Global Skills Strategy (GSS) is a pilot project that is a great way for skilled foreign workers in innovative industries to:

Get streamlined access (usually 2 weeks processing time) to a work permit through their employer through Global Talent Stream – another pilot project that enables companies to be referred by a designated referral partner that then allows those companies to hire global talent from overseas to help them expand their workforce.

Get work permit exemptions for either:

  • Highly skilled workers – skill type 0 (executive or managerial) or skill level A (professional)
  • Researchers.


Who is eligible for 2-week processing of work permits?


LMIA-exempt workers:

These are workers who do not have to obtain or whose employer does not have to obtain an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment). In order to qualify as a LMIA-exempt worker, your employer must:

  • Use the International Mobility Program to hire an LMIA-exempt worker, AND
  • Contact the International Workers Mobility Unit in your area for help on determining whether the job you the employer are filling is LMIA-exempt, OR
  • Go here to check the job codes against the list of LMIA-exempt jobs.
  • Remember to submit any information and documents to the International Workers Mobility Unit at least 30 days before you the foreign worker are planning to arrive in Canada.

As well, the foreign worker must:

  • Apply from outside Canada
  • Apply for a job that is either skill type 0 (managerial/executive) or skill level A (professional)
  • Apply for a job that their Canadian employer has submitted through the Employer Portal, having paid the employer compliance fee of CAD$230.

The employer should register at the Employer Portal and create an account there. Go here for the Employer Portal User Guide for employers who wish to contract foreign workers for an LMIA-exempt job.


Next Steps:

  • After the employer submits a job offer through the employer portal, they will receive an Offer of Employment Number which they must forward to the temporary foreign worker they will be hiring.
  • The foreign worker then uses the number in their work-permit application.
  • If the application is successful, the worker will receive a Letter of Introduction (LOI) if they are still outside Canada.
  • As long as the foreign worker remains eligible to enter Canada, a Border Services Officer will issue the foreign worker a temporary work permit when they arrive at a port of entry (usually an international airport like Pearson or Vancouver International) in Canada.

Remember that a foreign worker may also need a visitor visa or an eTA (electronic travel authorization) to enter Canada.

Please note that International Experience Canada (IEC) workers are NOT eligible for this program.


LMIA-required workers:

LMIA-required workers are also eligible for the Global Skills Strategy program as long as they:

  • Are applying from outside Canada, AND
  • Have a positive LMIA for the Global Talent Stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker program. Your LMIA Decision Letter will be proof of your positive LMIA.

Spouses, Common-law partners, and dependent children are also eligible for 2-week processing of work permits, study permits, or visitor visas; as long as they apply at the same time as the principal applicant (the foreign worker who is applying under GSS).

Go here for the application form which you must fill out, as well as your employer complying with the requirements of the Global Talent Stream under which they will offer you a job. As well as the completed application form you should submit:

  • A medical exam (if required)
  • Police certificates (if required)
  • Pay the processing fees
  • Submit biometrics (if required) within 2 weeks of submitting your application.

Your local Visa Office may have specific instructions you have to follow when submitting a temporary work permit application. To find out what they are:

  • Go here to complete your application form
  • In the drop-down menu under the “How are you applying?” question select: online.
  • Select the country or territory you are applying from.
  • Download the country-specific visa office requirements from the list of documents if they exist.
  • If there is no visa office requirements item in the list of documents for your country or territory, then there are no such requirements. Biometrics and police certificates are prime examples of country-specific requirements that can change from one country to another.

If you are an LMIA-required applicant under GSS, then when completing your application for a work permit you must also:

  • During your eligibility check (using the Come to Canada tool), answer “Yes” to the following question: Did Employment and Social Development Canada issue your employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment under the Global Talent Stream?
  • You should apply for your work permit as soon as you receive your LMIA Decision Letter.


Work Permit Exemptions:

Under Global Skills Strategy (GSS), there are 2 types of skilled foreign workers that do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA):

  • Highly Skilled Workers: these are workers who are both:
    • Applying to work in a job that is either:
      • Skill type 0: Managerial or executive positions under the NOC (National Occupational Classification) codes, OR
      • Skill level A: Professional jobs under NOC codes
    • Will only be working for very brief periods in Canada under their LMIA-exempt work permit:
      • 15 consecutive days or less, once every 6 months, OR
      • 30 consecutive days or less, once every 12 months.
  • Researchers: these are workers who will both:
    • Perform research at a Canadian publicly-funded, degree-granting institution or its affiliated research institution, AND
    • Will work for only one 120-day period, once every 12 months.


How to extend an LMIA-exempted worker’s stay:

Both highly skilled workers and researchers must leave Canada when their exemptions are up. To return to Canada they have two options:

  • Apply for a work permit from outside Canada
  • Wait until they are eligible to use their exemptions again
  • Regardless of what type of exemption they previously used, an LMIA-exempt worker must wait:
    • 6 months before they can return under a 15-day exemption, OR
    • 12 months before they can return under a 30-day exemption.


Dedicated Service Channel (DSC):

This is a service provided to both:

  • employers who wish to hire temporary workers under GSS as well as
  • universities that support publicly-funded research chairs from abroad to do research in Canada.

DSC provides advice and information although they do NOT process applications or provide LMIA exemptions. To be eligible an employer must be identified and referred by a DSC Referral Partner. These are the following organizations:

As more Referral Partners are added, IRCC & GSS will update the list.


For assistance please contact the Maxcan Immigration office in Markham, Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area.