New fast track programs expediting process for hiring international talent
Posted on - Dec 06, 2017

By Catherine A. Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Canada’s high-tech sector is booming and both the federal and B.C. provincial governments are welcoming workers with new fast track programs: The Global Talent Stream and the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Tech Pilot. As a Canadian immigration lawyer, I have seen firsthand how these programs offer strategic opportunities for existing businesses who need highly skilled tech workers or for new companies looking to establish a Canadian branch office for their global tech operations.

The department of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced the Global Talent Stream (GTS) which provides two categories for bringing highly skilled specialized workers to Canada on an expedited basis. Employers may be eligible for Category A if they have been referred to the GTS by one of IRCC’s designated partners and if they are hiring “unique and specialized” talent. Workers with unique and specialized talent must possess:

  • Advanced knowledge of the industry;
  • Have an advanced degree in an area of specialization of interest to the employer and/or;
  • Minimum of five years of experience in the field of specialized experience; and
  • A highly paid position with a salary of usually $80,000 or more

Category B of the GTS features a list of 11 highly skilled hi-tech occupations identified by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) which have been determined to be in demand and for which there are insufficient Canadian workers

As a Vancouver immigration lawyer, I am often asked by employers what they need to do to hire talent from abroad. Employers will need to demonstrate the legitimacy of their business operations and their financial ability to employ the proposed foreign workers. They will also need to work with ESDC to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan that demonstrates the company’s commitment to business activities that will have a lasting, positive impact on the Canadian labour market. In addition, there is a $1000 GTS application fee per worker.

The benefit to employers is an expedited processing timeline of 10 business days allowing companies to bring their workers to Canada much faster than standard processing times for work permit applications.
BC’s Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology has implemented the BC PNP Tech pilot recognizing that “The BC technology sector is a major driver of economic growth in the province with tech employment at its highest level ever recorded. The demand for talent in BC’s tech sector is increasing faster than supply.”

The BC PNP Tech Pilot has been introduced to support employers to attract and retain needed talent by providing an expedited Canadian immigration pathway for both workers and international students. Employers must offer a full time permanent position to workers or students from a list of 32 eligible occupations:

Workers must demonstrate that they have the critical skills, experience and qualifications to fill the position. International students must have completed their education in BC or elsewhere in Canada and have the necessary tech skills to meet the employers needs but do not need to have previous work experience.

The BC PNP Tech pilot offers employers the following features:

  • Dedicated concierge service to provide program information;
  • Weekly invitations for tech applicant registrants;
  • Priority processing of applications for permanent residence;
  • Outreach and engagement with tailored employer presentations, networking opportunities, and one-on-one employer support;
  • Work permit support letter to facilitate work permit applications; and
  • No need for a Labour Market Impact assessment.

The BC PNP Tech pilot offers both temporary and permanent immigration pathways for applicants which provides an opportunity to bring workers to employers on a speedy basis while an applicant’s permanent residence application is in process.

The tech sector in Canada is booming and both the GTS and BC PNP Tech pilot reflect our federal and provincial government’s recognition of this reality. These programs offer employers, foreign workers and Canadian international students an excellent opportunity to find secure employment as well as permanent residence in Canada.


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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