The Global Talent Stream (GTS) pilot program has just had its one-year anniversary. This successful program has given employers the ability to gain a strategic advantage in the race to attract global talent in key areas including the information technology sector. The program is generally based on the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process however processing is expedited, the recruiting efforts have been replaced with a separate set of eligibility criteria, and the Transition Plan has been replaced with the Labour Market Benefits plan. GTS has two separate streams in order to best address divergent labour market needs.
Stream A can include a position under any NOC code but is designed to assist companies in bringing unique and specialized talent into Canada. The focus is on positions that create jobs in Canada. This program is for people who are key, lynch pin employees with expertise that can make or break a business. It is anticipated that a single company won’t have need for more than one or two of these types of employees. More than two applications can be made, but the more employees you wish to bring in under this category the higher the thresholds for approval.
IRCC has accepted the fact that they may not have the expertise to assess the skill sets and the potential for success for these specialized positions, and so has engaged business partner organizations who have the ability determine these factors. A company must first make application to the business partner who will refer the company to the GTS program.
Note that all business partners are not created equal. They each have an area of specialization and it is important to choose the business partner most closely aligns with your business objectives to increase the chance of referral. In addition, each business partner has its own process for determining if they should grant the referral even though the base criteria remain the same. As such, the information and documental requests will very between partners.
Stream B is based on a specific list of eligible in demand occupations and does not require a referral from a designated business partner. Each occupation has a specific minimum salary requirement (often the prevailing wage), and some require minimum experience levels. The eligible occupations mostly revolve around the information technology sector, however the occupations list has just been updated to include engineering managers, architects and science managers, mathematicians and statisticians.
A key feature in this program is the Labour Market Benefits plan. This plan meant to show a company’s commitment to creating positive impacts on the Canadian labour market and to help ESDC and the employer effectively track job creation and training investments. The plan must include one mandatory benefit (these are different for each stream), and at least two complimentary benefits, although companies are encouraged to include more.
If a second application is made under this program for the same company, the previously submitted benefits plan will be reviewed but a new plan does not necessarily need to be submitted. Reviews of the plan will occur approximately every six months to track progress. It is unclear how long the reviews will continue under this program although the timing of the review is not limited by when your employee receives their work permit or whether they obtain permanent residence in Canada.
So, what’s the difference between a Labour Market Benefits Plan and a Transition Plan under the standard LMIA application? It seems to be perspective. Under the Benefits Plan the assumption is that the employee will remain in Canada and create new jobs, in the Transition Plan the activities are meant to find a Canadian based applicant who will eventually fill the existing role when the foreign national moves on.
The GTS pilot was introduced as a two-year program. ESDC should announce whether the program will be extended sometime in the spring of 2019.
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