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Immigration Slow Down Risks Canada’s Global Skills Strategy (GSS)

Immigration Slow Down Risks Canada’s Global Skills Strategy (GSS)

The Global Skills Strategy (GSS), which helps recruit thousands of tech workers every year, is in jeopardy due to ongoing immigration slowdowns

Justin Trudeau’s bold plan to give Canadian companies an edge on the international stage when competing for highly skilled workers is plagued with processing delays. These processing delays call into question the whole point of the program — to provide highly skilled workers with rapid entry into the Canadian labour market. 

The number of new admissions to Canada for this year from the GSS were down 49%, according to numbers obtained in a recent Bloomberg report

Canada’s Global Skills Strategy (GSS)

Started in 2017, the Global Skills Strategy (GSS) is a program that allows Canadian companies to recruit tech workers and other high-skilled workers quickly and efficiently. The program would facilitate a Canadian work permit in as little as two weeks and applicants could bring their families with them.  But because of COVID-19, companies are now waiting months for work visas for their employees.

The point of the GSS was to make Canada more competitive in the global tech industry. Major processing delays negate the advantages of the program and Canadian companies are already feeling the negative effects. 

The problem is particularly acute for Canadian startups. Smaller and newer companies that need tech workers cannot compete with salaries from larger multinational companies. So while startups can’t entice workers with financial remuneration, they can provide them with rapid access to the Canadian labour market through the GSS. 

What can we do to reduce processing times for the GSS

Canada faces many obstacles to live up to its own mandate of two week processing times for the GSS — but the obstacles are not insurmountable. 

Canada has proven that they can reduce processing times if the appropriate resources are made available. During the height of the initial COVID-19 outbreak, IRCC prioritized work permits for essential workers

As protests over spousal sponsorship delays erupted across Canada in September, Canada increased resources to address the problem. 

Addressing the delays for the GSS not only helps Canadian businesses, but it also helps Canada move closer to achieving its immigration targets. Highly skilled workers, with experience in Canada, are exactly the type of applicants Canada needs. It will just take political will to access to finite IRCC resources to make it happen. 

Adam Pinsky

Adam Pinsky has a keen interest in all things immigration and has been working in the industry for 11 years.

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