Immigration supports for companies in British Columbia

What is the Global Skills Strategy?

The Global Skills Strategy (GSS) is a federal government initiative designed to attract and expedite the entry of global, highly skilled and qualified talent to support Canadian companies to grow and scale up.

The objective of the GSS is to help companies with significant investments in Canada bring in the highly skilled talent they need to succeed. This is done through dedicated and expedited service delivery offered by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Employment & Social Development Canada (ESDC) with the help of designated referral partners. 

The GSS has 4 pillars:
  • Dedicated Service Channel (IRCC – referral based)
  • Short-term work permit exemptions (IRCC – not referral based)
  • Expedited work permit processing (2 weeks) (IRCC – not referral based)
  • Global Talent Stream pilot under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (ESDC – partially referral based)

Who can use IRCC’s Dedicated Service Channel?

Companies making significant investments (monetary and/or job-creating) that will result in substantial improvements to the Canadian labour market or economy can be referred to IRCC’s Dedicated Service Channel. To be referred to the DSC, companies must meet one of the following referral criteria.

Companies must:

  • Be making high-value investments: Large-scale investments made by foreign or multinational companies in Canada.

  • Be a high potential or high growth company: Companies with proven market acceptance and a capacity for accelerated growth that will significantly impact the Canadian economy, or start-up companies for which the recruitment of highly skilled foreign talent will positively impact the company’s growth.

  • Be an innovative company: Companies with a focus on innovation and willingness to scale up and grow that are operating in Canada and recruiting global talent. This is the same criteria used in ESDC’s Global Talent Stream, which requires the firm to be operating in Canada; have a focus on innovation; have a willingness to grow; and be seeking to scale up (see Global Talent Stream – Category A for more details).

Who can use ESDC’s Global Talent Stream?

The Global Talent Stream (GTS) is a 24-month pilot program under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that aims to facilitate the immigration process of highly skilled and in-demand talent.
There are two categories under which employers in Canada can access the stream.

Category A (referral based)
Category A is aimed at innovative Canadian companies that need unique and specialized global talent in order to help them scale-up and grow, and have already identified candidates for a limited number of very unique roles (one or two over the course of the pilot) that are not already listed under Category B.
Only companies referred by a Designated Referral Partner can access Category A.

Companies may operate in any economic sector, as long as they meet the following requirements for eligibility:

  • is operating in Canada

  • has a focus on innovation

  • has a willingness, and is capable of growing or scaling up

  • is seeking to fill a unique and specialized position in the company

  • has identified a qualified foreign worker for potential hire into that unique and specialized position

unique and specialized position is indicated by:

  • a highly paid position with an annual salary of at least $80,000, or an annual salary equivalent to the prevailing wage for that occupation if it is higher than $80,000

  • advanced knowledge of the industry

  • advanced degree in an area of specialization of interest to the employer

  • minimum of 5 years of experience in the field of specialized experience

A company may be referred to Category A more than twice if it has been successful in meeting its Labour Market Benefits Plan commitments to date under the Global Talent Stream, as well as the conditions outlined below:

  1. At the time that each additional position is requested, the company meets the standard eligibility criteria for Category A and at least one of the following benchmarks:

    • Is “high growth” in terms of revenue, as indicated by:

      • Average annualized growth rates in revenue greater than 20% per year, over a three-year period, and with 10 or more employees at the beginning of the period; or

    • Is “high growth” in terms of job creation in Canada, as indicated by:

      • Average annualized growth rates in job creation in Canada greater than 20% per year over a three-year period, and with 10 or more employees at the beginning of the period; and

  2. The annual wage for the additional position requested is at or above $150,000. There is no flexibility in the application of the wage requirement for additional positions being requested under Category A.

Category B (not referral based)
Applications for Category B of the Global Talent Stream will be accepted from companies in Canada that need to hire highly skilled foreign workers for occupations found on ESDC's Global Talent Occupations List, which have been determined to be in-demand and for which there is insufficient domestic labour supply.

Companies do not need to be referred by a Designated Referral Partner in order to access Category B.
For more information on the Global Talent Stream, please visit ESDC’s webpage

What is the Province’s role as a Designated Referral Partner for GSS?

The Province has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to be a Designated Referral Partner for B.C. The British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology’s Immigration Programs Branch can make referrals of companies to IRCC’s Dedicated Service Channel and to ESDC’s Global Talent Stream (under category A).

As a referral partner, we can help ESDC and IRCC identify Canadian and foreign companies that qualify under the listed program criteria. Together, we can continue to support the growth of the B.C. economy.

What does the Immigration Programs Branch do?

The Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology's Immigration Programs Branch provides immigration expertise to international companies that currently operate, or will be establishing operations, in British Columbia and to B.C. companies who need to access global talent.

We administer the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) and are a referral partner for the Global Skills Strategy (GSS).
B.C. is developing the highest quality local talent by introducing students to tech earlier, adjusting training and education in post-secondary institutions and creating work experience opportunities.

Beyond using the skills and talent of B.C. workers, companies need to be able to attract skilled workers from around the world. Tech entrepreneurs and skilled workers from other leading edge countries can have a catalytic effect on B.C.’s technology sector, leading to more jobs for British Columbians.

Who can we help?

  • International companies looking to transfer key personnel or employees with specialized knowledge to the province for a temporary period in order to continue the growth of their business.
  • B.C. companies unable to find skilled talent locally who are looking to recruit highly skilled employees from abroad to temporarily and/or permanently fill positions requiring skills that are in short supply in Canada.

How can we help?

  • Customized assistance with navigating the different immigration options to meet the specific needs of a company.

  • Immigration information on both permanent and temporary immigration options such as the BC PNP, Express Entry, and the Intra Company Transfer process.

  • Referral services under the Global Skills Strategy (GSS) for the Dedicated Service Channel (DSC) and Global Talent Stream (GTS).

  • Concierge services for B.C. tech companies supporting an application to the BC PNP under the BC PNP Tech Pilot

Connect with a representative from the Immigration Programs Branch

If your company is looking for immigration information, and/or you believe could benefit from a referral to the Global Skills Strategy’s Dedicated Service Channel or the Global Talent Stream, please connect with an Immigration Programs Branch representative by emailing GSS.Referral@gov.bc.ca. A staff member will respond within 3 business days.