Employer-specific work permits with Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemptions (International Mobility Program)

How to process work permits that have a specific employer and are exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

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Important information

For LMIA-exempt, employer-specific work permit applications, the employer is required under section 209.11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) to use the Employer Portal to submit the offer of employment directly to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and pay the $230 compliance fee before the foreign national makes an application for a work permit.

No offer of employment information or employer compliance fee submitted

A work permit application must be refused under paragraph R200(3)(f.1) if the employer has not done the following:

  • paid the employer compliance fee, as per section R303.1 [unless the employer has been exempted from paying the fee under subsection R303.1(5) or R303.2(2)]
  • submitted the offer of employment information, as per section R209.11

Exemption from the compliance regime

Certain employers, including all of the following, are exempt from the compliance regime:

Applications for these employers will not have an offer of employment in the system as these employers would not have submitted an offer through the Employer Portal. Officers can review the offer or contract attached to the work permit application.

Officers should follow the processing instructions for exemptions from the compliance regime.

Exemption from the compliance fee

Some employers might be exempt from paying the employer compliance fee under subsections R303.1(5) and R303.2(2). Despite the fee exemption, these employers must still submit the offer of employment to IRCC, as per section R209.11.

Work permit application

The work permit application is the second step in the employer compliance regime. It is important for the officer to review the offer of employment to ensure that it is complete and genuine, that the employer is not ineligible to hire foreign workers, that the main duties described align with the NOC and that the foreign national actually meets the requirements defined in the job details.

Important: The offer of employment information submitted by the employer is not vetted or verified by any section of IRCC before work permit application processing.

Employer Portal submission

On submission of the offer of employment through the Employer Portal, an offer of employment number is generated for the employer to see. The employer must provide this number to the foreign national for inclusion in their work permit application.

To ensure that the requirements of paragraph R200(3)(f.1) are met for an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit, officers should confirm that the employer compliance fee activity has been generated by GCMS under the “Fees” view tab or the employer has provided proof of fee exemption (found in the “eDocs” view tab in the “Organization” tab).

How the offer of employment is matched to the work permit application

The LMIA-exempt offer of employment status remains “pending” in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) until the work permit application is received. The linking of the offer (A#) and application is finalized by automatically matching the passport number and the citizenship.

Note: The validations in GCMS require an exact match of the passport number and citizenship information between the work permit application and the offer of employment. This includes hyphens, accents, spaces, capitalizations and numbers on all sets of documents.

Once they have been matched, the status of the offer of employment changes to “matched.” GCMS will then automatically populate the following fields and allocate the compliance fee:

  • LMIA-exemption code
  • Employer name
  • Occupation title
  • NOC code

Officers can review the information in the “Employment Details – LMIA-exempt” tab on the “Case” screen and confirm that it is fully and accurately complete [R209.11]. Officers can also review the “Fees” tab to confirm that the employer compliance fee (if applicable) has been paid.

CASE TYPE: When the applicant includes an A# (offer of employment number) in the application, the “Case Type” field is set automatically in GCMS as “52.” This case type should not be changed to any other code for employer-specific, LMIA-exempt work permit applications that require an offer of employment. No other case type will allow the correct linkage in GCMS. Changing the case type to anything other than “52” will negatively impact the integrity of financial and program data in GCMS and might result in blocking the department’s ability to inspect employers.

If the “Employment Details” view tab does not automatically populate

Where the “Case Type” field is set to “52” and the “LMIA/LMIA Exempt #” field is populated, but no information populates the “Employment Details – LMIA Exempt” view tab, it may be due to either of the following:

  • the offer of employment number is incorrect or does not exist
  • the passport number and citizenship do not match between the offer of employment and the work permit application (any difference, such as a hyphen or an incorrect letter or number, will stop the validation)

Officers can verify if the passport and citizenship details in the offer employment are exactly the same as the work permit application by doing either of the following:

  • querying the offer of employment number in the “LMIA Exempt” screen tab
  • navigating to the “Organizations & Entities” screen tab under the “Offer of Employment” view tab

The officer should then review this information in the “Worker Information” section against what is provided in the work permit application.

If the passport and citizenship information in the offer of employment does not match the passport provided by the foreign worker, the processing officer can do either of the following:

  • if you are satisfied of the foreign national’s identity, make the change as noted in the Changes authorized for the processing officer without contact with the employer section, under “Passport number”.
  • if you are not satisfied that the foreign national listed in the offer is the same as the work permit applicant, request additional information in order to make your assessment.
  • If you are satisfied that the foreign national listed in the offer is not the same as the work permit applicant, refuse the work permit application.

Important: The officer should not change the “Case Type” code to something other than “52” just to get around the validation.

Verifying if the offer of employment number is valid

The following are queries to use to verify if the offer of employment number is valid:

  • Query in the “LMIA Exempt” screen tab by using the offer of employment number or the family and given names plus the business operating name, review the information for the specific offer or click on the hyperlink on the “Organization ID” and review all offers for that organization in the “Offer of Employment” view tab.
  • Query for the “Organization ID” and check the offer of employment number or the employee name under the “Offer of Employment” view tab. In the “Organizations and Entities” screen tab, employers who have submitted their offer of employment form through the Employer Portal are listed as follows:
    • type: Organization
    • sub-type: Regulatory Employer or Regulatory Employer — Branch

Assessing genuineness and past compliance

When the offer has been matched to the application, the offer details will appear under the “Employment Details – LMIA exempt” view tab. Officers can then review the offer of employment information or link to the employer information to confirm both of the following:

Officers must review this information to assess the genuineness of the employer and ensure that the employer has provided sufficient information to support the requested LMIA exemption. The officer must also assess whether the foreign national meets the requirements listed in the offer of employment information.

See the Reviewing the offer of employment information section

Alternate submission [IMM 5802]

In rare situations, employers who experience technical difficulties that cannot be resolved by IRCC within the service standard or who are unable, because of a physical or mental disability [R209.11(3)], to provide the information using the electronic system may be authorized by the department to submit the “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)” form [IMM 5802] using an alternate method.

Note: Only the IRCC Immigration Program Guidance Branch and the Client Experience Branch may authorize the alternate submission. No employee of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or any other branch of IRCC is authorized to do so.

The IMM 5802 form must never be used by employers without the permission of IRCC. Employers must always contact the Employer Portal mailbox first to provide information on their technical issue or disability in order to obtain authorization for alternate submission. This requirement ensures consistent program integrity.

When authorization is given, the following applies:

  • the employer is provided with the IMM 5802 form for completion
  • the employer is provided with instructions on paying the fee online
  • the person who gave the authorization places a note in the “Client” screen in GCMS indicating that the employer has been authorized to submit the IMM 5802 form for a specific foreign national

Confirmation by the processing officer that alternate submission was authorized

Where no offer of employment number is included in the work permit application and the offer of employment number cannot be found in GCMS, officers should confirm that this is an alternate submission by confirming all of the following:

  • a “Client” is available on the “Client” screen indicating that the employer has been authorized to use the IMM 5802 form for the specific foreign national
  • a copy of the completed IMM 5802 form is included with the work permit application
  • the receipt number for the employer compliance fee is valid or the employer has indicated a fee exemption (this information is captured separately from the work permit processing fee information in the “Fees” view tab in GCMS)

Once the existence of the “Client Note” has been verified, officers should review the information in the “Offer of Employment to a Foreign National Exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)” form [IMM 5802] as per the instructions found in Reviewing the offer of employment information.

Allocation of the employer payment receipt number

If the receipt number is not available for use in GCMS, there are three possible reasons:

  • the employer entered the number incorrectly
  • the receipt has been allocated to another work permit application
  • the receipt number and/or the IMM 5802 form are not genuine

To find the payment number for association in the work permit application, the Integrated Payment Revenue Management System (IPRMS) receipt number should be queried in the GCMS “Payments” screen tab.

Reviewing the offer of employment information

Officers should review the information in the “Employment Details - LMIA-exempt” view (or the IMM 5802 form) to ensure that the offer of employment is complete, that the foreign national meets the requirements listed in the “Job Details” section (or the “Details of Job” section on the IMM 5802 form), that the offer meets the genuineness requirements in subsection R200(5) and that the employer is not ineligible to hire a foreign worker. Officers are also required to ensure that the employer paid previous temporary workers what was provided in their offer.

Check for multiple job locations

One or two job locations entered in the offer of employment form by the employer will be shown in GCMS in the Address List.

When the employer has indicated that the foreign worker will be working at multiple job locations, officers should include all locations in the remarks of the work permit. A note must be included in the application in cases where the officer decides to limit the location.

In the Employer Portal User Guide, employers are instructed to enter information about the physical job location(s). If they answer “yes” to the question about additional job locations, they can then enter information about a second address. If there are more than two locations, the guidance suggests only completing the first job location section, and listing all other locations in the “Main duties of the job” text field. This information is transferred to GCMS and is shown under the “Duties” field in the IMM-TR>Employment Details-LMIA Exempt view.

Main duties of the job must align with NOC selected

The officer should ensure that the “Main duties of the job” field contains the same duties as those listed under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code for the occupation selected. The duties listed on the offer of employment can include duties from a lower skill level in the same skill type, but not from a higher skill level in the NOC matrix. It would be reasonable to assume that a temporary worker might at times perform duties at a lower skill level, but not at higher level. Performing higher level duties could compromise a temporary worker’s eligibility for the particular LMIA exemption being requested, and higher-level duties should be compensated at a higher rate.

For example, a housekeeping manager (NOC code 6312) could include the cleaning duties of a housekeeping attendant (NOC code 6731), but not the other way around.

Variance in duties

If there are any differences between the duties listed under the NOC code and those listed in the offer, the officer may do any of the following:

  • confirm that the duties are from a lower skill level in the same skill type
  • clarify with the employer that the correct occupation was selected and change the occupation in the work permit application based on information provided by the employer
  • refuse the work permit application under paragraph R200(3)(a), as the foreign national might not be able to conduct the duties in the offer

Note: If the officer makes changes based on their contact with an employer, they must receive the instruction to make those changes from the employer in writing, and they must add the instruction to the case notes to ensure that, during a compliance inspection, the correct information is inspected.

Changes to the offer by the employer after matching to the application

When the employer submits the offer of employment, it remains as “pending” in GCMS until it is matched to the work permit application via the A# (offer of employment number), passport number and citizenship of the applicant.

Therefore, once an offer of employment is matched in the system to the work permit application (i.e. status changed from “pending” to “matched”), the employer is no longer able to make changes to that offer in the Employer Portal.

Additionally, the offer of employment cannot be reused to support other applications for work permit or extensions after it has been matched with a work permit application.

Completeness of the offer of employment

If the offer of employment is incomplete, or if the employer has only entered “see attached” in any of the fields of the offer, the officer may do any of the following:

  • contact the employer to request that they resubmit a new offer of employment in the Employer Portal with the full and correct information
    • note that the employer will need to withdraw the initial offer to obtain a refund of the fee; the applicant will need to withdraw their application
  • refuse the work permit application, as they cannot be satisfied that the LMIA exemption requirements have been met, that the offer is genuine or that the foreign national will be able to meet the requirements in the offer
Note: In the Employer Portal User Guide, employers are told that they must fill in all fields in the offer forms, and that they are not permitted to indicate “see attached” (i.e. documents attached to the work permit application). This would be the same as not completing all the fields as required under section R209.11.

Information in application conflicts with applicant’s documents

If the information in the work permit application does not match the information provided by the employer (for instance, worker documentation indicates a different LMIA exemption or the wages or locations are different), the processing officer can do either of the following:

  • contact the employer directly using the contact information provided in the specific offer of employment and request further information
  • assess the work permit application as received and make the final decision

Port of entry (POE) tip

At the POE, if the worker is otherwise admissible, the border services officer may consider putting the examination on hold in order to give the employer time to provide the completed offer of employment, or to allow an offer of employment to be amended to reflect the terms listed in the offer or contract provided to the foreign worker. Once the new offer of employment is completed and received by IRCC, the border services officer can continue to process the work permit application.

Manual un-matching by officers

If the final decision has not yet been made on the work permit application with which the offer is matched, the offer can be unmatched and then matched to a new work permit application.

  • Example: A person applies for an extension of their work permit using the online application, and the offer of employment number is automatically matched to the work permit application. The person leaves Canada and submits a new work permit application on re-entry. The border services officer can un-match the offer of employment number from the online application and match it to the new work permit request created at the POE, allowing the officer to correctly issue the work permit.
Important: Officers should always ensure the employer compliance fee is de-allocated from the incorrect application and allocated to the new work permit.

The original application for an extension should be refused (not cancelled or withdrawn), as there is no longer a supporting LMIA-exempt offer of employment. Make note that the LMIA exemption number has been matched to another application on the refused application.

Changes between the offer of employment and the work permit application

In general, officers should not change any information provided by the employer, as the employer is expected to ensure that the information included in the offer of employment is accurate. Any change by IRCC or the CBSA to the information provided offer by the employer, without the employer’s knowledge and consent, renders subparagraph R209.2(1)(b)(i) unenforceable, as the information is no longer provided by the employer and cannot be verified as accurate.

Officers should not request information pertaining to the offer of employment directly from the foreign worker, as only information provided directly from the employer can be inspected for compliance.

Note: If the officer requests information directly from the employer and, based on the information received, information in the offer is changed, they must record the employer’s response in the case notes so that the Case Management Branch is aware that the change was approved by the employer at the time of a compliance inspection.

Changes authorized for the processing officer without contact with the employer

Only the following may be changed by the processing officer without need to contact the employer:

  • LMIA exemption codes:
    • The LMIA exemption code is automatically populated when the employer selects “LMIA exemption” from a drop-down menu in the Employer Portal.
    • Sometimes the employer selects the wrong LMIA exemption in error, but writes the correct explanation in their explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested.
    • Officers should first assess the explanation to ensure that it matches the LMIA exemption code selected.
    • If it does not, the information provided in the “Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested” field should be used to determine the correct exemptions.
  • Passport number:
    • The employer is required to input the foreign national’s passport number into the offer of employment.
    • The passport number and country of citizenship are validated against the same information provided in the work permit application.
    • This requirement ensures that the foreign national specified in the offer and the foreign national submitting the work permit are the same individual.
    • There might be instances where the validity of the passport provided by the employer does not cover the full duration of the offer, but the foreign national is in the process of obtaining a new passport.

Once the identity of the work permit applicant has been validated, processing officers may update the passport information in GCMS so that the work permit may be issued for the full duration of the offer.

Concerns regarding the genuineness of the offer of employment [R200(5)]

If the officer has concerns regarding the employer or the genuineness of the offer of employment, the officer may request further information directly from the employer as per the contact information supplied in the offer of employment. Subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) provides officers with the authority to request information from employers without having to use the foreign national applicant as a conduit for that request.

For further instructions regarding genuineness reviews or the assessment of past compliance with the requirement on wages, occupation and working conditions, see either of the following:

Important: Subparagraph R209.2(1)(b)(i) makes it a condition that employers demonstrate that any information they provided under subparagraph R200(1)(c)(ii.1) or section R209.11 is accurate. Information provided by or requested from the foreign national is not “provided by the employer” and is therefore not included in the information that can be inspected for accuracy. The employer’s contact information should be included in the offer of employment form provided by the employer, as per section R209.11. The method of contact (for instance, email, regular mail or fax) should be determined by individual offices according to their internal procedures.

When to refer a concern to Case Management Branch

If an officer detects any anomalies or patterns of concern during work permit processing, issuance, or anytime thereafter, they are requested to submit the concern to Case Management Branch (CMB), Investigations and Exceptional Cases Division (IECD).

Tips received are investigated after the fact; referral to CMB should not delay processing.

Some examples of reasons for using the Tip Referral process:

  • the processing officer has concerns or evidence of past non-compliance that the employer did not meet any of the following commitments made in a past offer of employment:
    • employment in the same occupation as that set out in the foreign national’s offer of employment
    • similar but not lower wages and benefits than offered
    • working conditions that were substantially the same but not less favourable than those set out in their offer
  • information is available (such as a media article according to which an employer is being investigated for labour violations against their workers) indicating that there could be grounds to make a negative determination
  • complaints received that the employer might not have complied with elements listed on the offer of employment, such as underpaying the foreign worker or forcing extra hours or duties
  • concerns that an employer might have provided misleading information on an offer of employment, such as offering a job that did not exist to facilitate a PR application for the foreign worker

Refusals, withdrawals and refunds

A refund of the employer compliance fee must be initiated according to the IRPR in either of the following situations:

  • the work permit application is refused
  • the employer withdraws their offer of employment in writing before the issuance of the work permitFootnote i, and the work permit application is therefore refused

Note: Candidates who have had their offer of employment withdrawn from an International Experience Canada pool will be able to create a new profile in order to become a candidate again.

In addition, in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Administration Act, a regulatory fee cannot exceed the cost of the service. Therefore, if a work permit application is withdrawn before the issuance of the work permit, the employer compliance fee must be refunded, since IRCC could not inspect the employer and the regulatory fee therefore exceeds the cost of the service.

Refusal of the work permit application

If a work permit application is refused, a refund of the employer compliance fee should be initiated by the processing office in accordance with the standard guidelines.

POE tip

If the work permit is refused at the POE, the border services officer should create a work permit request in GCMS but should not link it to the offer of employment number. This leaves the offer as “pending” and ensures that the employer can trigger the refund by withdrawing the offer of employment in the Employer Portal once their worker has informed them of being refused.

Refusals where employer was exempted from paying the compliance fee

Employers who are exempt from the fee requirement under subsection 303.1(5) are required to upload “proof of fee exemption” in the Employer Portal if they indicate they are fee exempt.

If there is no corresponding fee payment (listed in the “Payment” view tab) for an offer of employment, the employer should have provided proof of their fee exemption.

The proof of fee exemption document may be found in the “eDocs” view tab. Officers should confirm that no fee exemption was indicated and no fee payment was made before refusing under paragraph R200(2)(f.1).

Withdrawal of the offer of employment before work permit issuance

Employers can withdraw only offers of employment that have not yet been matched with a work permit application. Once a work permit application is matched with the offer, the employer must email the Employer Portal mailbox indicating that they wish to withdraw.

If the offer status remains “pending,” employers may withdraw their offer of employment directly from their Employer Portal account. This will change the status of the offer of employment from “pending” to “withdrawn.”

Withdrawal when work permit application has been matched, but not yet approved (no letter of introduction or work permit issued)

The employer must email the Employer Portal mailbox to withdraw an offer of employment that has already been matched to a work permit application.

To ensure that the work permit is not approved erroneously, the Employer Portal mailbox team will do both of the following:

  • add a case note to the work permit application indicating the employer’s withdrawal (copy and paste the employer’s email)
  • contact the processing office to inform them of the withdrawal of the offer of employment

If the offer of employment is withdrawn or cancelled after a work permit application is received, the processing office should do both of the following:

  • refuse the work permit application if the employer withdraws the offer of employment in writing before the issuance of the work permit
  • refund the employer compliance fee as per the standard guidelines for IPRMS receipts

A template letter titled “Employer Compliance refund to employer” is provided in the “Temporary Residents” GCMS templates folder for use by processing offices.

POE considerations

Case type 52: GCMS automatically populates this case type. Changing it to anything else is not necessary.

Offer of employment number: The foreign national should be in possession of the offer of employment number. It is seven digits that follow an “A”. Officers should enter this number at the time of case creation.

If an officer matches the offer of employment number and then creates a new work permit application, they must remove the offer of employment number and de-allocate the fee from the incorrect work permit application, then enter the offer of employment number into the new application and ensure the employer compliance fee is allocated as well.

Explanation of how the job meets the requirements of the exemption being requested: Officers must review this to ensure the correct LMIA exemption code was selected and to ensure that the requirements of an LMIA exemption are met.

Employer name: This will automatically populate from the offer of employment. This ensures a consistent formatting of organization names.

NOC Code: This will automatically populate from the offer of employment and should not be changed.

LMIA-exemption title/code: The description of the code is selected from a dropdown menu and the code is then automatically populated in the Employer Portal. At times, the selection might not match what is specified in the “Explanation” field. See section “Changes authorized for the processing officer without contact with the employer” for instructions.

Refusals: If the work permit is refused at the POE, the border services office does not generally create a work permit application in GCMS and match the offer of employment number. This leaves the offer as “pending” and ensures that the employer can trigger the refund by withdrawing the offer of employment in the Employer Portal.

However, if the work permit application is created in GCMS, the border services officer should remove the offer of employment number before refusing and closing the case so that it may be withdrawn by the employer. A case note indicating the offer of employment number could be added.

Work permit application approved at a visa office (letter of introduction provided) but work permit not issued (POE)

If the offer of employment is withdrawn or cancelled after the approval by a visa office, but before work permit issuance at the POE, the border services officer should do both of the following:

  • refuse the work permit application if the employer withdraws the offer of employment in writing before the issuance of the work permit (this should be reflected in GCMS)
  • inform the approving office (i.e. the visa office) of the refusal so that the visa office may initiate a refund of the employer compliance fee
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