March 3, 2021

Navigating an LMIA Under the Global Talent Stream

Posted by Lijing Cao - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Global Talent Stream was initially launched in 2017, being a part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, with the aim of helping Canadian businesses attract global talent in a more efficient way. Different from a regular Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”) application, which can be a costly and time-consuming process, applications under Global Talent Stream (“GTS”) receive more timely and responsive services from the Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”). Hence, employers are able to bring in highly-skilled and specialized foreign workers to expand their workforce faster than before.

To ensure streamlined and client-focused service, ESDC has assigned a dedicated team to process GTS applications, committing to a service standard of processing GTS LMIAs in 10 business days, 80% of the time. Once an employer receives a positive LMIA, the foreign workers are eligible to have their work permit applications processed in two weeks by IRCC, 80% of the time.

Besides faster processing time, there is no minimum recruitment requirement for the Global Talent Stream, even though employers are encouraged to recruit Canadians and permanent residents. Employers will also be asked about their recruitment efforts on the application form.

There are two categories of Global Talent Stream LMIAs, targeting different employment needs.

Category A – Unique and Specialized Talent

To be eligible under Category A, a company must be referred by a GTS designated referral partner and the position offered requires unique and specialized talent in order to scale up and grow the business. There are currently around 40 designated partners across the country.

A designated referral partner is expected by ESDC to validate a company’s eligibility by considering criteria including operation and growth, revenues, and innovation. In general, Category A is for a very limited number of unique and specialized positions. A qualified foreign worker should have advanced industry knowledge, an advanced degree, and/or minimum of 5 years of experience in a specialized field, and receive an annual salary of no less than $80,000.

Category B – Global Talent Occupations List

The occupation list[1] under Category B has been determined by the government to be in-demand and there is labour shortage, including

  • NOC 0213 – Computer and information systems managers
  • NOC 2147 – Computer engineers
  • NOC 2171 – Information systems analysts and consultants
  • NOC 2172 – Database analysts and data administrators
  • NOC 2173 – Software engineers and designers
  • NOC 2174 – Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • NOC 2175 – Web designers and developers
  • NOC 2281 – Computer network technicians
  • NOC 2283 – Information systems testing technicians

Employers can directly submit an LMIA application for a Category B position to ESDC for the hiring of highly skilled foreign workers. The positions listed under Category B primarily focus on software and information technology field.

Labour Market Benefits Plan

Employers applying for an LMIA under the Global Talent Stream are required to work with ESDC to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan, which details the employer’s commitments to benefit the Canadian economy through job creation, skills and training investments. The benefits plan must include both mandatory and complementary benefits.

  • Mandatory benefits:
    • Category A: job creation for Canadians and permanent residents
    • Category B: increase in skills and training investments for Canadians and permanent residents
  • Complementary benefits: at least 2 complementary benefits with at least 1 activity for each benefit

Despite faster turnaround time, opting for an LMIA under the Global Talent Stream also requires greater commitments from employers, as reflected in the form of a benefits plan. When working with the ESDC officer to complete the benefits plan, it is advisable to keep the undertakings modest. It would be better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around. Employers should at least have some wiggle room in case circumstances change in the near future.

Thanks for reading. Note that this article is for general information only and it is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult a member of our legal team about your unique circumstances before acting on this information.