The Voice- Immigration Policy Announcements - Focus on High-skill, Global Talent

The Voice: Immigration Policy Announcements – Focus on High-skill, Global Talent

Our recently released 4 Point Plan for Growth outlines several policy recommendations to help BC’s growing tech companies better access world-class talent. This is a top need that is being articulated by companies of all sizes and across all subsectors and regions of the province. One key component in our plan is to improve the immigration system for highly skilled and experienced talent by:

a) instituting a Global Skills Visa program to attract experienced senior talent;
b) streamlining the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for in demand jobs in tech;
c) implementing a trusted employer immigration program for expedited processing; and
d) increasing the federal allocation for the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

The recent announcements in the Federal Fall Economic Statement and by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has rightly recognized the needs the tech community has expressed — including a Global Skills visa proposal we submitted along with other regional tech associations in July and taken some positive actions to make it easier for Canadian businesses to attract the global talent.

Here are some of the highlights:

Global Skills Work Permit

This visa program will establish faster work-permit processing times for global talent as part of a new Federal Global Skills Strategy – while there are still a number of details to be disclosed, we expect it to launch in early 2017.

  • Companies will apply for a set number of permits based on the labour market benefits they can demonstrate — making investments, enabling knowledge transfer, and creating Canadian jobs.
  • This program will be run by a dedicated team with expertise to help companies complete their applications, with a 10-14 day turn-around on the initial work-permit application and a 14-day turn-around in issuing them for employees once a company has the set number of permits.
  • Canadian companies will be processed through Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC), and international companies, making a significant investment in Canada, will be processed through the newly created Invest in Canada office.

Short Duration Work Permit

  • There will be short-duration work permits available for employees who will work in Canada for fewer than 30 days in a year. This is intended to facilitate training, work meetings, and other realities of companies with international offices and the need to bring those employees to Canada on occasion.

Express Entry: New Comprehensive Ranking System

Effective November 19, IRCC announced a new comprehensive ranking system in an attempt to improve Express Entry, balance the value of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and provide easier pathway for international students to stay in Canada, and encourage global talent towards permanent residency. Changes include:

  • Previously a job offer supported by a LMIA was worth 600 points. Now, a qualifying job offer is worth 200 points for a management position and 50 points if the offer is any other qualifying offer of arranged employment.
  • In addition to LMIA holders, the new regulations also allow the following individuals to be awarded points for a qualifying job offer: individuals with a work permit issued under an international agreement, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); and individuals with a work permit issued under the ‘significant benefits to Canada’ criteria, such as Intra-Company Transfers.
  • Post-secondary students in Canada are now awarded up to 30 points.

We are pleased at the pace at which the federal government has adapted immigration policies in direct response to the coordinated and concerted effort of tech companies in BC and across the country. These changes will support the long-term growth of all sectors by making Canada more competitive in attracting global talent. Ultimately, it forms an important part of supporting accelerated company growth for BC tech companies that can demonstrate labour-market benefits and local job creation; and to global companies that are making large investments in Canada, relocating to Canada, establishing new production or expanding production to create more Canadian jobs.

While more details on the implementation of this program remain to be announced, we look forward to your feedback and comments as we participate in helping to shape the rollout of these initiatives.

Please contact if you have any comments.