International Mobility Workers

Generally, for International Mobility Workers the International Mobility Program – IMP is to advance Canada’s broad economic and cultural national interest, it is based largely on multilateral/bilateral agreements with other countries (e.g. GATS, NAFTA), it doesn’t require a Labour Market Impact Assessment. Others description are Lead department IRCC, based largely on reciprocity, work permits may be employer-specific or open, depending on the situation or agreement, and does not stream by wage offered.

The International Mobility Program lets the Canadian employer hire a temporary foreign worker without a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

In most cases, the employer will have to submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal.

After the employer’s part is done, the temporary foreign worker must apply for a work permit.

Once the temporary foreign worker arrives, there are certain conditions and responsibilities that the employer must meet. If he doesn’t, he could be issued a penalty.

In most cases, to hire a temporary worker through the International Mobility Program, the employer must:

  • pay the employer compliance fee of $230; and
  • create and submit an offer of employment form through the Employer
  • Portal. the offer of employment must include information about:
    • the business
    • the foreign worker you would like to hire
    • the job details
    • wage and benefits

After the employer submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal, he’ll get an offer of employment number. The employer must give this number to the temporary worker he plan to hire or plan to employ. Once the worker has this number, they can complete the work permit application. IRCC will review their application to see if they’re eligible to work in Canada. If the application is approved, the temporary worker will get:

  • a letter of introduction and a work permit from a Canada border services officer, if they are still eligible when they arrive in Canada; or,
  • a new work permit (if they live in Canada or apply when they enter Canada)

Province

Nationwide

Category

Temporary Resident

Applicant

Individuals

International Mobility Program: Canadian interests – Significant benefit – Intra-company transferees [R205(a)] (exemption code C12)

The intra-company category permits international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding Canadian exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets.

The entry of intra-company transferees is guided by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the general provisions of this section, and is supplemented by provisions contained in international trade agreements for citizens of signatory countries.

  • Qualified intra-company transferees require work permits and are exempted from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under paragraph R205(a) (exemption code C12) as they provide significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of their expertise to Canadian businesses. This applies to foreign nationals from any country, including under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
  • Paragraph R204(a) provides for LMIA exemption code T24 for qualified intra-company transferees who are citizens of a country that has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada, namely NAFTA (and similar FTAs), and supplements the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act general provisions.

Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under the general provision 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 that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company (where 18–24 months can be used as a reasonable minimum guideline);
  • are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
  • have been employed continuously (via payroll or by contract directly with the company), by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position (not accumulated part-time) for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application. Extensions may be granted up to the five- and seven-year maximums referred to in the section Breaks, recaptured time and duration of work permit limit below and in the section on the categories of work with validity periods which may not be exceeded. Documented time spent outside Canada during the duration of the work permit can be “recaptured” to allow the intra-company transferee five or seven full years of physical presence in Canada;
  • are coming to Canada for a temporary period only;
  • comply with all immigration requirements for temporary entry.

 

Requirements for the company

  • Generally, the company must secure physical premises to house the Canadian operation, particularly in the case of specialized knowledge. However, in specific cases involving senior managers or executives, it would be acceptable that the address of the new start-up not yet be secured; for example, the company may use its counsel’s address until the executive can purchase or lease a premise.
  • The company must furnish realistic plans to staff the new operation.
  • The company must have the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.
  • When transferring executives or managers, the company must
    • demonstrate that it will be large enough to support executive or management function.
  • When transferring a specialized knowledge worker, the company must
    • demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business;
    • ensure that work is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation.

 

Duration of work permits

  • Initial work permit: one year
  • For renewals, evidence should be provided that
    • the Canadian and foreign companies still have a qualifying relationship;
    • the new office has engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year;
    • the new office has been staffed.

 

Comparison of IRPA general provisions and NAFTA and other FTAs

The information below illustrates the harmonization of the general provisions with NAFTA provisions.

TypeGeneral immigration provision (C12)FTA (T24)FTA (T24)
CitizenshipNo restrictionsAmerican or Mexican (NAFTA); Chilean (CCFTA); or Peruvian (and permanent residents) (Canada–Peru FTA)
Employment criteriaCurrently employed by a related enterprise outside Canada, and seeking entry to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate in Canada; continuous employment for at least 1 year (full-time) within the previous 3 years in a similar position with the company outside Canada Currently employed by a related enterprise outside Canada, and seeking entry to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate in Canada; continuous employment for 1 year (full-time)—or 6 months for the Canada–Peru agreement—within the previous 3 years in a similar position with the company outside Canada
Other criteria Companies must:
- have a qualifying business relationship: parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate (does not include franchise or licence agreements);
- both be doing business.

The employee must:
- be working in a similar position with the company in a foreign jurisdiction;
- be taking employment at a permanent and continuing establishment of that company.
Same as general provisions
Documents required for entryFrom the worker:
- proof of citizenship
- documentation from the employer

From the employer:
- confirmation that the foreign national is currently employed by a related enterprise outside Canada that plans to transfer him or her to a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of that enterprise in Canada
- confirmation that the employee has been employed (via payroll or by contract) in a similar position by that company continuously for 1 year (full-time) within the 3-year period immediately preceding the initial application
- outline of the employee’s position outside of Canada: job title, place in the company, job description, duties
- outline of the employee’s intended position in Canada
- arrangements for remuneration
- length of employee’s intended stay in Canada
- description of the qualifying relationship between the Canadian and the foreign company
- evidence that both companies are doing business

Additional documents required from employer for specialized knowledge workers:
- documentation establishing the employee’s specialized knowledge
- confirmation that the position in Canada requires such knowledge
From the worker:
- proof of citizenship (the Canada–Peru agreement allows for permanent residents as well)
- documentation from the employer

From the employer:
Same as in general provisions, except:
- confirmation that the employee has been employed (via payroll or by contract) in a similar position by that company continuously for 1 year (full-time)—or 6 months for the Canada–Peru agreement—within the 3-year period immediately preceding the initial application
Duration of stayExecutives and managers: initial maximum 3 years, unless office start-up (1 year); 2-year renewals allowable; total period of stay may not exceed 7 years.

Specialized knowledge workers: initial maximum 3 years, unless office start-up (1 year); 2-year renewals allowable; total period of stay may not exceed 5 years.
Same as general provisions
Application for work permitsPorts of entry or visa posts; renewals or extensions through the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville Centre in Vegreville Same as general provisions

For more information please read online Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Owner Operator Work Permit

Most LMIA applications require the employer to advertise the role to Canadian workers. However, certain LMIA applications are exempt from the advertising requirements.  One example is the Owner/Operator LMIA.  This category is for foreign nationals who wish to establish or purchase a business in Canada, and want to work in that business in a high-skilled position, often with the aim of immigrating permanently.  To qualify as an owner/operator, a foreign national must:

  • demonstrate a level of controlling interest in the business, i.e. a sole or majority shareholder;
  • demonstrate that his or her temporary entry to Canada will result in the creation or retention of employment opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents and/or skills transfer to Canadians and/or permanent residents; and
  • not be in a position to be dismissed, i.e. is not in an employment position where her or she is answerable to someone more senior.

For Owner/Operator LMIAs, no advertising or recruitment is required. The key requirement is that the foreign national owns a business in Canada in which he or she owns a controlling interest of more than 50%.  Other requirements include:

  1. a business plan that shows how the owner/operator will fund the business and create or maintain employment, and contains at least a rudimentary financial plan and timeline of events;
  2. active management of the business (i.e. it cannot be a passive investment) in a position that accords with the foreign national’s qualifications and experience with a wage equal to or greater than the median wage requirements for the position; and
  3. and employing at least one Canadian or permanent resident (ideally in the first year as described in the business plan).

This option is available anywhere in Canada.

Once an owner/operator receives a positive LMIA, he or she can obtain a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada equal to the validity of the LMIA (usually up to 2 years).  Once a work permit is obtained, the owner/operator will, in most cases, be in a position to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry program.

It is worth noting that the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”) has been modified and since November 19, 2016, CRS points awarded for job offers (including those based on Owner/Operator LMIAs) have been reduced from 600 points to either 200 points for senior managerial positions, or to 50 points.  This means that an Owner/Operator LMIA-based work permit does not automatically guarantee an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for Permanent Residence, as it inevitably did prior to November, 2016 (although the points will still bolster the applicant’s Express Entry application).  It also means that Owner/Operator LMIAs for senior management positions generate a substantially better chance for that person to permanently immigrate to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

For more information please read online Owner/Operator Labour Market Impact Assessment and its importance for Permanent Residence applications in 2017

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