Exemption from the employer compliance regime for the International Mobility Program
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
As per the amendment to section R209.9 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) effective February 27, 2018, certain employers are exempt from the International Mobility Program (IMP) employer compliance regime.
The exempted employers do not need to meet the requirement to submit an offer of employment directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through an account in the Employer Portal or pay the employer compliance fee when making an offer of employment to foreign workers.
On this page
- About the exemption
- Exempt employers
- Processing LMIA-exempt, employer-specific applications exempt from the compliance regime
- Transition instructions
About the exemption
Effective February 27, 2018, regulatory amendments were introduced to exempt certain employers, such as foreign missions, international organizations, foreign governments, and owners or operators of an international bridge or tunnel, from the requirement to submit an offer of employment directly to IRCC and pay the employer compliance fee when hiring foreign workers under the IMP.
When submitting the work permit application, the foreign national must still provide the employment contract and all the documentary evidence to satisfy the officer that they meet the requirements for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption.
The following employers are exempt from the employer compliance regime:
- a foreign government offering employment to foreign nationals to perform official duties for that government in Canada (see specific instructions in International Mobility Program: Unique work situations – United States government personnel); this includes any of the following:
- officers of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services carrying out pre-inspection duties in Canada
- an American member of the International Joint Commission or a United States (U.S.) grain inspector
- a U.S. government official in possession of an official U.S. passport who is assigned to a temporary posting in Canada
- high-ranking foreign government personnel not accredited to Canada (LMIA exemption code C12)
Note: This does not include governments of a political subdivision of a foreign state within the meaning of the State Immunity Act or state-owned enterprises.
- the office of a political subdivision of a foreign state that enjoys privileges and immunities granted under subsection 6(1) of the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act
- a foreign diplomatic mission or consular post referred to in Part I of the Foreign Missions and International Organizations Act or an international organization or accredited mission as defined in subsection 2(1)Footnote i of that Act; see the following specific instructions:
- the owner or operator of an international bridge or tunnel, as defined in section 2 of the International Bridges and Tunnels Act (see specific instructions in Employees of bridge and tunnel authorities working in Canada [LMIA exemption C20])
Processing LMIA-exempt, employer-specific applications exempt from the compliance regime
- The applicant has been instructed to select “Other” for the type of work permit they are seeking (Instruction Guide [IMM 5487] and Instruction Guide [IMM 5553]), instead of “Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment”. This will eliminate the requirement to include the LMIA-exempt number (offer of employment number) on the application form.
- The applicant must still pay the work permit processing fee.
As per step 3 on the page Steps to determine work and assessment of work permit applications, the officer must be satisfied that the job position meets the criteria for exempting the employer from the compliance regime. If the applicant selected “Other” on the application in error and the position is LMIA-exempt, and if there is no offer of employment in the system (that is, it was submitted by the employer via the Employer Portal), the work permit application must be refused under paragraph R200(3)(f.1) [see the section “No offer of employment information or employer compliance fee submitted”].
- If the officer is satisfied that the job position meets the criteria for a compliance regime exemption, no electronic offer of employment is required to be submitted by the employer through the Employer Portal, and the application can continue to be processed. Although the employer is exempt from paying the employer compliance fee, the system will still expect the fee to be paid. The processing officer must manually enter the fee exemption code “EC1”. (Note: This is an interim process until the new Webform is deployed.)
- Because the work permit type “Other” was selected on the application, the system will automatically default to case type code 20. The officer must manually change the case type to the new case type 60. (Note: This is an interim process until the new Webform is deployed.)
Employer compliance-exempt employers are not required to submit an offer of employment electronically to IRCC through an Employer Portal account, and no compliance inspections will be conducted. Therefore, the updated instructions in “Guide 5487: Applying for a Work Permit outside Canada” [IMM 5487] and “Guide 5553: Applying for a work permit inside Canada – extend, change conditions, initial and open work permits” [IMM 5553] inform the applicant that they should select “Other” for the type of work permit they are seeking, instead of “Exemption from Labour Market Impact Assessment”. This will eliminate the requirement to include the LMIA-exempt number (offer of employment “A” number) on the application form.
Any offers of employment and applications submitted and finalized before the date the exemption comes into effect for that employer will be assessed under the old rules and will not be re-opened for reconsideration. For these cases, no refund will be issued for the compliance fee. However, no compliance inspections will be conducted after the issuance of the work permit.
- If an exempt employer submits an offer of employment and pays the $230 compliance fee before the effective date, and if the applicant submits the application on or after this date as per the updated instructions in the guides (that is, selecting “Other” for the work permit type), the application will be processed as per the new rules. The employer can withdraw the offer in their Employer Portal account and receive a refund of the fee.
- For offers and applications submitted before the effective date, but where the application is processed and finalized on or after this date, the officer must do all of the following:
- change the case type from 52 to 60
- change the status of the fee payment on the offer of employment to “Refund Request”
- complete the FIN 0033 form as per the normal office procedure on refunds
- continue to assess the work permit (without consideration of the employer portal offer) as per the new rules
Certain foreign nationals who are exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa are required to apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA). See the eTA overview for guidance.
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