International Mobility Program
The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows employers to hire foreign nationals without the need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Offers of employment that require a LMIA are processed under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). A LMIA is a document that serves as proof that there will be a positive or neutral impact to the Canadian labour market if the employer hires the foreign national.
The IMP includes all streams of work permit applications that are exempt from this requirement.
Exemptions from the LMIA process are based on:
- broader economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada; and
- reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.
Examples of foreign workers who come to Canada through the IMP include intra-company transferees, workers under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and individuals who are eligible to obtain an open work permit.
The Employer Portal
An online system, known as the Employer Portal, is used for managing the processing of certain offers of employment made by Canadian employers to foreign workers through the International Mobility Program (IMP). The Employer Portal came into operation on October 26, 2015.
Once the business has created a login to the Portal and clicked the option to submit an offer of employment, the user is presented with questions about type and size of the business, as well as its main activities. In addition, details of the job being offered, including duties and minimum requirements (such as level of education) for the foreign national, are required. Details of the wage and benefits on offer must also be submitted. The information submitted through the Employer Portal may be used for employer compliance review purposes at a later date; consequently, all information submitted should be accurate and up to date.
Once these sections have been completed, the user (i.e. the business) may pay the $230 employer compliance fee and submit the information to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) via the Portal.
In most cases, to hire a temporary worker through the IMP, employers must:
- pay the employer compliance fee of $230; and
- submit an offer of employment form through the Employer Portal.
Employers do not need to submit an offer of employment form or pay the employer compliance fee if the foreign national has a valid open work permit. An open work permit allows the permit holder to work for any Canadian employer. Examples of individuals who may have an open work permit include international students who have graduated from a Canadian school, International Experience Canada participants, some permanent resident applicants settling in Canada while their PR application is finalized, and spouses or common-law partners of highly-skilled foreign workers.
Once the foreign worker is working in Canada, the employer must be in compliance with the set regulations. To learn more about employer compliance, click here.
Temporary Foreign Worker Program & International Mobility Program
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
- For employers to fill jobs in cases where qualified Canadians are not available
- Unilateral and discretionary
- Labour Market Impact Assessment must be obtained
- Lead department ESDC
- No reciprocity, based on labour market needs for specific occupations and regions
- Employer-specific work permits (foreign workers are tied to one employer)
- Uses wage instead of National Occupational Classification (NOC) to determine applicability
International Mobility Program
- To advance Canada's broad economic and cultural national interest
- Based largely on multilateral/bilateral agreements with other countries (e.g. NAFTA)
- No Labour Market Impact Assessment is required
- Lead department IRCC
- Based largely on reciprocity
- Work permits may be employer-specific or open, depending on the situation or agreement
- Does not stream by wage offered