Canadian Employers Gain Easier Access To Global Talent
Over the past few years, Canadian employers have lamented the onerous bureaucratic process associated with bringing foreign management staff to Canada. Recently, however, the federal government introduced a two-year pilot visa program –the Global Talent Stream(GTS) – as part of its Global Skills Strategy. The GTS allows certain types of workers to be granted a work permit in as little as two weeks. What could this expedited framework mean for you as an employer?
Firstly, the need for markets to adapt to change is not new; skills gaps always emerge when demand rises. At the moment, certain sectors of our economy – particularly tech – are experiencing a lengthy period of growth. At the same time, the Canadian-born work force is in decline. In a study by PWC and LinkedIn, over 70% of CEOs, across industries and functions, were concerned about the availability of key skills in their industry.
Secondly, there are clear benefits to hiring internationally-trained employees over and above filling a position where local talent is unavailable. These include increasing competitiveness in and potential inroads to a global marketplace and increasing effectiveness and innovation through new ideas.
The Global Talent Stream program is intended to accelerate the growth of Canadian companies, particularly those in the tech sector, as well as businesses wishing to scale up quickly. So, if you are a high-growth company that needs access to global talent in the executive, managerial or professional classifications to grow, or if you are a global company relocating to Canada, this program may have the potential to change how you do business. The quick turnaround is intended to make it as seamless as hiring a local worker.
Canadian immigration lawyer Jeffrey S. Lowe says lawyers across Canada are waiting for specific details of the GTS program to be rolled out. However, he noted one new development already implemented which will help employers bring in workers on short notice (albeit for a limited time). “A new Short-Term Work Permit exemption for Managerial or Professional positions will allow certain high-skilled workers to work in Canada for either one 30-day period, or two 15-day periods, every 12 months. This can be useful to allow foreign nationals to work immediately while waiting for their Work Permits to be processed.”
It’s important to note that the GTS isn’t a backdoor for prioritizing foreign workers over Canadian talent. Even though the administrative fee per visa is only $1000, the other costs associated with hiring overseas will likely dissuade employers from going outside Canada if they don’t have to. Employers will also have to complete the necessary Labour Market Benefit Plan and Labour Market Impact Assessment to qualify. Companies looking to hire also have choices under NAFTA and other pre-existing temporary work permit provisions; it’s important to understand your range of options in this new regulatory framework.
Despite the streamlining effect of the GTS, employers looking to attract talent from overseas still have to navigate relatively complex legal and compliance requirements in two countries, as well as job market issues around compensation packages and candidate expectations. Did you know that background checks are illegal in some countries? Even the interview process can be challenging; identifying a person’s aptitude for incorporating themselves into the culture of the company and the country is an insight that is often overlooked by employers.
A good recruitment agency can help you with the process from end to end, from sourcing the right employee, to making sure you get accurate tax and legal advice, to facilitating VOIP conferencing technology for the interview. They can even assist you in gaining an understanding of foreign business and cultural norms.
Despite the challenges of hiring international employees, the new reality is that if you want to be an international business, you need a global perspective, and a recruiting strategy to match. The good news is that the Canadian process is a bit less onerous than it used to be. Finding a recruiting partner can be the first step in helping you to gain the competitive advantage you need to access the best talent in the global marketplace.