A federal program to allow Canadian companies to bring in foreign workers within two weeks officially started June 12.
The plan, which was fleshed out in the federal budget, is part of Ottawa’s so-called Global Skills Strategy, an effort to help Canadian employers attract the world’s best and brightest. Today marks the start of a $7.8-million, two-year pilot run that will be a test case for whether the program should be made a mainstay of Canada’s immigration policy.
The fast-track lane into Canada is reserved for “high-growth companies” hiring high-skilled workers with hard-to-find qualifications or unique expertise, the government said.
The program, known as Global Talent Stream, also allows employers, universities and some research institutions to bring in international talent for short periods of time with no work permit at all.
The thinking is that making it easier for Canadian companies to bring in international talent quickly “will result in more good-quality, middle-class jobs for Canadians,” Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said in a statement.
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Two-week processing times for work permits will likely help Canada syphon off some of the overseas talent that would normally be heading to the U.S., said Peter Rekai, a Toronto-based immigration lawyer.
“Who this helps is all those people who can’t get into head offices in the U.S.,” said Rekai.
The anti-immigration climate that has taken hold in the U.S. under President Donald Trump has created much angst among corporate majors and Silicon Valley giants, which were already struggling to navigate America’s labyrinthine work visa system.
Now international employers will find it even easier to “park” top global talent in Canada while their U.S. immigration applications work their way through the American bureaucracy, said Rekai.
But multinationals are also increasingly giving up on U.S. visas and moving their new hires to Canada on a permanent basis, said Rekai.
“We’re already seeing a lot of that,” he told Global News, adding that the Global Talent Stream program is likely to further accelerate the trend.
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