Everything you need to know about the Global Talent Stream work permit in Canada

The H1B selection lottery is just that – a game of chance. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

If you are an American company whose employee(s) did not get accepted into the H1B cap registration for this year, there may still be a way for you to secure this specialized talent via Canada’s Global Talent Stream (GTS) and have them work for you remotely from Canada.

What is the Global Talent Stream?

The GTS is a part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that aims to help Canadian firms secure the specialized foreign talent they need to innovate and scale. There are two ways to apply for this program: companies can either be referred to Employment and Social Development Canada by a designated referral partner (Category A), or they may be looking to fill an in-demand skilled role (Category B).

How can the Global Talent Stream help American employers?

// It may very well be worth it if your business needs highly specialized talent and you lose out on outstanding foreign talent every year with the lottery.

If your H1B registration was unsuccessful, you will not be able to sponsor a foreign worker through your American entity – at least for this year. However, what you can do is establish an affiliate, subsidiary or branch of your company in Canada that can sponsor your desired employees’ work permits.

While this approach may involve more upfront legwork for American entities with no presence in Canada, it may very well be worth it if your business needs highly specialized talent and you lose out on outstanding foreign talent every year with the lottery.

Eligibility for Category A applicants

As mentioned above, businesses must be referred to Employment and Social Development Canada. At the time of the referral, eligible businesses must be focused on innovation and already be operating in Canada. The employers must be referred by one of the designated referral partners that will vouch for in terms of legitimacy and eligibility for Category A.

Designated partners include:

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (pan-Canadian)
  • Invest in Canada (pan-Canadian)
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (Atlantic region)
  • Ignite Fredericton (New Brunswick)
  • Government of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (Nova Scotia)
  • Government of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade – Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (Ontario)
  • Government of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade – Ontario Investment Office (Ontario)
  • Canadian Economic Development for Quebec Regions (Quebec)
  • Government of Alberta, Alberta Labour and Immigration (Alberta)
  • Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology (B.C.)
  • Economic Development Winnipeg (Manitoba)
  • Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of the Economy (Saskatchewan)
  • Montreal International
  • Quebec International

Eligibility for Category B applicants

Eligibility for this category relies on the Global Talent Occupations List, which is composed of in-demand roles that cannot be filled by local talent alone. Many of these occupations are related to programming and tech, including IT analysts/consultants, computer engineers, and web designers/developers, the very same professions that are coveted under the H1B program.

Most applicants end up applying via Category B. To qualify, they must:

  • Be operating in Canada
  • Be willing and able to grow/scale
  • Be seeking to fill a “unique and specialized” role
  • Have identified a specific foreign worker who is qualified to fill said role
  • Be willing to pay the prevailing wage in the region where the foreign worker will be assigned.

The Labour Market Benefits Plan

With the help of Employment and Social Development Canada, applicants are required to develop a plan that illustrates how they plan to conduct business activities that will positively impact the Canadian economy in the long term.

Category A businesses must commit to creating jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, while Category B businesses are required to increase Canadian workers’ skills and provide training. Both categories are required to list additional benefits (and proposed activities to support those benefits), but these are the primary concerns for each one.

You have options outside of the H1B visa

Sometimes, it takes an expert to find a creative solution. The Exeo Attorneys team knows the Canadian and American immigration systems inside and out, making us the perfect firm to handle your GTS submission, or find alternative means to retain your foreign talents in North America. If you didn’t make it into the H1B pool and need to hire specialized foreign talent, give our advisors a call today.

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