 0 or A) – will be allowed one 15-day work permit-exempt stay in Canada every six months, OR one 30-day work permit-exempt stay every 12 months.

  • Researchers – will be permitted one 120-day stay every 12 months without requiring a work permit when working on a research project at a publicly funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.

Two-week processing times at visa offices for highly skilled workers

The new Two-week processing will be available to workers who comply with the following requirements: 1) they are applying from outside Canada; 2) they are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment process via the International Mobility Program; 3) their job is listed NOC 0 or A; AND 4) the work permit will be employer specific and the employer has submitted an offer of employment using the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee ($230 CAD). The two-week service standard would also apply to immediate family members accompanying high-skilled worker to Canada.

The Global Talent Stream

One of the pillars of the Strategy is the new Global Talent Stream. This stream will assist Canadian employers by providing them with expedited access to in-demand global talent. There are two distinct categories under the global talent stream:

  • Category A applies to employers who were referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of Employment and Social Development Canada's (ESDC) designated partners AND who are hiring unique and specialized talent to scale-up or grow.

  • Category B applies to employers seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers to fill positions in occupations found on the *global talent occupations list.

To participate in the Global Talent Stream, employers are required to pay a $1,000 CAD fee per applicant and work with ESDC to develop a labour market benefits plan, which is meant to demonstrate their commitment to activities that will have lasting, positive impacts on the Canadian labour market.

As the Global Talent Stream does not require a minimum recruitment obligation or the need to provide a transition plan, Canadian employers can expect to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment with a service standard of 10 business days within 10 days. The service standard for work permit processing is 10 days from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

*Global Talent Occupations List.

NOC Code



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

Sub-set of 5131

Producers, technical, creative and artistic directors and project

managers – Visual effects and video game

Sub-set of 5241

Digital media designers