The Government of Canada this week marked the second anniversary of its Global Skills Strategy, which has welcomed nearly 24,000 highly skilled foreign workers through its flagship Global Talent Stream.

The Global Talent Stream provides Canadian employers with easier access to temporary foreign workers with experience in 13 occupational categories in fields such as Information Technology and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Occupations covered by the Global Talent Stream include computer engineers, computer programmers, software engineers and designers, and web designers and developers.

“As Canada’s technology sector has historically struggled to attract the talent it needs to scale up, this is precisely the type of talent our Government had in mind when it first launched the [Global Skills Strategy],” Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, said in a joint statement.

Canada’s Information and Communication Technology Council (ICTC) has forecasted 216,000 job vacancies in the country’s ICT sector by 2021.

The Government of Canada announced in March that it was making the Global Talent Stream permanent, a move that was welcomed by the Council of Canadian Innovators, among others.

The stream allows employers to submit a facilitated Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which waives the requirement to prove they first tried recruiting Canadians and permanent residents of Canada and expedites the LMIA approval process.

The statement said the Global Talent Stream was created to fill labor needs that aren’t being met by Canadian workers.

“While Canadian workers are among the world’s most highly educated and skilled, for Canadian firms to remain globally competitive, they must also be able to attract the best minds and talent from other countries,” it reads, noting that more than 1,100 Canadian employers have used the Global Talent Stream since its creation in 2017.

Around 25 percent of those recruited through the Global Talent Stream is coming in from the United States, and the majority are citizens of India, Hussein told Bloomberg News.

Around 16,000 family members accompanied those recruited through the program and benefited from access to work and study permits, he said.

Demand for tech workers rising.

Employers who use the Global Talent Stream must create a Labour Market Benefits Plan that details both the mandatory and complimentary benefits of hiring skilled global talent for Canada’s labor market, such as job creation, skills, and training investments.

According to the statement, employers using the Global Talent Stream have committed to creating 48,000 jobs and more than 12,500 paid co-op positions and dedicated more than $113 million to skills development and training.

“With the Global Skills Strategy, Canada is positioned to succeed in the global race for talent,” the statement says. “By helping Canadian companies grow, this strategy is creating more jobs for Canada’s middle class and a stronger Canadian economy.”

Tech workers are in high demand in Canada and have several options for gaining permanent residence.

A key example is British Columbia’s Tech Pilot, which provides a pathway to permanent residence for tech workers with eligible job offers in 29 occupations.

Ontario has also announced its intention to create a similar tech-focused immigration stream, though no details are released.

Tech workers have also fared well under Canada’s Express Entry system, the country’s principal pathway to permanent residence for skilled foreign labor.

In 2017, candidates with work experience as information systems analysts and consultants, software engineers and computer programmer and interactive media developers received the most invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system.

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