In Boost For STEM Group, Country To Expand Special Visa Scheme, Ease Path To Permanent Citizenship

Canada is set to make the Global Talent Stream (GTS) programme, which offers a hassle-free and quick route to work in the country, a permanent scheme. This will benefit aspiring Indians (including those currently based in US), who have a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) background, to make the most of emerging job opportunities.

Under this programme, processing of applications filed by sponsoring employers takes just two weeks. The icing on the cake is that those hired under the GTS route gain valuable work experience in Canada, which gives them an edge when applying for permanent residency under the Express Entry Route, which is a point-based system.

As TOI had reported in its edition of June 15, Indians formed the largest group to be issued invites for permanent residency under the Express Entry Route. Of the 86,022 invitations sent during 2017, nearly 42% (or 36,310) were to those holding an Indian citizenship. According to statistics provided to TOI by department of immigration, refugees and citizenship Canada during 2018, 41,000 odd invites were issued to Indians, a rise of 13%.

“We are attracting some of the most highly skilled people of the world, through our global skills strategy,” Ahmed Hussen, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship Canada (IRCC), stated in the budget document, tabled recently.

The proposal to make the two-year pilot project permanent follows calls to do so from Canada’s burgeoning tech sector. Since its launch in June 2017, more than 2,000 workers have been approved.

The budget, 2019, mentions that GTS has generated commitments from Canadian employers to create 40,000 new jobs for Canadian and per manent residents.

“GTS is not just an immigration programme, it is a strategy that companies are adopting to build more diverse and innovative teams,” says Vartika Manasvi, co-founder of Stackraft, a tech-talent platform that matches skilled individuals with potential employers.

She points out that the route is most suitable for innovative tech companies working on cutting edge technology. One of her clients is building artificial intelligence sensors to predict food quality in realtime, another is a space startup working on interplanetary transportation.

“Such projects fuel a millennial’s ambition to do work that’s meaningful. The Global Talent Stream programme has made it possible to fill difficult roles and it is encouraging young and great minds to dream big,” she states.

The GTS programme has two categories. Category A requires that the sponsoring employer (an innovative company) must be validated by a designated referral partner (such as regional development agencies).

The employer must be seeking to hire ‘unique and specialised talent’. In Category B, the sponsoring employers must demonstrate that they are seeking to fill in occupations on the ‘Global Talent Occupation List’ and need to hire highly skilled international workers. The stipulated wage requirements must be met in both the cases.

“Category A cases relate primarily to new or start-up business with a rapid upward growth pattern. There are a greater number of applications under Category B, as this relates to employers with intending applicants in occupations considered to be in short supply – many of them being IT related,” explains David Crawford, Toronto based partner at Fragomen, a global firm specialising in immigration laws.

A country-wise break up of those who were allotted visas under GTS during the pilot period is not available. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a significant number of them were Indians, including H-1B workers in US who were tired of the green-card backlog and had migrated to Canada. The occupations eligible under GTS are wide ranging from web-developers to scientists.

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