Priority processing (14 days) of work permits under the Global Skills Strategy
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
As part of the Global Skills Strategy (GSS), Ministerial Instructions on the priority processing of work permit applications were issued on June 12, 2017. These instructions allow certain highly skilled foreign nationals applying from outside Canada to be eligible for a 2-week (14 calendar days) processing period.
This applies to any of the following e-applications:
- received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on or after June 12, 2017
- for a work permit from outside Canada [R197]
- for a work permit or study permit for a family memberFootnote 1 of an applicant whose work permit e-application meets the conditions established by the instructions
These instructions do not apply to International Experience Canada applications for an employer-specific work permit under either the Young Professionals category or the International Co-op Internship category.
On this page
- ESDC’s Global Talent Stream
- Accommodating foreign nationals with disabilities
- Family members of work permit applicants under the GSS
- Inland applications and renewals
To process work permit e-applications on a priority basis, the following conditions must be met:
- The applicant must submit a complete e-application on or after June 12, 2017, along with supporting documentation.
- For Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)-exempt work permits, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The applicant intends to perform work described in section R204 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) (international agreements) or section R205 (Canadian interests). The applicant is not required to identify themselves when they respond to the questionnaire in the Come to Canada tool in order to benefit from priority processing. Their application is coded automatically as a GSS application in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).
- The applicant has an offer of employment to perform work in an occupation listed in skill type 0 (management occupations) or skill level A (professional occupations) of the National Occupational Classification.
- As part of Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC’s) Global Talent Stream (GTS) LMIA-required work permits of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, applicants must self-identify when they respond to the questionnaire in the Come to Canada tool. Consult the section below about the GTS for more information.
- Applicants must apply online (e-application) (see instructions below for accommodating foreign nationals with disabilities).
- Applicants must submit their medical examination documentation up front (where required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the IRPR.
- Applicants must obtain their biometrics within 2 weeks of the date of application.
Visa-exempt work permit applicants are not required to apply for an eTA, and visa-required work permit applicants are not required to apply for a temporary resident visa, because these items will be issued as part of the work permit process.
Applicants who do not meet the above conditions do not qualify for the 2-week priority processing.
Foreign nationals eligible for this priority processing are still subject to all other statutory eligibility and admissibility requirements. This includes providing police certificates, if required by the migration office instructions of their region as part of the work permit application. If insufficient information is provided to satisfy those requirements, and additional documents are requested from the applicant, the client is still eligible for GSS; however, the application process falls outside the 2-week priority processing.
Note: In addition to documents requested in the upfront document checklist, which is provided to applicants, based on their responses to the Come to Canada tool, applicants must submit documents that are required by their migration offices abroad.
Applicants can find their migration office’s specific instructions by
- going to the work permit application landing page
- selecting the country or territory they are applying from
- downloading the country-specific visa office instructions from the list of documents, if there are any
If the applicant does not see any local instructions in the list of documents, then there are no special considerations for their location.
If the applicant is unable to provide certain documents requested by their IRCC migration office’s specific document checklist, they should submit an explanation as to why it is not possible or proof that they have requested the information, in case they need to go to a third party (for example, police certificates).
ESDC’s Global Talent Stream
LMIA-required foreign workers may be eligible for the new 2-week priority processing if they have been identified under 1 of the following categories in ESDC’s GTS:
- Category A: The employer has been referred to the GTS by 1 of the stream’s designated partners who are hiring unique and specialized talent.
- Category B: The employer is seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers to fill positions in occupations found on the Global Talent Occupations List (refer to the eligibility criteria on ESDC’s website).
Employers applying to the GTS can expect faster processing of their LMIA GTS applications with an ESDC service standard of 10 business days. The start date for this service standard is the first business day after the application has been received by ESDC.
ESDC will confirm that the applicant is part of the GTS by entering a note in the LMIA application that will be downloaded in the “Employment Validation Form” applet in GCMS under “ESDC Comments”.
LMIA-required foreign workers must apply for their work permits online as soon as they receive their decision letter from their employer. To do so, they must first identify themselves in the Come to Canada tool.
Note: In order to identify themselves in the Come to Canada tool, work permit applicants must respond Yes to the following question: Did Employment and Social Development Canada issue your employer’s Labour Market Impact Assessment under the Global Talent Stream?
Important: If foreign workers do not identify themselves this way in the Come to Canada tool, their work permit application will not be automatically coded as being processed under the GSS.
Accommodating foreign nationals with disabilities
Foreign nationals may contact IRCC Client Support Centre services to indicate that they are unable to complete an online work permit application because of a physical or mental disability.
To evaluate the need for accommodation, officers should ask the following questions:
- What is the nature of the foreign national’s disability?
- Does the foreign national have a friend or a family member, and access to community resources or an authorized representative to help them with the application?
If the foreign national’s disability cannot be accommodated, the Client Support Centre should email the general Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG) mailbox with the subject line “2-week processing – Alternative Application Request”. The email should contain answers to the above questions, as well as the foreign national’s name, mailing address, telephone number and email address, if applicable.
If the IPG is satisfied that the foreign national’s disability cannot be accommodated within the existing web application, the IPG will contact the foreign national and provide an alternative to the online application process.
Family members of work permit applicants under the GSS
Family members of applicants who are applying for an LMIA-exempt work permit or an LMIA required work permit (GTS) are also eligible for priority processing under the GSS. Family members are eligible for priority processing only if the principal applicant is eligible for priority processing under the GSS. Temporary resident applications (work permits or study permits) of the accompanying family members must be submitted online as part of a family pack.
Inland applications and renewals
Although eligible applicants are welcome to apply for a new work permit or renewal from within Canada, the 2-week priority processing will not apply. Inland applicants can benefit from implied status if they are applying to work under the same conditions as those indicated in their initial job offer and work permit, without any disruption to their work. Applicants applying to change conditions on their initial work permits in Canada can consult the in-Canada processing times.
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