Applicants with no other means of support [R206 – S61 and S62] – International Mobility Program

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Under section 206 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), work permits may be issued to foreign nationals who cannot support themselves without working and who are

  • refugee claimants whose claim has been referred to the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) but not been determined [R206(1)(a)] or
  • subject to an unenforceable removal order [R206(1)(b)]

As per R202 of IRPR, applicants who are issued a work permit under section R206 do not, by reason only of being issued a work permit, become temporary residents. 

Applications under this section may be received in person during the claim process or through an electronic process or be mailed.

On this page:

Evidence that the applicant requires public support

The onus is on applicants to prove that they are unable to support themselves without public assistance.

Important: It is not the intent that the person apply for social assistance before being issued a work permit.

Officers may accept any evidence that satisfies them that the person meets this requirement. Evidence to assess the inability of the foreign national to support themselves may be, but is not limited to, the following:

  • a letter or cheque stub from the provincial or territorial social service department
  • bank statements
  • letters from assistance groups
  • a review of the client’s immigration history and application forms, or other related documentation

Officers may consider that this particular eligibility criterion has been met if there is any likelihood that the person might require public assistance.

For example, a foreign student making a refugee claim may not meet this criterion because the student was required to provide proof of funds to support the stay in Canada and return home. As well, opportunities already exist in the IRPR to allow students to work as long as their study permits remain valid (destitute students [Labour Market Impact Assessment exempt under exemption code H81], on-campus or off-campus employment).

On the other hand, claimants who entered as visitors with money, but who have no one to assist them financially for the remainder of the time it takes to process a claim, would not likely be able to support themselves without public assistance.

[S61] Refugee claimants [R206(1)(a)]

Refugee claimants may apply for a work permit by completing the Schedule 12 - Additional Information – Refugee Claimants Inside Canada (IMM 0008 - Schedule 12) (PDF, 1.92 MB)  and indicating on the form that they wish to apply for a work permit. The “Apply for” field in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) must be updated to reflect the selection of the IMM 0008 form. Claimants may also indicate interest in applying for a work permit when initiating their claim using the Canadian Refugee Protection Portal.

If the claim is found eligible, and the immigration medical examination (IME) has been completed, the work permit application is automatically created in GCMS, and the permit is sent by mail. If the claimant is not interested in obtaining a work permit at the time of claiming, the officer should enter “None” in the Name field in Box 10.

A foreign national may apply for a work permit by submitting the  work permit application [IMM 5710 (PDF, 576 KB)] by paper or applying online if they did not apply via the “Schedule 12” form or the Portal.

180-day bar on work permits for designated country of origin (DCO) nationals

Previously, claimants who were nationals of a designated country of origin (DCO) could not be issued a work permit unless at least 180 days had elapsed since their claim was referred to the Refugee Protection Division (as per subsection R206(2)).

On April 30, 2019, the Minister directed the department to eliminate the DCO list. The list was eliminated on May 10, 2019, effectively ending the 180-day bar on work permits for DCO nationals.

However, as per subsection R206(2) and subsection 111.1(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the bar still applies to DCO nationals who made a refugee claim during the 180 days before May 10, 2019. Under a public policy established pursuant to section A25.2, officers have the delegated authority to exempt affected people from the 180‑day work permit bar.

Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) for refugee claimants [R206(1)(a)]

Under the Application screen, officers should enter the following information in the specified fields:

Field Selection or input

Case type

28

Province of destination

Unknown

City of destination

Unknown

Exemption code

S61

NOC

9999

Intended occupation

Open
or
Open Restricted (see Conditions for further instructions)

Employer

Open

Duration

24 months from the date the applicant’s claim was forwarded to the IRB.

12 months for each renewal under this section.

Conditions

If the IME has expired, the work permit must include conditions restricting work in designated occupations.

See instructions: Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but occupation restricted work permits

User remark (mandatory)

This permit does not confer temporary resident status as per section 202 of IRPR

Fees

Work permit processing fee: exempt under paragraph R299(2)(a). Exemption code: E01.

Open work permit holder fee: exempt under paragraph R303.2(2)(a). Exemption code: P01.

[S62] Applicants under an unenforceable removal order [R206(1)(b)]

A removal order is enforceable as per subsection A48(1) when it comes into force (as per section A49) and all conditions for a stay have been removed. For more information, consult the Enforcement Manual Removals (PDF, 869.84 KB) (opens in a new tab) .

Most refugee claimants are issued conditional removal orders that are unenforceable pending the outcome of their refugee claim. Subsection A49(2) defines when a removal order comes into force for refugee claimants.   

Other persons subject to an unenforceable removal order include the following:

  • failed refugee claimants who are appealing the IRB decision [A49(2)(c)]
  • pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) applicants (pending the outcome of the PRRA) [R232]
  • persons who have been granted a stay by the Federal Court [A50]
  • foreign nationals from countries for which the Minister has imposed a temporary stay of removal [R230]
  • foreign nationals who are completing their term of imprisonment in Canada, including any time on parole [A50(b)]
  • failed refugee claimants or other foreign nationals who are awaiting removal and whom the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is unable to remove for reasons beyond the control of the person (for example, they are unable to obtain a travel document). In these situations, while the removal order is in force, the removal cannot be enacted.
  • Simply not being in possession of a travel document is not sufficient for issuance of a work permit in this category. The applicant must demonstrate that they were unable to obtain a passport because of circumstances beyond their control (for example, by providing a refusal letter resulting from a passport application submission or a confirmation from the CBSA that they are unable to obtain a travel document). If insufficient proof is provided that the inability to obtain a travel document is beyond the person’s control, the officer should confirm with the CBSA that the applicant is cooperating with removal procedures and has not yet been able to obtain the travel document.

Work permit issuance in GCMS for persons subject to an unenforceable removal order [R206(1)(b)]

Under the Application screen, officers should enter the following information in the specified fields:

Field Selection or input

Case type

28

Province of destination

Unknown

City of destination

Unknown

Exemption code

S62

NOC

9999

Intended occupation

Open

or

Open Restricted (see Conditions for further instructions)

Employer

Open

Conditions

If there is no IME or the IME has expired, the work permit must include conditions restricting work in designated occupations.

See instructions: Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but occupation restricted work permits

Duration

Initial work permit: 12 months.

Officers may consider 24 months for applicants who are subject to temporary suspension of removals or administrative deferral of removals.

Renewal: 12 months for each renewal under this section regardless if there is a scheduled removal date .

User remark (mandatory)

This permit does not confer temporary resident status as per section 202 of IRPR

Fees

Work permit processing fee: required.

Open work permit holder fee: Not required as paragraph R206(1)(b) is not included in section R303.2, which specifies who pays the fee. Fee exemption code P03.

Officers should be aware that both fees are automatically triggered in the online application tool.

To reduce refunds, applicants are instructed to pay the work permit processing fee outside the online tool and upload their receipt under Proof of Fee Exemption. For more information on applicant instructions, consult You’ve filed a claim for refugee protection in Canada.

Mandatory refunds: For applicants who have paid the open work permit holder fee, officers must initiate a refund of fees as per normal office procedures.

Medical results

Refugee claimants are given medical instructions upon making their claim.

As per paragraphs R30(1)(e) and R200(1)(e), a work permit may not be issued until the officer has received the results of the medical exam for the claimant.

Open work permits may be issued for persons whose results are valid and have been assessed M1, M2, M3 or M5, along with any occupational restrictions noted by the assessing physician.

The occupational restrictions condition must be imposed if medical results are no longer valid.

For medical results M4 or M6, as per paragraph R200(1)(e), a work permit must not be issued, as protection of public health or safety is at issue.

Other foreign nationals under an unenforceable removal order may not have completed a medical examination. If a medical examination was not completed, the occupational restrictions condition must be imposed.

See also Assessing medical requirements.

Family members of section R206 work permit holders

Section R206 does not include family members who are not themselves described in paragraph R206(a) or (b). Family members of refugee claimants or of persons subject to an unenforceable removal order are not entitled to an open work permit under this section. However, they can apply for a work permit from within Canada as per section R199 with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or under an LMIA-exempt category if eligible.

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