This content is made possible by our sponsors. Learn more about our OBJ360 content studio here.

Winning the talent war may be simpler than you think, thanks to the Global Talent Stream program

Immigration lawyer Warren Creates says more employers should take advantage

Lawyer and foreign talent immigration specialist Warren Creates discusses Global Talent Stream
Warren Creates, head of the Immigration Law Group at Perley Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l and certified specialist

The war for highly skilled tech talent is real.

Warren Creates, head of the Immigration Law Group at Perley Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l and certified specialist wants employers to know that the Global Talent Stream (GTS) program is the fastest and most efficient way to hire foreign talent in specialized occupations.

“Anytime that we can recommend a way to circumnavigate the standard Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), we’ll do it,” said Creates. 

He is talking about the process employers have traditionally followed when hiring talent from another country. The position has to be posted for 28 days in Canada first and requires the employer to document why no domestic applicants were suitable before they can justify hiring from abroad.

The goal was to ensure Canadians were considered first for highly skilled positions — an understandable approach at the time it was created. Since then, the lengthy process could result in Canadian companies losing out on the talent they need to grow their businesses. 

But the federal government found a way to help employers hire foreign talent faster, while still protecting the Canadian workforce and economy. 

How the Global Talent Stream gives back to Canada

Creates says the simplest way to take advantage of the Global Talent Stream, which launched in 2017, is to consult the “in-demand occupations list”, a resource that is updated annually.

Current occupations include civil engineers, computer and information systems managers and digital media designers to name a few.

The GTS helps employers give back by requiring them to complete a Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP) instead of embarking on a lengthy public recruitment campaign.

“These plans are commitments from the employer to transfer the new skills and knowledge through training and development to their employees and co-op students,” said Creates.

Employers develop their LMBP collaboratively with Service Canada. Once they agree on the plan, the approvals tend to be swift — meaning within days or weeks instead of months.

“If the foreign worker comes from a non-visa required country, we can put them on an airplane the next day,” said Creates. “The work permit can be issued at the airport in under an hour.”

The benefits to the Canadian labour market have been significant. “Employers have committed to creating 48,000 new jobs, 12,500 new co-op positions, and invested $113 million in skills development and training,” said Creates. 

He calls it the multiplier effect. “When a business brings in a programmer, that person will help grow the revenue of the company, which will be used to hire new people,” said Creates. “All boats float higher.”

How to take advantage of the GTS

The GTS can be accessed via two paths. 

Category A involves engaging a ‘designated partner’. The Category B path involves using the list of designated occupations. 

Creates says Category B is the simplest place to start.  However, it is not enough to have a need — employers have to prove they are a legitimate business. 

While this is fairly easy for a multinational, smaller companies must show they have established a track record of customers, revenue and expenses, current employees and a CRA number they have used to file tax returns.

This proves the employer can pay the market salary the GTS requires. “They don’t want companies to hire someone quickly by promising a high salary, but then knock it down once they arrive,” said Creates.

Random audits are conducted to prevent that kind of fraud — the penalties are severe when a company intentionally misleads the worker or the program.

The bottom line for Creates is that the Global Talent Stream program is being underutilized: in 2021 only 4.8 per cent of the total work permits were issued to highly-skilled temporary foreign workers, which includes this stream.

“There’s no cap, so there’s no limit on the number of people who can be recruited via this program,” said Creates. “That number could grow considerably if more people were aware of it.”

If you need help sourcing the best talent for your business from abroad, contact Warren Creates to learn more.