Global Talent Stream

What is the Global Talent Stream?

The Global Talent Stream allows certain skilled workers to obtain a work permit within two weeks of applying. It is one of the pillars of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy, which aims to help innovative companies grow by ensuring they can access the highly skilled talent they need quickly.

Among other initiatives, this work stream establishes a two-week standard for processing of work permit applications (and temporary resident visas, if applicable) for highly skilled talent. The Global Talent Stream is part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Categories under the Global Talent Stream

There are two categories under the Global Talent Stream:

Category A

High-growth companies that can demonstrate a need to recruit unique specialized talent from abroad fall under Category A. Employers in this category must be referred to the Global Talent Stream by a designated referral partner.

Category B

Category B is for employers looking to hire certain highly skilled foreign workers for occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations List, which have been determined to be in-demand and for which there is insufficient domestic labour supply. This list may be updated periodically to respond to labour market needs.

Wages for the Global Talent Stream

Employers must commit to pay the highest of either:

  • An annual salary of at least $80,000, or an annual salary equivalent to the prevailing wage for that occupation if it is higher than $80,000 for the first two unique and specialized positions requested under Category A. For two or more unique and specialized positions requested under Category A, or an annual salary equivalent to the prevailing wage for that occupation if it is higher than $150,000. ESDC says there is no flexibility in the application of the wage requirement for additional positions being requested under Category A;
  • The applicable minimum wage for the occupation for a highly-skilled position requested under Category B as identified in the Global Talent Occupations List;
  • The wage that is within the wage range that the employer is paying current employees hired for the same job and work location, and with the same skills and years of experience; or
  • The median wage on the Government of Canada’s Job Bank. The median wage is listed by job title or National Occupational Classification (NOC) code in the middle column, by community or area in Canada’s job bank.
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Labour Market Benefits Plan

Employers looking to hire skilled workers through the Global Talent Stream are required to work with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to develop a Labour Market Benefits Plan. This plan outlines the positive benefits that foreign talent will bring to the Canadian labour market, and activities that the employer will undertake to encourage job creation, skills and training investments.

Category A requirements

Category A employers are required to commit to creating jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. This job creation may be direct or indirect.

Category B requirements

Category B employers are required to commit to increasing investments in skills and training for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

In addition to the above mandatory benefits, employers in both categories are required to commit to two further complementary benefits, supported by defined activities.

If employers are applying for positions in both Category A and Category B, they must commit to one activity as part of the job creation benefit and one activity as part of the investments in skills and training benefit, as well as at least two complementary benefits.

Work Permit Exemptions

Under the Global Talent Stream, two new categories of workers are now exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit.

  1. Highly-skilled workers in skill type 0 or skill level A occupations of the NOC may enter Canada to work for 15 days in a six-month period, or for 30 days in a 12-month period, without obtaining a work permit.
  2. Researchers working on research projects at a publicly-funded degree-granting institution or affiliated research institution may come to Canada for 120 days in a 12-month period, without requiring a work permit.
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Designated Referral Partners for Category A

The list of designated referral partners for employers located outside Quebec includes the following organizations:

  • 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
  • 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

For the list of designated referral partners located in Quebec for the Global Talent Stream, employers from Quebec are invited to consult Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration website (French only).

Global Talent Occupations List for Category B

The Global Talent Occupations List identifies the eligible occupations under Category B. This list may change over time to meet labour market needs.

The current occupations on the list are:

  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Civil engineers
  • Electrical and electronics engineers
  • Mining engineers
  • Aerospace engineers
  • Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)
  • Mathematicians and statisticians (excluding actuaries and related occupations)
  • Information systems analysts and consultants
  • Database analysts and data administrators
  • Software engineers and designers
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • Web designers and developers
  • Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians
  • Computer network technicians
  • Information systems testing technicians
  • Producer, technical, creative and artistic director and project manager roles in the visual effects, video game or animation industries
  • Digital media and design roles requiring specialized technical skills and industry experience
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Compliance Requirements

Employers in the Global Talent Stream must comply with program requirements relating to the Labour Market Benefits Plan, wage levels, and other conditions.

Failure to comply can result in termination of access to the Global Talent Stream. Penalties may also apply for providing false, misleading or inaccurate information.

Monitoring Compliance

Employers may be monitored to ensure compliance with the Labour Market Business Plan commitments, and to evaluate the overall successes of the Global Talent Stream.


The Global Talent Stream aims to help innovative Canadian companies quickly access highly skilled foreign talent when they are unable to find the specialized skills they need domestically.

The program has specific requirements for employers relating to wages, labour market benefits plans, and other conditions that must be met in order to access faster processing for work permits. Compliance with these requirements is taken seriously.

Still, the Global Talent Stream provides valuable support to high-growth Canadian companies needing unique talent to grow, while also ensuring benefits to the Canadian labour market.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main benefits of the Global Talent Stream?

The main benefits are faster processing of work permits for skilled foreign workers (within 2 weeks), and access to unique talent needed by innovative Canadian companies to grow when the required skills are not available domestically.

What are referral partners?

Referral partners are organizations designated by the government that can refer employers to the Global Talent Stream under Category A. These partners validate the genuineness of positions that require unique talent.

Do employers have to pay prevailing wage levels?

Yes, employers must pay at least the prevailing wage level. This is the highest of either the median wage, what the employer pays current employees, or the defined wage floor for certain occupations.

Can researchers get work permits faster under this stream?

No, but researchers can come to Canada for up to 120 days without needing any work permit under the Global Talent Stream.

Do employers have to report on compliance?

Yes, employers may need to report on meeting commitments laid out in their Labour Market Benefits Plan, so that compliance can be monitored.

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