What is the change? Canada is set to launch a new Global Skills Strategy in June aimed at helping high-growth companies more easily recruit workers in recognized in-demand professions.

What does the change mean? Key details of the program remain unavailable, but its overarching goals include: (1) designating “high-growth” firms that make significant investments in the Canadian economy; (2) developing a list of in-demand occupations that would be exempt from standard advertising requirements; (3) setting a two-week period for processing time for visas and work permits application from qualifying firms recruiting workers in in-demand occupations; and (4) introducing a work authorization exemption for high-skilled foreign nationals coming to Canada for 30 days or less in a one-year period.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. Officials said in March that the program would be launched June 12, though key details remain unavailable.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas and work permits for foreign nationals who are recruited by designated high-growth firms in in-demand occupations.
  • Who is affected: Firms designated as high-growth that are recruiting and hiring foreign nationals in in-demand occupations.
  • Impact on processing times: The processing time of two weeks (10 business days) is significantly faster than standard processing times.
  • Business impact: The changes outlined above offer the potential to provide significant benefits to high-growth employers who rely on high-skilled foreign workers, though more will be known about how businesses might benefit once additional details are provided.

Background: Canadian officials announced plans for the new Global Skills Strategy in March. Little guidance is available at this point, however, as to how firms would qualify as high-growth or how the list of in-demand occupations will be put together. Only when this information becomes available will it become clearer who stands to benefit from the program. The 30-day work permit exemption will make it easier for employers to recruit certain foreign workers for short-term work assignments, but it is not clear at this point who will determine whether workers are “high skilled” and, therefore, eligible for the exemption.

BAL Analysis: The Global Skills Strategy has the potential to significantly help qualifying companies recruit high-skilled, in-demand foreign labor. BAL will provide more information as it becomes available, including information that will help determine what kind of firms will be eligible for the program and what kinds of workers will be considered in-demand.

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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