Published on: Jun 15, 2017
Canada's fast-track visa program officially launched on June 12th but the news first broke in November 2016 as part of the Government's budget update. Now that Canada has officially launched the fast-track visa program, it's set to play a valuable part in the Government's Global Skills Strategy.
The program has the overall goal of helping Canadian businesses to attract high-quality global talent and this fast-track Canada visa system has been appropriately called the Global Talent Stream and is part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. It's designed to assist with Canadian immigration and provide a process time of up to two weeks, the aim being to attract highly skilled workers to come to the country and make a valuable contribution to the economy. The program's implementation has been eagerly awaited and $7.8 million has been allocated for the initial 2-year pilot phase. This is extremely important because the Information and Communications Technology Council had previously predicted a shortfall of 200,000 workers in the technology field by the time 2020 comes around.
To mark the new fast-track visa, Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, attended Toronto's OneEleven, a community of the country's leading high-growth technology startup companies. He said that The Global Skills Strategy will enable all employers to attract worldwide talent and maintain growth rates on the basis that they're significant investors in the skills of Canadian workers.
While you might think that this is robbing Canadians of jobs, in fact, bringing in top talent from other countries can result in a higher number of quality jobs for Canadians. When new talented individuals come to Canada, they can pass on their knowledge to Canadians. This gives rise to more job opportunities for the country's citizens and helps companies to expand, leading to the creation of more jobs.
Many people believe that the old work permit system was seriously outdated and detrimental to Canada immigration as well as to Canadian economic growth. This is because, up to now, it's taken too long to process work permits for those valued skilled workers who could help grow a small to medium-sized business into a much larger company, allowing these companies to then go on to successfully challenge in the world's international markets.
The new visa program has taken quite a long time to implement. One of the reasons is that the Government has been consulting with the Canadian business community on the best way to organize the program to maximize the intended benefit to Canada immigration. In March, in a progress bulletin, the Government said it was developing, in conjunction with those who are experienced in the labor market, a Global Talent List of occupations able to take advantage of the program. The Global Talent Stream would be open to foreign workers with executive and managerial experience and the two-week processing standard would also apply to the families of the workers.
One tech startup called Unbounce said they were excited by the Global Talent Stream and believed it would be fantastic for Canada’s technology sector, ensuring that companies have the ability to quickly and efficiently attract, recruit, and retain top global technical talent. However, some experts on innovation policy say the new measures won't deliver the long-term recruitment solutions needed by Canadian businesses.
The Global Talent Stream is available to employers who meet one of two criteria. First of all, employers must show their need for foreign workers with specific skills. Designated partner organizations of Employment and Social Development Canada can then refer them to the program. These specific skill sets are set out in the ESDC's Global Talent Occupations List and include high-tech roles like those of software engineers, digital media designers, and web developers.
The Global Skills Strategy also allows an exemption permit for Short Duration Work, which applies to work terms of fewer than 30 days in a year or brief academic stays.
For example, researchers coming to Canada will be permitted one 120-day stay every 12 months without the need for a work permit when working on a research project at a publicly-funded institution or affiliated research institution offering degree courses.
Additionally, Startups interested in a Global Skills work permit need to apply through a Government service channel and present a Labor Market Benefits Plan. In return, applicant companies will receive a prescribed quantity of permits and requirements for enabling flexible recruitment. The Government also wants to recruit those in Canada who have the appropriate knowledge to recommend possible eligible companies to the Global Talent Stream service channel.
Many people believe that President Trump's new policies have led to foreign workers in the U.S. having more interest in working in Canada. Most noteworthy in terms of the Canada eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) and the traditional visa systems is that the Canada eTA system and visa application process remain unchanged and this new fast-track Canada visa system is specifically for skilled foreign workers entering certain Canadian industries.