December 12, 2022

What is Canada’s Global Talent Stream Immigration program?

The number of open vacancies in Canada right now is over a million. Because there are so many job openings in practically every industry, Canada has created a number of programs to help firms hire international talent. One such scheme that targets highly skilled foreign workers in the tech industry is the Global Talent Stream. The GTS is a fast-tracked program that employers can use to recruit international talent and provide them the chance to use their abilities to assist the growth of creative Canadian firms.

With the introduction of the Global Talent Stream in June 2017, Canada has been able to welcome almost 40,000 new citizens. Some Canadian businesses use this stream, a two-year experimental initiative, to identify and hire top talent worldwide. This enables Canadian businesses to swiftly hire foreign workers to fill specialized vocations when Canadians aren't available for certain positions.

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), a part of Canada's larger Global Talent Strategy (GTS), speeds up the processing of applications for work permits and temporary residence visas (if required), enabling qualifying candidates to start working around two weeks following the date of submission. By guaranteeing that companies in this sector can easily access the skills they need to expand, this program also benefits the Canadian IT industry as a whole.



Candidates for the Global Talent Stream can enter Canada without a work permit, thanks to two exclusions.

First off, under this program, if they work in Canada for a total of 15 days over the course of six months or 30 days over the course of a year, "highly-skilled persons in skill type 0 or skill level A occupations of the NOC" will not be required to get a permit.

Researchers who enter Canada and stay for 120 days or more within a year are allowed to work "on research initiatives at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or linked research institution" without a work permit.


There are two distinct categories under the Global Talent Stream:

Category A

Employers in Category A must be recommended to the Global Talent Stream by a designated referral partner. Employers in this category are high-growth enterprises that can show a need to hire unique specialized talent from overseas.


The Global Talent Stream's Category A requires that an innovative company be recommended by one of the Stream's designated referral partners because the requested position requires distinctive and specialized talent to aid the company's scaling-up and growth. An authorized referral partner must verify, at the time of each referral to ESDC, that a business satisfies the following eligibility:

  • operates in Canada
  • focuses on innovation
  • is willing to develop or scale up and capable of doing so
  • is trying to fill a special and specialized job in the business, and
  • has discovered a capable foreign worker for that particular and specialized function that may be hired

A person must have an advanced understanding of the industry, advanced education, and at least five years of specialized experience in order to be considered as having unique and specialized skills under Category A. A minimum yearly salary of at least $80,000 CAD is also typically paid to those with distinctive and specialized talent.

The following companies are on the list of designated referral partners for the Global Talent Stream;

  • Accelerate Okanagan
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • BC Tech Association
  • Burlington Economic Development Corporation
  • Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Canadian Economic Development for Quebec Regions
  • Cape Breton Partnership
  • City of Brampton
  • City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Office
  • City of Mississauga
  • Communitech Corporation
  • Council of Canadian Innovators
  • Economic Development Winnipeg
  • Edmonton Economic Development
  • Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
  • Genesis (Newfoundland)
  • Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service
  • Government of Alberta, Alberta Labour, and Immigration
  • Government of British Columbia, Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology
  • Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Education, and Training
  • Government of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc.
  • Government of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade – Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program
  • Government of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade – Ontario Investment Office
  • Government of Prince Edward Island, Island Investment Development Inc.
  • Government of Saskatchewan, Ministry of the Economy
  • Halifax Partnership
  • Tech Manitoba
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – Accelerated Growth Service
  • Invest Ottawa
  • Invest in Canada
  • Kingston Economic Development Corporation
  • Launch Academy
  • London Economic Development Corporation
  • MaRS Discovery District
  • National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
  • Privy Council Office, Special Projects Team
  • Regional Municipality of Niagara
  • Regional Municipality of York
  • Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
  • Toronto Global
  • Town of Oakville
  • Vancouver Economic Commission
  • Venn Innovation
  • Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation
  • WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation


Category B

Employers seeking to fill specific highly skilled overseas positions on the Global Talent Occupations List, which have been considered to be in demand and for which there is a dearth of domestic labor supply, fall under Category B. To reflect changes in the labor market, this list may be updated on a regular basis.

Global Talent Occupations list for category B

NOC code Occupation Minimum hourly rate Minimum annual salary
0213 Computer and information systems managers Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2147 Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers) Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
Sub-set of 2161* Mathematicians and statisticians

* Positions for actuaries or related occupations are excluded from this subset.

Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2171 Information systems analysts and consultants Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2172 Database analysts and data administrators Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2173 Software engineers and designers Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2175 Web designers and developers Prevailing wage Prevailing wage
2281 Computer Network Technicians $39.42 or higher prevailing wage $82,000 or higher prevailing wage
2283 Information systems testing technicians $38.46 or higher prevailing wage $80,000 or higher prevailing wage
Sub-set of 5131** Producer, technical, creative, and artistic director, and project manager – Visual effects and video game

** It is necessary to have at least three years of professional experience in one or more of the following roles in the visual effects, video game, or animation industries: With three years of professional experience in at least one or more of the following competencies pertinent to the visual effects, video game, or animation industries, a producer, technical director, creative director, artistic director, project manager, senior coordinator, or department manager is qualified. This group of abilities includes, for example, surface and look development, character or simulation rigging, matte painting, managing budgets or teams, and technological pipeline development and execution for the production of visual effects, video games, or animation.

$37.50 or higher prevailing wage $78,000 or higher prevailing wage
Sub-set of 5241*** Digital Media and Design

***A minimum of three years of industry experience in at least one of the following digital media design abilities is required for the position: 3D modeling, compositing, paint and roto, layout and match move, digital environment, and matte painting, texture, lighting shading, character effects, effects and simulations, design and scenario, rigging, user interface or user experience, responsive design (for gaming), virtual reality, augmented reality, digital media animation, levels editing for digital media design, software editing for digital media design, pipeline software development or applications relevant for digital media design, pipeline software development or applications relevant for digital media design

$38.46 or higher prevailing wage $80,000 or higher prevailing wage


Wage Structure in the Global Talent Stream

Wages paid to successful applicants are one of the most essential aspects of this program. When bringing on foreign talent through the GTS, firms in any group must meet wage-related criteria. This requirement stipulates that firms must pay employees at the highest of the five rates listed below.

  • On the Canadian government's Job Bank, the occupation's median wage
  • The wage range that the employer pays current employees (in the same position, location, and skills/experience)
  • The Global Talent Occupations list determines the minimum wage floor (category B)
  • An hourly compensation that is at least $80,000 and matches the prevailing wage for the occupation in question (for the first two positions requested under category A)

For any additional positions (more than two), an hourly wage that equals the prevailing wage for the occupation in issue and totals no less than $150,000 is required.


The advantages of the Global Talent Stream for Canada and Canadians

Under the GTS, employers are required to create a Labour Market Benefits Plan that benefits all Canadians equally as well as the nation as a whole. This program's hiring of foreign talent will help the Canadian labor market, according to the plan, which was created in partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada.

These plans also include the steps the business will take to promote job growth or to make investments in the skill development and training of Canadians. Employers in category A have a unique responsibility to support the creation of jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, whether directly or indirectly. It is the responsibility of category B employers to increase their investments in Canadians' education and skill development.


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