What is the change? Canada launched its Global Skills Strategy program Monday, aiming to help select companies more easily recruit workers in recognized professions.

What does the change mean? The program’s overarching goals include: (1) identifying companies that make significant investments in the Canadian economy; (2) exempting certain jobs from standard recruiting requirements; (3) setting a two-week period for processing time for visas and work permits for qualifying applicants; and (4) introducing new short-term work authorization exemptions.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas and work permits for foreign nationals who are recruited by designated companies in qualifying occupations.
  • Who is affected: Companies that are referred to the program by partners working with Canadian authorities and foreign nationals coming to Canada to fill in-demand positions.
  • Impact on processing times: The processing time of two weeks (10 business days) is significantly faster than standard processing times.
  • Business impact: The changes offer the potential to provide significant benefits to designated employers who rely on high-skilled foreign workers.

Background: Canadian officials announced plans for the new Global Skills Strategy in March, but provided few details on how the program would work. Officials provided more information Monday, saying:

  • Authorities will work with a range of partners to identify companies that are eligible for the program. Agreements are in place with a number of partners already. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said it has identified other possible partners and says its goal “is to have referral partners in all parts of the country with the significant knowledge and insight needed to refer companies” to the program.
  • Expedited processing will be available to workers applying for jobs with employers who are approved for the Global Talent Stream program, as well as for workers applying through the International Mobility Program who have jobs at skill type 0 (executive or managerial) or skill level A (professional) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The two-week processing times will also apply to dependent family members.
  • The short-term work authorization exemption will apply to NOC 0 and NOC A workers. Eligible workers will be permitted one 15-day work authorization exemption for every six-month period or one 30-day exemption for every 12-month period.
  • A separate work authorization exemption will be provided to researchers working on projects at public, degree-granting institutions or affiliated research institutions. Researchers who qualify for this exemption will be permitted to work in Canada without a work permit for 120 days in every 12-month period.

BAL Analysis: The Global Skills Strategy has the potential to significantly help qualifying companies recruit high-skilled, in-demand workers. Both the faster processing times and the short-term work authorization will make it easier for eligible companies to meet workforce demands.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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