The International Mobility Program under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) provides Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) authority to issue LMIA-exempt Canadian work permits to workers without the need for a labour market impact assessment (“LMIA”). Three different pathways to the International Mobility Program are discussed in this blog post.
The international Mobility Program allows employers to hire a temporary worker without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) where there are economic, cultural, or other benefits for Canada or benefits enjoyed by Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
- LMIA-exempt offer of employment submitted in the portal; and
- Details of how the work will be beneficial economically, socially, or culturally.
Significant benefit includes but is not limited to evaluation of how the work of the foreign applicant will provide:
- General economic support for Canada (ex. Job creation, developments in regional or remote settings, expansion of export markets for Canadian products and services);
- Advancement of a Canadian industry (technological development, service or product innovations, opportunities for improving skills of Canadians);
- Increased health and well-being (physical and mental health of society either nationally or regionally); and
- Increased tolerance, knowledge, or opportunities to come together with others of similar culture.
- preventing the disruption of employment for Canadians or permanent residents;
- using their considerable work experience in negotiating and concluding business transactions that would benefit the Canadian economy;
- advancing Canadian industry through market expansion, job creation, and product or service innovation;
- preventing disruption to a major Canadian event with implications for jobs or growth;
- creating employment or training opportunities for Canadian citizens, people registered as an Indian under the Indian Act or permanent residents; and
- providing economic stimulus in remote areas.
- addressing health and safety threats to Canadians or permanent residents;
- promoting the improvement of a community’s image and pride, and a boost in local investments in heritage resources and amenities that support tourism services;
- developing products that will assist in improving environmental considerations; and
- strengthening social inclusion in communities.
- have been the recipient of national or international awards or patents;
- are a member of an organization requiring excellence of its members;
- have been a member of a peer review panel or an authority to judge the work of others;
- have been recognized for achievements and significant contributions to their field by peers, governmental organizations, or professional or business associations;
- have made scientific or scholarly contributions to their field;
- have publications in academic or industry publications;
- have been in a leading role in an organization with a distinguished reputation; and
- are renowned for their artistic and cultural endeavours.
As per subsection 22(2) of Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, applicants who have a dual intent to seek status as temporary workers and then eventually permanent residents must satisfy the officer that they have the ability and willingness to leave Canada after their business closes or their work is complete (Section 183 of IRPA).
Applicants seeking only temporary residence:
Applicants applying to work for themselves or to run their own business temporarily must show that their business will be of significant economic, social, or cultural opportunity for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Factors in considering “Significant Benefit”:
- Is your work likely to create a sustainable business that benefits Canadian citizens or permanent resident workers?
- Does your business provide economic stimulus?
- Do you have specific skills or background that will improve the viability of the business?
- Is there a business plan clearly showing you have taken the necessary steps to initiate the business?
- Have you taken measures to put the business plan into action? (Evidence of financial plans, renting space, staffing plans, showing ownership documents, etc.)
Significant economic, social, or cultural benefit:
These indicators include:
- General economic stimulus (job creation, developments in regional or remote locations, expansion of export for Canadian products and services); and
- Advancement of Canadian industry (technological developments, product or service innovations, opportunities for improving skills of Canadians).
Degree of Ownership
Work permits for entrepreneurs are considered when the applicant controls at least 50% of the intended business.
If an individual is a partial owner with less ownership percentage, they must apply for a work permit as an employee and may require an LMIA.
Only one owner is eligible for a work permit if there are multiple owners. While Canada doesn’t want to discourage investments, this is to prevent the transfer of minority ownerships for the sole purpose of receiving a work permit.
Long-term self-employed applicants:
Applicants who have had repeated work permits for several years in the entrepreneur category, in addition to satisfying the indicators of economic stimulus, be able to provide evidence of the following:
- Registering their business as a legal entity in Canada;
- Show that their profits from the business remain mainly in Canada;
- Proof that all federal, provincial, territorial and local taxes have been filed; and
- Proof they meet the temporary requirement of subsection A22(2) and that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized time.
Work Permit process for temporary residence applicants:
To be eligible, applicants must:
- Have received either:
- Offer of employment number or,
- authorization by the Immigration Program Guidance Branch (IPG) to submit the “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA);
- have paid employer compliance fee; and
- applied for a work permit.
Applicants seeking eventual permanent residence:
There are two potential categories for applicants who want to apply for a work permit under this category:
These applicants have shown that their admission to Canada and establishing their business will generate significant economic, social, or cultural benefits for Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Actual or potential provincial nominees undertaking business activities:
A work permit may be issued for a foreign national applicant being considered for provincial or territorial nomination for permanent residence. This is possible because the province or the territory wants the potential nominee to bring and implement their business and to ensure the candidate can establish their business successfully before nominating the applicant.
Work permit for potential nominees:
- Have a letter of support from the province or territory (count as support for evidence that their business will create significant economic, social, or cultural benefit to Canada);
- Have an offer of employment number;
- Have an authorization by the IPG to submit “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from an LMIA.”;
- Have paid the employer compliance fee; and
- Applied for a work permit.
Quebec-destined entrepreneurs or self-employed person issues a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ)
A work permit may be issued to entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals destined for Quebec, where CSQ has been issued, but they are not permanent residents or temporary workers yet.
Work permit for Quebec-destined entrepreneurs:
- Have a valid CSQ
- have a request from the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) requesting early entry
- have received either
- an offer of employment number, or
- Authorization by the IPG to submit “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from an LMIA.”
- Have paid the employer compliance fee
- Applied for a work permit
The initial work permit can be issued for a maximum period of two years.
An extension of a work permit beyond two years is given only if the applicant is in the process of becoming a permanent resident or in an exceptional circumstance.
The intra-company category allows international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada to improve management effectiveness, expand Canadian exports, and enhance competitiveness in overseas markets.
This transfer is guided by Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and supplemented by provisions in international trade agreements for citizens of signatory countries. Qualified applicants require work permits that are LMIA-exempt.
Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under general provisions if they:
- Are currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise.
- Are transferring to an enterprise with a qualifying relationship with the company they are currently working for and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company (minimum 18-24 months).
- Being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or someone with specialized knowledge and capacity.
- Have been employed continuously by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar position for at least one year in the three years immediately preceding the date of initial application.
- Are coming to Canada for a temporary period only.
- Follow all immigration requirements for temporary entry.
Employers must visit Employer Portal – Canada.ca
Work Permit Application Work permit: About the process – Canada.ca
By: Armaghan Aliabadi
Reviewed by: Amir Ghorbani