The International Mobility Program allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a Canada work permit without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Positions exempt from requiring an LMIA are those which:
- Provide broad economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages for Canada, and
- Provide reciprocal benefits for Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Workers who are eligible for the International Mobility Program (IMP) include:
- Those entering Canada as part of trade treaties, such as the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) or the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).
- Those entering Canada on an open work permit.
- Those entering Canada as intra-company transferees.
Hiring a foreign worker through the IMP normally involves the payment of a $230 employer compliance fee. Where an employer is hiring an open work permit holder, the fee is not required. Other fee-exempt positions include those covered by a non-trade agreement, certain research positions, and charitable or religious work.
Job offers via the IMP must be made through the IRCC’s Employer Portal. Employers must register a profile to use the Employer Portal.
Extensive details of the job being offered must be entered into the portal, including a list of duties, the minimum education requirement, experience required, plus wages and benefits.
The information entered could be used in federal government employer compliance audits.
Employers submitting a job offer receive an offer of employment number. The foreign worker requires this number to complete their work permit application.
Once the work permit application is approved, the foreign worker receives:
- A letter of introduction if they are outside Canada, or
- A new work permit if they are already in Canada, or applying at the time of entry.
The letter of introduction is exchanged for a work permit at the port of entry, provided all the requirements are still met.
The IMP is primarily administered by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Other federal government departments involved in the IMP include the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
IMP is separate from the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which is primarily administered by ESDC with help from IRCC and CBSA.
The IRCC runs the International Mobility Program Unit specifically for companies looking to hire using the program.