Canadian Manufacturing

Ottawa streamlines immigration process for high-skilled workers

Canada is doubling down on its efforts to capitalize on the uncertainty surrounding U.S. immigration in hopes of attracting more of the world's most innovative minds


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Dr. Ellen Lee, Ford’s technical expert in materials engineering, working with soy-based foam. PHOTO: Ford Motor Co.

TORONTO—Canadian companies will now have an easier time accessing temporary, high-skilled, global talent to scale up or expand innovative businesses.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains on June 12 announced the federal Global Skills Strategy, which aims to give employers a faster and more predictable process for attracting top talent and new skills to Canada.

The strategy includes four pillars: applications from high-skilled workers coming to Canada on a temporary basis will now be processed within two weeks and have access to temporary resident visas. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependants will also be processed in two weeks when applicable.

The ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship offers a dedicated service channel to access the so-called “global talent stream.”

Two new work permit exemptions have also taken effect. Highly-skilled workers who need to come to Canada for a very short-term assignment and scientists taking part in short-duration research projects being conducted in Canada will no longer require a work permit.

In a press release, the federal government said that by facilitating the faster entry of top talent with specialized skill sets and global experience to Canada, “we can help innovative companies grow, flourish and create jobs for Canadians.”

“Employers that are making plans for job-creating investments in Canada will often need an experienced leader, dynamic researcher or an innovator with unique skills not readily available in Canada to make that investment happen. The Global Skills Strategy aims to give those employers confidence that when they need to hire from abroad, they’ll have faster, more reliable access to top talent,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Some of the plan’s details include:

  • Two-week work permit processing will be available to workers applying from overseas whose employers have been approved to hire a foreign worker through Global Talent Stream, as well as foreign nationals with jobs at skill type 0 (executive, managerial) or skill level A (professional) of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) applying through the International Mobility Program. The two-week service standard would also apply to immediate family members accompanying high-skilled workers to Canada.
  • The new work permit exemption for highly-skilled workers applies to all NOC 0 and NOC A workers. Eligible workers will be allowed one 15-day work permit-exempt stay in Canada every six months, or one 30-day work permit-exempt stay every 12 months.
  • Researchers coming to Canada will be permitted one 120-day stay every 12 months without requiring a work permit when they are working on a research project at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution.
  • Agreements have been reached with a range of partners who will be able to refer companies to IRCC’s new dedicated service channel and to ESDC’s Global Talent Stream; discussions are continuing with many other potential partners. The goal is to have referral partners in all parts of the country with the significant knowledge and insight needed to refer companies to the dedicated service channel.

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