In 2017, the government of Canada launched Global Talent Stream (GTS) program to address evident skill shortages and provide a special stream for specific occupations that would be processed within 3 weeks. This page will teach you about the GTS work permit, its categories, requirements, processing time, and much more. Although hiring foreign workers through the GTS program is fast, the process can be complicated. With Sobirovs Law Firm, our corporate immigration lawyers will ensure your foreign talent is ready to work for your Canadian business as quickly as possible. Schedule a consultation today and learn how we can help your business.

What is the Global Talent Stream?

Global Talent Stream is an expedited immigration program that allows you to bring skilled and specialized global talent into any part of Canada. Unlike the traditional Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application, GTS exempts you from actively advertising for the desired position. It allows you to apply directly to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for processing.

Global Talent Stream GTS Graphic

Global Talent Stream Processing Time in 2023

In 2023, GTS processing time is between 3 weeks and 11 weeks. ESDC will take up to 3 weeks to process a GTS application and, if satisfied, will issue a positive decision letter that the foreign worker will need for their work permit application. The work permit application can take up to 8 weeks.

The processing time of GTS applications includes the following steps:

  • 10 days to 3 weeks to process the LMIA application by ESDC;
  • 2 weeks to 8 weeks to process the work permit application by IRCC. However, IRCC’s processing time will depend on your country of origin and case workload – it is common for a work permit application to be reviewed in around 8 weeks.

The worker’s family (spouse and children) will benefit from the same processing time as the GTS applicant.

Global Talent Stream Processing Time Graphic

Global Talent Stream Categories

There are only 2 categories within GTS:

Category A: targeting innovative companies in Canada that must obtain a referral from a designated referral partner. This category is generally suitable for innovative STEM or research-based companies, start-ups, or companies with niche products or services.

Category B: targeting all companies in Canada hiring in these specific occupations. This category suits any company that employs positions per the approved list. Positions include engineers from different industries, web designers, IT specialists, and many more. Obtaining support from a designated referral partner is not required for Category B.

Global Talent Stream Program Requirements

The program requirements for GTS are mostly similar except for several distinct features.

GTS Foreign Worker Wages Requirements and Benefits

Wage requirements are slightly different when considering the two main categories of GTS:

For Category A, the first 2 positions must be paid the highest annual salary between $80,000 or the prevailing wage, whichever is higher. For subsequent positions, the annual salary must be either $150,000 or the prevailing wage, whichever is higher.

For Category B, the annual salary must be at the prevailing wage bracket for most occupations. Some occupations will specify the highest between $80,000 or the prevailing wage.

To check the prevailing wage per occupation depending on the location, you can check this information on Canada’s official Job Bank website. You must also note that the foreign worker must be offered competitive wages compared to Canadian citizens and permanent residents currently working in the same occupation at the same location, holding similar skills and years of experience.

For example: if you have 10 program developers working in the same location and their annual salaries range from $100,000 to $150,000, then the foreign worker must be offered a wage that fits within those ranges, even if it is way above the prevailing wage.

A graph that compares Global Talent Stream wage requirements for category a and category b workers

Learn about Canada’s High-Wage LMIA Program

GTS and Company Benefits – Requirements

In terms of benefits, this tends to be subjective based on every company policy – some ask for 3-month probation to be completed before the employee is enrolled in the company’s extended health benefits program, and some provide access on the first day of employment.

Either way, it is important to note that the Canadian employer must obtain and pay for private health insurance that covers emergency medical care for any period during which the foreign worker isn’t covered by the applicable provincial/territorial health insurance system.

The coverage must correspond with the foreign worker’s first day of work in Canada, and the costs cannot be recovered from the foreign worker. ESDC will accept a basic plan as long as it ensures that foreign workers won’t have to pay for medical care if they become sick or have an accident while working in Canada.

Not sure if Global Talent Stream is right for you? Learn about Intra-Company Transfer Canada.

What is a Labour Market Benefits Plan?

The Labour Market Benefits Plan (LMBP) is a mandatory component of the GTS application. It requires employers to outline specific activities they will undertake to create positive outcomes for the Canadian labour market as a result of hiring a foreign worker.

The LMBP consists of 1 mandatory activity and at least 2 supplementary activities that demonstrate how hiring foreign workers will lead to skills transfer, job creation, or enhanced workforce development for Canadians.

Under Category A, the mandatory activity is to create jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Under Category B, the mandatory activity is to invest in the training and improving skills of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Global Talent Stream - GTS Graphic 2

The supplementary benefits for both categories could include but are not limited to:

  • increasing the number of Canadians and permanent residents employed full-time and part-time.
  • establishing or enhancing educational partnerships with local or regional post-secondary institutes or other organizations supporting skills and training (for example, providing post-secondary institutes with free licenses or other access to specialized software that will help build student skills on key industry tools).
  • providing paid co-op or internship opportunities.
  • developing, implementing or participating in initiatives that increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the workplace (for example, hosting and/or attending events that support the professional development and/or hiring of underrepresented groups in the labour market and women in high-skilled technical and/or leadership roles at the firm).
  • providing direct training aimed to improve skills, including supporting employees to travel to and attend industry or industry sector conferences relevant to the development of their specialized skillset.
  • ensuring that the foreign worker will supervise and mentor Canadian workers at the firm to support knowledge transfer.
  • increasing growth of revenue, employment, or investment at the firm.
  • developing or improving best company practices or policies related to attraction/retention of the Canadian workforce (for example, by supporting code sprints and hackathons to hire new employees).
  • developing or enhancing partnerships with organizations that assist with identifying top domestic capital.

Are you recruiting foreign tech talent? Learn all about our Canadian Tech Immigration Solutions and Tech Visas

Labour Market Benefits Plan Progress Review

A progress review is a mandatory process that ESDC conducts to check the progress of LMBP activities. It gets conducted annually, and it allows employers to report on the progress of creating lasting, positive impacts on the Canadian labour market.

As such, it is highly important to maintain all records associated with the LMBP commitments in a separate and organized journal so that the journal can be easily accessible during the progress review.

The journal can redact the names and contact information of Canadian employees for privacy and include the following information:

  • Initials of the Canadian employee
  • Their status (citizen or permanent resident)
  • Name of the activity
  • Date of the activity
  • Result of the activity
    • In the case of hiring, how many individuals were hired?
      • Keep a record of their signed offer letter + copy of their Canadian status document or SIN.
    • In the case of training, how many people attended, and what was the event?
      • Keep a record of receipts associated with the training + sign-up sheet of attendees.

If it becomes evident that some commitments are unattainable at any time, the ESDC officer that approved the initial GTS application must be contacted to re-negotiate the LMBP.

Global Talent Stream GTS Graphic 3

The success of progress reviews will dictate the business’ continued eligibility for any subsequent GTS applications. If LMBP commitments have not been met, then ESDC will have complete autonomy in refusing any subsequent GTS applications for a period of 2 years in addition to these penalties:

  1. Monetary penalties range from up to $100,000 per violation to a maximum of $1 million per year
  2. Ban from the GTS program
  3. Suspension or revocation of previously approved GTS applications and subsequent work permits of the foreign workers
  4. Public mention of the business on the ineligible employers

As such, it is very important that the LMBP is maintained and completed for the committed period, even if the foreign national becomes a permanent resident of Canada.

GTS Employer Compliance

As an employer of foreign workers, you must ensure that:

  • You comply with all federal, provincial, and/or territorial laws regulating employment and recruiting.
  • The foreign worker obtains a signed offer letter on the first day of work (or earlier) that clearly outlines all relevant details associated with their employment. Check here to learn what information must be presented on the offer letters.
  • All relevant records concerning the GTS application are kept for 6 years.
    • This includes any recruitment records that were conducted for the role (if there were any), communication threads with the applicant, communication records with any third party involved in this process, the submitted application, expenses, communication threads with the ESDC officer, copy of the LMBP and final decision letter.
  • You commit to executing the activities that were agreed on in the LMBP.
  • You inform ESDC of any changes to the foreign worker’s employment conditions.
  • You provide a safe working environment to the foreign worker that is free of abuse and has proper safety measures depending on the industry standards.
  • You maintain the same employment conditions in the GTS application and the signed offer letter.
  • The company remains engaged in the same business for the duration of the foreign worker’s work permit.
    • For example, if the business is acquired or re-branded, the foreign worker may need a new GTS to reflect employment records accurately.

Tips for Succeeding in Global Talent Stream

GTS is a very popular program for hiring foreign workers, and many Canadian companies regularly use this program to expand their international recruitment capabilities and bolster their staff. However, to fully benefit from this program, you must be able to gain regular approval on your GTS applications. Below are some crucial tips on how to succeed in GTS based on our experience:

Benefits of the GTS Program for Employers and Employees

The primary benefit of the GTS program is to provide Canadian businesses access to the global talent pool and bring them over to Canada to fill evident labour shortages. Canadian employers can benefit from the GTS program per the following factors:

  • Expedited processing time of 2~3 weeks to obtain a GTS approval letter that will be used to support foreign worker’s work permit.
    • Comparable to the traditional Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application that takes approximately 4 months to finalize overall.
  • Target the highest-skilled talent from all over the world and bring them to Canada to work for your business.
  • No limit on how many foreign workers you can bring from any country in the world.
  • The foreign worker’s work permit will be issued specifically to your company and location for 3 years maximum – they won’t be eligible to work elsewhere.
  • The initial duration of the work permit will be 3 years, with possibilities of extension or transition of the foreign worker into permanent resident status in Canada.

The employees benefit from the GTS program as they would have an opportunity to live and work in Canada and be allowed to sponsor their spouses and children for dependent visas so that the families remain united.

After 1 year of continuous work experience, foreign workers generally become eligible for permanent residence, which can be a win for both parties.

Frequently Asked Questions about Canada’s Global Talent Stream Program

Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions about the GTS program.